Feminist TIG Week: Donna Mertens on Evaluation Strategies When Cultural Shifts Are the Goal

I am Donna Mertens, an independent consultant, hired by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to advise on the evaluation of an initiative funded in all 50 states and the US territories focused on the prevention of rape. Prevention programming consisted of educational programs for perpetrators and potential perpetrators.

The prevention of rape involves a critical assessment of the systemic forces that allow rape to continue. This sets up a challenge for evaluators to deal with this sensitive topic and to make visible changes in cultural values, beliefs, and actions that are associated with prevention of rape.

The CDC asked me to conduct training for their grantees in the Rape Prevention Education program on evaluation as a transformative strategy for preventing sexual violence. I began by acknowledging the resources that are available for evaluators to help them in situations like this and by highlighting the need for cultural competency on the part of the evaluator. I emphasized the need to be aware of the full range of stakeholders and those dimensions of diversity within and across stakeholder groups that are associated with a different understanding of the meaning of such concepts as masculinity, rape, and respect.

Rad resources: CDC and UN Women have a number of resources that are relevant for evaluators who want to do a transformative mixed methods cyclical evaluation on topics related to the reduction of violence against women, as well as for evaluations specifically focused on rape prevention.

Hot Tip: I recommended the use of a transformative mixed methods cyclical design to enable evaluators to identify appropriate stakeholders, address differences in power, and create results that were viewed as credible by the stakeholders and that could serve as a basis for action to address this critical human rights issue.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Feminist Issues in Evaluation (FIE) TIG Week with our colleagues in the FIE Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our FIE TIG members. 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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