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PD Presenters: Michele Tarsilla on a new Framework for Evaluation Capacity Development

Hi All, my name is Michele Tarsilla and I am an Independent Evaluation Advisor and Capacity Development Specialist with extensive experience in designing, conducting and teaching evaluation in nearly thirty countries. I also serve as Program Chair of the International and Cross-Cultural Evaluation TIG at AEA. Having worked on Evaluation Capacity Development (ECD) and having made it the topic of my doctoral dissertation in Interdisciplinary Evaluation at Western Michigan University, I was able to test several ECD theoretical frameworks and address the limitations of existing ECB/ECD programs. I myself developed a brand-new ECD framework that I will introduce at one of my two professional development workshops at the upcoming AEA conference.

As I truly believe in the need for rethinking how you plan and implement ECD, I would like to share with you a few reflections on the meaning of ECD and suggest a few resources that could help you rethink how to conceptualize and implement ECD.

General Introduction: Evaluation Capacity Development (ECD) vs. Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB)

First, the added value of ECD could only be understood once the strengths and limitation of ECB are understood. Second, the definitions below were developed based on an extensive literature review and a series of interviews with over 100 ECB and ECD practitioners over the last two years.

Hot Tip: ECB Definition. ECB is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for ECD to take place. ECB mainly consists of a vast array of trainings and coaching activities (some of which are short-term in nature) aimed at building capacity, especially where capacity is either very low or thought not be in place yet, among a discrete number of individuals working either for or within organizations and/or institutions that develop, commission, manage, conduct and/or use evaluation (Tarsilla, 2012).

Hot Tip: ECD Definition. ECD is a systemic and adaptive process rather than the combination of stand-alone activities aimed at enhancing capacity at either the individual, organizational, or institutional level. Overall, ECD represents an endogenous process building upon (as opposed to building from scratch) the existing levels of knowledge, skills and attitude (individual), capabilities (organizational) and readiness (institutional) simultaneously or sequentially and in a variety of contexts (global, regional, national, and sub-national)(Tarsilla, 2012).

Conclusion: Given the brevity of this blog and out of respect for the comprehensiveness of this topic, I reserve to discuss ECB and ECD more extensively with all of you either during or after my AEA workshops in October (e-mail:

Rad Resources:

The Evaluation Capacity Development Group (ECDG)

Supporting Evaluation Capacity Development  – Tips for “Capacity Friendly” evaluation in development organizations.

Learning purposefully in capacity development: Why, when and what to measure? Opinion Paper for IIEP by Ortiz and Taylor.

Want to learn more from Michele? Register for his Professional Development workshops at Evaluation 2013 in Washington, DC.

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This is one in an occasional series of posts by people who will be presenting Professional Development workshops at Evaluation 2013 in Washington, DC. Click here for a complete listing of Professional Development workshops offered at Evaluation 2013. 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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