PD Presenters: Kerry Zaleski, Mary Crave and Tererai Trent on Whose Judgment Matters Most? Using Child-to-Child approaches to evaluate vulnerability-centered programs

Hi Eval Friends! We are Kerry Zaleski and Mary Crave of the University of Wisconsin-Extension and Tererai Trent of Tinogona Foundation and Drexel University. Over the past few years we have co-facilitated workshops on participatory M&E methods for centering vulnerable voices at AEA conferences and eStudies.

This year, we are pleased to introduce participatory processes for engaging young people in evaluation during a half day professional development workshop, borrowing from Child-to-Child approaches. Young people can be active change agents when involved in processes to identify needs, develop solutions and monitor and evaluate changes in attitudes and behaviors for improved health and well-being.

Child-to-Child approaches help center evaluation criteria around the values and perspectives of young people, creating environments for continual learning among peers and families. Children learn new academic skills and evaluative thinking while having fun solving community problems!

Child-to-Child approaches help young people lead their communities to:

  • Investigate, plan, monitor and evaluate community programs by centering the values and perspective of people affected most by poverty and inequality.
  • Overcome stigma and discrimination by intentionally engaging marginalized people in evaluation processes.

We are excited to introduce Abdul Thoronka, a community health specialist from Sierra Leone, as a new member of our team. Abdul has extensive experience using participatory methods and Child-to-Child approaches in conflict- and trauma- affected communities in Africa and the US.

Lessons Learned:

  • Adult community members tend to be less skeptical and more engaged when ‘investigation’ types of exercises are led by children in their community rather than external ‘experts’. The exercises make learning about positive behavior change fun and entertaining for the entire community.
  • Young people are not afraid to ‘tell the truth’ about what they observe.
  • Exercises to monitor behaviors often turn into a healthy competition between young people and their families.

Hot Tips:

  • Child-to-child approaches can be used to engage young people at all stages of an intervention. Tools can include various forms of community mapping, ranking, prioritizing, values-based criteria-setting and establishing a baseline to measure change before and after an intervention.
  • Build in educational curricula by having the children draw a matrix, calculate percentages or develop a bar chart to compare amounts or frequency by different characteristics.
  • Explain the importance of disaggregating data to understand health and other disparities by different attributes (e.g. gender, age, ability, race, ethnicity)
  • Ask children to think of evaluation questions that would help them better understand their situation.

Rad Resources:

Child-to-Child Trust

The Barefoot Guide Connection

AEA Coffee Break Webinar 166: Pocket-Chart Voting-Engaging vulnerable voices in program evaluation with Kerry Zaleski, December 12, 2013 (recording available free to AEA members).

Robert Chambers 2002 book: Participatory Workshops: A Sourcebook of 21 Sets of Ideas and Activities.

Want to learn more? Register for Whose Judgment Matters Most: Using Child-to-Child approaches to evaluate vulnerability-centered programs at Evaluation 2014.

We’re featuring posts by people who will be presenting Professional Development workshops at Evaluation 2014 in Denver, CO. Click here for a complete listing of Professional Development workshops offered at Evaluation 2014. 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 “PD Presenters: Kerry Zaleski, Mary Crave and Tererai Trent on Whose Judgment Matters Most? Using Child-to-Child approaches to evaluate vulnerability-centered programs”

  1. Sonal Zaveri, PhD

    As an international advisor to the Child-to-Child Trust for over 25 years and having worked with the founders in developing the approach and many tools – I appreciate the work and attention that you are bringing to an approach that has proved its success in diverse environments and provides a practical way to implement, monitor and evaluate programs that are by children. It will be wonderful for advocates who believe in children’s rights to connect as I will be in Denver as well!

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