Evaluation should be a proactive effort to document results and improve program design and delivery. For many CED organizations, it has become instead a punitive, complex task best left to outsiders. Eko Nomos is exploring a better way. Its method of collaborative inquiry facilitates local control, home-grown solutions, and, in the Sustainable Livelihoods model, a comprehensive understanding of the results people are after.
"To demonstrate clearly the results they are achieving ... practitioners need to take a strategic approach and to make space for more reflection, assessment, and learning. Learning and outcomes evaluation processes should become a regular part of the programming they undertake. By making this investment, CED organizations will be able to talk knowledgeably and confidently about their work to each other, to their communities and to funders. They will be able to show how it alters womenâ€™s lives and can become a source of hope and change at many levels.
"Since 1988, Eko Nomos has been engaged in working with community-based organizations to do simple and effective evaluations of their programs by setting up basic processes to record information about the changes in the lives of their participants. As evaluators we do not make 'objective,' external judgments about an initiative. Rather, we facilitate learning and build an organizationâ€™s capacity to do its own research and assessment. We often assist staff to plan and carry out outcomes research themselves. While we use traditional tools like the collection of statistical data, we emphasize the importance of gathering qualitative information in order to develop a more holistic 'portrait' of outcomes."