Perspectives from the learning workshop
Following our first round of Contribution Tracing workshops to support CARE staff and partners, here are some perspectives from the workshop.
Peter Francis Xavier
There is a tendency to focus on activities and outputs. This workshop has taught us to work backwards from the results, or outcomes, that we want to see. We can become fanatics about activities! But it is now clear that we have to work backwards from the outcomes that we want to deliver upon.
In our organisation, we use change stories as part of the Outcome Harvesting methodology. The problem is, this generates a large volume of change stories and we struggle to synthesise them. With the learning from this Contribution Tracing workshop, I believe we can apply the probability tests we have learnt to help us to eliminate stories that might not be as useful, and to focus on the stories that are most powerful.
I never knew that evaluation could be done by staff internal to a project or programme, now I realise that it doesn’t just have to be external evaluators.
I was introduced to Bayes Theorem when I studied my Master’s degree and I really did not understand it. Now, I really do understand it. Based on the learning from this workshop, I will now be able to put together better evaluation reports in my role as a monitoring and evaluation officer for the Ghana Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms (GSAM) project.
At GSAM we only do monitoring; we don’t really do the evaluation work. Now we want to sit down and come up with an evaluation plan, to see if we are on course; aiming towards our target/goal. Yes, we use monitoring to see if we are achieving our indicators, but what else? We have to see whether we have made an impact on the goal that we set for ourselves.
Jahirul Alma Azad
I am not an evaluation specialist but I learned lots of basics things about monitoring and evaluation (M&E). Things that I knew before, but the course presented these ideas in a different way, that made me excited.
Through the building blocks of evaluation planning exercise I learnt some useful ideas on how to recruit and contract an M&E consultant. This has increased my confidence to hire a competent M&E consultant. We are designing a new project and I intend using my new learning in this project.
Nana Kwabena Owusu
Before this training, I thought that the randomised control trial was the best approach for impact evaluation. Now I understand that appropriateness of methods is more important in deciding which method to use.
We commissioned an internal evaluation a few weeks ago. We just picked the design without objectively selecting the right design. Moving forward, we will be very certain about choosing the right design for our needs.
The way we look for evidence will now change. I realise now that there is a lot of evidence out there that is very weak, while other evidence can be very strong. I can now critique the kind of evidence that we want to look for. I can now sort out the chaff!
Mohammed Nurudeen Salifu
I now have a better understanding of what an impact evaluation is. We use terms, like ‘impact evaluation’, without understanding what it means.
As the communications person, I would like to say that “GSAM has done this”, or “GSAM has been successful here”. I now realise that I need to be more confident when I make such claims. I find this really useful as a communications person.
I really enjoyed learning about the evidence tests. I will definitely use these tests to judge evidence in the future.
I work in knowledge management and will use this learning in my case study work when looking for evidence.
This course helps you to think in a different way. It helps you to be more structured and organised.
Albaab Ur Rahman
Contribution Tracing is a new way of telling our stories to the wider world and that is exciting. It has made me realise that not all stories can be told with numbers. There must be more discussion around how and why changes happen. Contribution Tracing is therefore very relevant for our projects, such as women’s empowerment and governance work.
As the monitoring and evaluation specialist in the GSAM project, I will look at all the processes in my work and implement my new learning. I want to be able to support GSAM to substantiate its claims.
The training has been very, very helpful. It has really de-programmed me. Gavin mentioned at the start of the training that we would have to change some of our perceptions that we have. I think that by going through the training programme it has been very successful. The training in Contribution Tracing has improved my confidence as an evaluation practitioner.