ICCE TIG Week: Boundaries in International Evaluation by Michele Tarsilla

Hello! My name is Michele Tarsilla (Twitter: MiEval_TuEval) and I am the UNICEF Regional Evaluation Adviser for West and Central Africa. I am also the Associate Editor of the African Evaluation Journal (aejonline.org) and the AEA International Buddy Program Coordinator. I recently gave a workshop on “Crossing Technical and Personal Boundaries in Evaluation towards more resilient evaluation practices” at the European Evaluation Society (EES) Conference in Thessaloniki (Greece). As I believe that overcoming one’s own personal and technical limitations is a duty for all evaluators, I hope that you will be able attend the similar workshop that I will offer at the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Conference in November (Workshop #43).  Below are more details for your appreciation.

Image credit: https://psychologybenefits.org/

Why is this important?

At a time when the international evaluation community is still struggling to define its own identity within the broader realm of scientific disciplines, the novelty and uniqueness of evaluation have often been over-emphasized. In particular, due to the use of technical jargon and academic rhetoric when promoting the conduct and use of evaluation, evaluation advocates have not always been able to let planners and decision-makers fully grasp the purpose and value of the evaluation function. Furthermore, ideological stances, sectorial or methodological specializations, the obsessed quest for “objectivity” in evaluation, the routinization of evaluation processes, the linguistic barriers (and the list goes on), have often forced us away from our evaluand, including those very same people whom we are supposed to serve through our work.

Crossing Personal and Technical Boundaries Towards More Truthful Evaluation Practices

In an effort to make evaluation practitioners more resilient and equity-oriented in their work, the workshop will push participants to rethink their own practice and go beyond their own boundaries. In doing so, the workshop will be a real co-construction process. While I will present a “Boundaries Taxonomy”, the workshop will be structured around the feedback provided by participants before the Conference (yes, we will be able to come up with new categories of “boundaries’ drawn from your own experience). For each one of the identified boundaries, we will also reflect on some concrete recommendations to cross them. I will also be glad to share some of recommendation drawn from my personal experience:  a more resilient use of evaluation criteria, myths on cultural competence in evaluation, 50 Shades of Feminism in Evaluation, Real-World Audit and Evaluation, Evaluative Monitoring.

Key Take-away

Crossing boundaries enhances (both personal and technical) learning. Therefore, it is important to become more intentional to cross our own boundaries. Also, more importantly, if it is true that evaluation is a human right, then overcoming the limitation of our own practice will allow to better contribute to social change. 

Rad Resources:

My recent LinkedIn Blog on “Evaluation Boundaries” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/european-evaluation-society-ees-conference-workshop-2/

Jacob, S. “Cross-Disciplinarization A New Talisman for Evaluation?” in American Journal of Evaluation. Volume 29 Number 2 June 2008 175-194; 10.1177/1098214008316655; http://aje.sagepub.comhosted at http://online.sagepub.com

Hot Tip: Stay Connected! Update your TIG selections here.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating International and Cross-Cultural (ICCE) TIG Week with our colleagues in the International and Cross-Cultural Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our ICCE 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.

1 thought on “ICCE TIG Week: Boundaries in International Evaluation by Michele Tarsilla”

  1. Great! thanks a lot Michele. I am Huong from Vietnam. At the moment, I am working on feminist theories for evaluation of climate change adaptation at the grassroots level in Vietnam. Hopefully, I will have something done soon to share with you in this interesting scholarship.

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