CLEAR Week: Gabriela Perez Yarahuan, Ana Ramírez Valencia, Indrani Barrón Illescas and Emil Salim Miyar on Organizing a National M&E Conference Collaboratively and Across Cities

We are Gabriela Perez Yarahuan, Ana Ramírez Valencia, Indrani Barrón Illescas and Emil Salim Miyar, from CLEAR for Spanish-speaking Latin America. We’re located in Mexico City at CIDE (Center for Research and Teaching in Economics), a leading institution in social sciences. Recently, in May 2016, we worked with other M&E leading groups in Mexico to co-organize the Evaluation Week in Mexico 2016. Since many readers of AEA365 might be involved with putting together M&E conferences, we’re sharing our lessons.

Lesson Learned:

  • Showcase domestic, regional and international advances. To build our program we looked not only to what was happening in Mexico, but also within the broader Latin America region and internationally. We invited practitioner and academic experts from the region, Europe and the US to lead sessions in order to have cross-fertilization of information and ideas.
  • Join forces in organizing the event. The leading organizations – from academia, government, civil society and others – were convened for their leadership in working in M&E in Mexico and Latin America. We joined forces by making available a space to discuss, present and interchange strategies, methodologies, experiences and results at a local level. In doing so, we helped not only in building a robust and diverse program (see here, in Spanish), but also in building ownership at the local level within our expanding community.
  • Make your conference accessible through multi-city sessions and the use of technology. Mexico is a big country and not everyone has the resources to attend in person. Additionally, the Evaluation Week in Mexico 2016 had simultaneous events (more than 90 activities overall!). Recognizing this we connected to one another through social media and also streamed many events. Two featured events during the week were a 2-day Evaluation Utilization Seminar and the Early Child Development Policy Seminar. We livestreamed both seminars and made the presentations available at our website.
  • Encourage active participation in the design of your conference and sessions. We organized many of our panels in the form of debates, with active engagement and discussion from the gathered participants. We set aside time – not just 5 minutes at the end of a session! – to have moderated whole-room discussions. We also distributed voting and texting devices (Connectors) to encourage opinions and information from those gathered.

Rad Resources:

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members of CLEAR. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.