Lessons in Building Evaluation Weeks: Starting with Mexico, Broadening to Latin America, and Evolving to gLOCAL Evaluation Week by Emil Salim Miyar

Hi.  I’m Emil Salim Miyar, Training Coordinator at the CLEAR LAC Center at CIDE in Mexico City.  The CLEAR Initiative (Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results) is a network of M&E centers hosted at universities across the globe.

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Today I’m sharing information about (Latin America) Evaluation Week.  The initiative began in Mexico in 2015 to raise awareness on the importance of M&E to strengthening public policy design, implementation and impact.  It grew to include to other countries in Latin America.  This year, the Evaluation Week goes gLOCAL (global and local), and Latin America Evaluation Week is part of the gLOCAL Evaluation Week (June 3-7, 2019).

The first Evaluation Week began in Mexico in 2015, led by CLEAR LAC and supported by a group of national M&E stakeholders as convening organizations, such as CONEVAL and J-PAL LAC. It was a risky wager to nudge other M&E stakeholders in the country to organize their own events instead of having a traditional single-venue conference. Unexpectedly, 85 activities were organized by 32 institutions in 12 of the 32 Mexican states. This support for evaluation-related events encouraged us to expand the call in 2016. Again, the results surprised all the convening organizations as 100 activities were held by 44 institutions in 13 Mexican states.

Building on this interest and success, in 2017 Mexico Evaluation Week became Latin America Evaluation Week. The convening institutions group was enhanced with other regional M&E stakeholders such as UN Woman. The results exceeded expectations once again as 90 institutions organized 167 activities in 13 countries. In 2018, we saw 126 institutions with 214 activities in 14 countries.

Here are some insights from Evaluation Week’s journey so far:

  1. Local M&E awareness is essential. Instead of gathering M&E stakeholders in a single venue for a week, the Evaluation Week encourages these stakeholders to gather their own audiences in specific events that address pertinent local issues. This strategy strengthens the role of M&E as it makes clear that evaluation is not merely a global trend in public policy, but a powerful tool to alleviate pressing local challenges.
  2. Partnerships with renowned organizations is a key to success. Spreading a call of an event that invites organizations to have M&E events in their own environments without providing financial support seems unworkable. However, having the right partners in the convening group might encourage organizations to act, as they do it in the frame of an event supported by well-reputed institutions –such as the IDB and the World Bank– and they can tap into their standing.
  3. The Evaluation Week opens spaces to build strategic connections. Our experience shows that the Evaluation Week is an important space to gather M&E stakeholders in events that can afterwards work together in specific M&E projects, such as education policy evaluation systems in El Salvador or the signature of M&E cooperation agreements among Mexican states.
  4. Capture lessons and contributor information. Our Memorias document features partners and events during the week.

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