Andrea Johnston on the Waawiyeyaa Evaluation Tool

Ahneen, hello.  My people are from Neyaashiinigmiing, Ontario, Canada and I live in Toronto, Ontario.  My name is Andrea L.K. Johnston and I run a small evaluation and research firm named Johnston Research Inc.  Our logo is a butterfly that visually displays the initials JR in its wings. The butterfly represents rebirth and transformation, which is the emphasis of all evaluations and research projects we conduct. Our goal is to promote positive change and self improvement through reflective thought and introspection.

Hot Tip: To facilitate our goal, we have developed a teaching tool called Waawiyeyaa Evaluation Tool.  The Ojibway word Waawiyeyaa refers to a circular process that can lead to rebirth and transformation.  By using approaches grounded in the traditional values, we have found great success in meeting the needs of the program participants and program personnel during the evaluation process.  The Waawiyeyaa tool uses storytelling as a means for data collection, but it goes another step further it frames the storytelling within a culture-base model.  Hence, the data collected can be mapped onto the cultural model, allowing evaluators and/or program staff the opportunity to gather systematic data over time that demonstrates incremental growth and development.

The Waawiyeyaa tool provides further insights into participant growth that expand current standard notions of outcomes.  It starts at Crisis and demonstrates four stages of growth and progress within crisis, then next expands to Awareness, where again four stages of growth include recognizing needs, planning and willingness to move forward, putting plans into action, and outcomes of the actions.  The ensuing stages are Ownership, Releasing/Letting Go, Building on Strengths, and Standing Tall.  The tool moves beyond only physical results, such as job status.

The Waawiyeyaa method encourages participants to use traditional teachings as a framework for storytelling.  The DVD shows a female and male story as an example on applying the cultural framework.  Program participants colour their stories during a paper and pencil crayon exercise that provides an outline on the paper for their story, within the cultural framework.

Want to learn more from Andrea? She’ll be presenting as part of the Evaluation 2010 Conference Program, November 10-13 in San Antonio, Texas.

2 thoughts on “Andrea Johnston on the Waawiyeyaa Evaluation Tool”

  1. Andrea, thank you, thank you, thank you! This is a wonderful tool and I have forwarded your information to a native friend in California. Recently, I was asked to do case studies of individuals and then asked NOT to interview those individuals (to save time!) but rather construct the cases from notes and talks with the case managers. I was horrified! I will use your tool to show how a person’s story belongs to them and can be enriched by the stories of others but not replaced by them. Again, thank you for introducing the Waawiyeyaa Evaluation Tool.

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