GEDI Week: Innovatively Engaging Stakeholders Using Culturally Responsive Evaluation Methods by Yamelith Aguilar and Tiffinie Jana’e Cobb

Greetings from alumnae of the GEDI cohort, Ohana. We are Yamelith Aguilar, MPH, and Tiffinie Jana’e Cobb, MPH. Today’s notes are based on our reflections on incorporating culturally responsive evaluation (CRE) in multiple evaluation phases.

CRE is a growing movement in the evaluation field that demands our attention to the complex cultural context in play. CRE gives a promising approach to be authentic in community partnerships. As Public Health Evaluators we have witnessed evaluation’s impact on our most vulnerable communities and want to share practical tips on the use of CRE to strengthen relationships between evaluators and communities.

Hot Tip 1: Give everyone impacted a voice.
In addition to inviting the usual suspects to the planning process, find ways to include service recipients to share their opinions and priorities as to what defines a successful program.

Hot Tip 2: Be sure to design activities to capture input across the organizational structure.
A finding from a focus group experience demonstrated the importance of using methods that prioritize equity in feedback. All participants agreed with the CEO’s statements during a discussion. A staff waited until the discussion was over to privately express a different opinion. Activities with non-verbal methods were helpful thereafter for all participants to contribute.

Hot Tip 3: Ensure that your reports are accessible and culturally appropriate
Instead of 100-page evaluation reports, we strive to create reports that are easily digestible and WILL be fully read! Incorporating CRE into reporting and dissemination requires that the evaluation team fully understand all relevant stakeholders’ needs, including persons the program aims to reach.

Hot Tip 4: Ask stakeholders what they want to see.
During the planning phase, ask stakeholders what outcomes would be most useful to them. This will help prepare and guide the evaluation team as they begin designing. Some additional issues to consider during the design include: languages of all stakeholders, level of education, and representative images used throughout the report.

Rad Resources: To better engage stakeholders in your evaluation outcomes, design accessible and culturally appropriate infographics. Excellent free sites include: Canva or Piktochart.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) Program week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AEA’s GEDI Program and its interns. For more information on GEDI, see their webpage here:  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.


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