EvalYouth Week: Dreams Coming True: The First EvalYouth Virtual Conference by Josette Arevalo

Hello, my name is Josette Arevalo, EvalYouth Co-Chair of Task Force 3 (Organization of conferences) and Co-Chair of EvalYouth LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean). Since November 2015, I have been part of a group of motivated young people that seek to improve the evaluation capacities of young and emerging evaluators worldwide.  This post focuses on sharing hot tips, rad resources, and lessons learned related to the first virtual EvalYouth conference, which took place on December 3rd, 2016.

Lessons Learned: Below I highlight some of the accomplishments achieved prior to and during the first virtual EvalYouth conference.

Planning Milestones:

  • Commitment: EvalYouth appointed two co-chairs (Sofia Estevez and myself) and a secretariat (Antonina Rishko-Porcescu), whom, along a small group of EvalYouth members, started planning the virtual conference through monthly online meetings.
  • Inclusion: The Task Force conducted an online poll to choose conference topic and sub-themes in a participatory process.
  • Exchange: Task Force leaders developed a conference program and confirmed participation of renowned international evaluation experts.
  • Innovation: The Task Force developed a implemented a multilingual (English, Spanish, and French) promotion strategy using social media, email, and VOPE support, to ensure young and emerging evaluators (YEEs) across the globe were aware of this opportunity.

Conference Achievements:

  • Reach and Diversity: Almost 600 participants from all continents across the world registered for the conference.
  • Inclusiveness: The conference was broadcast in English, with real-time translation into Spanish and French.
  • Engagement: The conference chat was actively used and the presentations included time for audience questions and presenter responses.
  • Efficiency: The conference was made possible with just under $5,000 USD. We received several positive comments and reactions about the virtual conference. Among the most notable, Ziad Moussa, President of the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE), said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. EvalYouth proved that evaluation conferences can be done differently! Congratulations!”
  • Relevance: In a post-conference survey, conference attendees indicated that the conference had a noticeable or strong impact on their knowledge about how to build an evaluation career.

Rad Resources: A recent aea365 blog post noted that readers were interested in resources on (i) how to get started in this field for emerging evaluators and tips on how to become a full-time evaluator, (ii) skills you need to develop to become an evaluator, and (iii) different ways to enter into the field.  These topics were covered in the first virtual EvalYouth conference, which was recorded and is available for FREE on EvalYouth’s YouTube channel.  Like the conference, the recordings are available in English, Spanish, and French.

Get Involved: We are currently planning the first face-to-face EvalYouth conference. We hope it will be as successful as our first virtual conference. Please send us an email (EvalYouth@gmail.com) if you would like to join the conference planning team.  To receive updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating EvalYouth week. EvalYouth addresses the need to include youth and young people in evaluation. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members of EvalYouth. 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@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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