Kia ora and New Year Greetings to my evaluation colleagues. My name is Kate McKegg. I am an independent evaluation consultant based in New Zealand. My company, The Knowledge Institute Ltd is a member of a professional network – the Kinnect Group. I am a founding member and former Convenor for the Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (anzea), and I am also a member of the anzea Evaluator Competency Working Group.
As the evaluation profession has grown here in New Zealand, we have been challenged to develop culturally relevant and appropriate conceptions of what quality means; for evaluators, for those who commission evaluation and for the evaluation products of our work.
Like other evaluation associations, we have set about developing ‘evaluator competencies’ that we hope will recognize our cultural context at the same time as guiding and informing sound and ethical evaluation practice. I’d like to share some things we have learned along the way for others thinking about or already involved in developing evaluator competencies.
Hot Tip – Never underestimate how much relationships matter. Developing evaluator competencies required us to look deeply into what we individually and collectively value about being evaluators, about evaluation, and its consequences. We found that the values embedded in our diverse relationships with people of all kinds, our colleagues, our communities, evaluation commissioners, were integral to the evaluation competencies we developed.
Rad Resource: The most important resource was the investment of energy and time in finding strong, committed and diverse people who trusted in each other, when the going was good, as well as rough, to lead and do the work. The journey is certainly not for the faint hearted!
Hot Tip – Search out the wisdom and experience of others who have trodden the ground before you. Although the New Zealand context is unique, we learned so much by reaching out to others who have already been down this road. For example, a few of us attended sessions at AEA conferences and talked with representatives from The Canadian Evaluation Society who were in the process of formalizing competencies into their Professional Designations Program. We spoke with other evaluators such as Jean King and Bob Picciotto, who have been involved in researching evaluator competencies for many years.
Rad Resource: Anzea produced a précis of the published literature and other resources and information and this became a valuable resource for the working group, as well as for others in the association to ‘come up to speed’ with the key issues during the consultation phase. The Canadian Evaluation Association has also produced useful resources that may be found on their Professional Designations Project Archives Page