Hello, I am Barbara Klugman (PhD), based in South Africa, once an anti-apartheid and women’s rights activist, now providing freelance strategy and evaluation supports for social justice funders, networks and NGOs.
I work with groups engaged in organising and advocating for social or environmental justice. In this process, I have come to realise that sometimes just the term ‘evaluation’ is enough to undermine the possibility of them initiating or further institutionalizing their information gathering, reflection, learning and adaptation processes. Their experience of ‘M&E’ is the requirement created by their funders that they name, in advance, what they will do and what they will influence. This might work alright for a group running an already-established service, but it is entirely guesswork and inappropriate for groups whose effectiveness requires them to shift both protest and advocacy strategies as the broader public and political discourse shifts, and as windows of opportunity for influence open and then close. Whatever they plan, they may need to shift.