Evaluating in French: the “Réseau Francophone de l’évaluation” by Benoît Gauthier

AEA365 Curator note: Please enjoy this article, part of a 5-part miniseries on VOPEs – Voluntary Organization for Professional Evaluation.

Good day, evaluation colleagues. I am Benoît Gauthier, credentialed evaluator. I am based in Quebec, Canada, where I have practiced evaluation for three decades. I have been and remain involved in the associative life of the evaluation world through the Canadian Evaluation Society, the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation, EvalPartners, and the Réseau francophone de l’évaluation (RFE – Francophone Evaluation Network). French is my mother tongue and I learned English in school and at work. Therefore, you will understand that evaluation conducted in French is of particular importance to me. I also think that it should be important to you, members of AEA: some of you are international members who practice in French; others evaluate programs in contexts where French is the working language; and French is the fifth most spoken and the second most learned language in the world.

Rad Resource: The RFE was created in 2013. Its mission includes the development of the supply of francophone evaluation, the bolstering of the theoretical and technical evaluation resources available in French, the development of a stronger cooperation among French-speaking national evaluation associations, and the promotion of evaluation use in francophone jurisdictions. The RFE was founded on the premise that it is important to support multicultural and multipolar voices in evaluation to contribute to the multiplicity of approaches to evaluation, the diversity of perspectives, and to the multiprone defence of human rights.

Hot Tip: As of now, 24 national evaluation associations (Voluntary Organizations for Professional Evaluation or VOPEs in English terminology) are included in the RFE membership: 14 from Africa, 3 from the the Middle East and Northern Africa, 5 from Europe, and 2 from North America. RFE’s key accomplishments include the organization of two international fora on francophone evaluation (Dakar in 2014, Marrakesh in 2016) that attracted hundreds of key players in governments, parliaments, control institutions, universities, and private firms. The RFE also supports an active network of young and emerging evaluators; it is developing close-encounter projects with parliamentarians; and it actively supports the development of national evaluation associations.

Cool Trick: Support to national evaluation associations takes several forms. An important one has been the translation and adaptation of the Toolkit created to empower VOPEs and to help them rise from the ground and grow into important local players in the national evaluation systems. All five sections of the Toolkit have been translated into French and French resources have been identified and made available for all VOPEs to use. The five sections deal with: setting up a VOPE, institutionalizing a VOPE, carrying out VOPE work, EvalPartners Network Resources, and the professionalization of evaluation.

The Toolkit includes a mechanism for users to upload relevant resources. Feel free to let the Toolkit team know of documents, web pages, tools, etc. that you know about and that you think would be of interest to VOPEs around the world – especially in French!


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