Principles And Key Concepts of Empowerment Evaluation.
Earlier we discussed or looked at an overview of empowerment evaluation. Empowerment assessment is a technique for reviewing program planning, execution, and self-evaluation with the goal of improving program success.
This is achieved by giving program stakeholders tools for analyzing their program’s planning, implementation, and self-assessment, and by include evaluation in the planning and management of the programme.
The evaluation of empowerment programme is guided by ten concepts. The following are some of the principles of empowerment evaluation:
- community ownership
- democratic participation
- social justice
- community knowledge
- evidence-based strategies
- capacity building
- organizational learning
Evaluations of empowerment are designed to assist people in improving their programs and, as a result, their lives. Empowerment evaluators assist people in enhancing their programs through evaluation. To put it another way, They aid people in their efforts to help themselves.
Evaluators must be devoted to assisting people in growing capacity domains, such as understanding how to plan, implement, and evaluate using evaluation concepts and methods.
Every program should strive to help people improve their lives and their standard of living. The primary concern of program donors is to improve people’s lives.
The primary goal of evaluation is to verify that a program will generate a positive return on investment. A rural community literacy program, for example, could help manage infectious diseases, particularly water-borne infections, by preventing open defecation.
The term “community” refers to the group of people who organize and implement a program’s activities. This group is in charge of the program’s development and evaluation.
Despite the fact that the group has a similar goal, each member creates their own techniques for reaching it. The team is led by the program evaluator, who assesses their performance using a logical, rigorous, and defined approach to inquiry (Fetterman, 2005).
The evaluation procedure is entirely under the control of the community, or various groups of people. Members of a group are more likely to use the results and recommendations if they have control over both the conceptual direction and the actual implementation of the evaluation.
Ownership start the moment the programme is launched, and the idea of ownership varies greatly in practice. Ownership is stronger as the community uses its own evaluation results to improve practice. Instilling a stronger sense of ownership requires the development of trusted connections.
The inclusion concept comprises inviting as many stakeholders to a program as possible. This is a strategy for forming and strengthening a community of people who will pilot the program’s activities.
Consequently, all stakeholders are urged to take an active role in ensuring that the program’s goals are achieved. Empowerment assessment activities may be attended by funders, program managers, participants, staff, and community members.
Staff members and program managers will benefit from the insights provided by program participants, which will help to guide program implementation and practice.
Program funders provide not only financial support, but also a source of relevant knowledge to guarantee that program activities are carried out successfully.
Inclusion might be challenging as well. It will need more time in the schedule to bring together ideas from diverse stakeholder groups. All stakeholders should be included in decision-making to avoid unnecessary delays in satisfying people’s needs. To increase efficiency, task delegation should be promoted whenever possible.
The democratic participation principle is concerned with how the parties involved will engage and reach a decision. During the decision-making process, democratic involvement ensures that all stakeholders’ voices are heard.
Stakeholders’ voices could be heard through a literal vote or a significant contribution during the program implementation decision-making process.
The votes may be evenly shared or biased in one direction or the other. A woman in the community may have the same voice as the program administrator in an adolescent pregnancy program focused at rural populations, for example.
Democratic involvement acts as a method for eliciting as many views and proposals for program improvement as feasible while also assuring equality and fairness.
The notion of social justice guides empowerment evaluation. Empowerment evaluators assist people in participating in social programs that address a certain social issue or injustice in the real world.
The effort could be designed to promote access to health care and education for marginalized or minority communities. Homeless people, battered women, people with disabilities, children, and minorities are all possible targets.
Programs such as literacy, teen pregnancy prevention, drug and alcohol prevention, and HIV prevention are just a few examples. Under the notion of social justice, equal opportunity, due process, racial or ethnic diversity, and other relevant issues are all safeguarded.
The focus of the evaluator, community, and funder on social justice, equity, and fairness is preserved by this social justice concept. Our decisions on which methodological tools to use and how we use them are also guided by the concept of social fairness.
The purpose of data collecting is to acquire information that demonstrates if the program is contributing to the greater good as stated in the program’s mandates and agreements.
A housing scheme aimed towards rural and hard-to-reach riverine areas is a good example of the notion of social justice.
The notion of community knowledge states that program assessors recognize that residents are experts in their own communities. In transformational participatory evaluations, popular knowledge is equally as valid and valuable as scientific information.
In empowerment evaluations, community-based wisdom and competence are valued and encouraged. Empowerment evaluation considers local knowledge and assumes that people are generally aware of their own problems and capable of finding their own solutions.
Empowerment evaluation emphasizes the development of tools to help reinforce, test, or change local community knowledge. The experience of the community is seen as a useful resource for contextualizing research and internationally recognized best practices.
On the other hand, empowerment evaluation contains evidence-based suggestions for transforming local thinking and behavior.
Empowerment evaluation stresses science and evidence-based solutions, thinking that a study of relevant evidence-based or generally accepted best-practice interventions should be explored early in the planning and selection phase of a program to satisfy a community need.
Empowerment evaluation recognizes the knowledge base of researchers and practitioners who have provided empirical information about what works in various areas, as well as the community’s effort and knowledge base.
The value of exploiting current knowledge is included in this resolve to avoid repeating what has previously been done and instead expand on existing literature or practice. On the other hand, evidence-based projects should not be adopted without taking into account the local environment.
In empowerment evaluations, community knowledge is a critical counterweight to the respect for evidence-based, best-practice solutions. Most practices must be altered before they can be implemented in a community setting.
Empowerment evaluators believe that part of their job is to help stakeholders combine evidence-based knowledge of what works with the community’s awareness of context and participation when planning and implementing interventions.
Empowerment evaluators believe that by acquiring the essential methodologies and skills needed to perform program evaluation, stakeholders will be better able to alter and improve their own lives as well as the lives of others who participate in their programs.
Empowerment evaluation strives to improve program planning and implementation by increasing stakeholders’ ability to conduct assessments. Increased stakeholder capacity to create, administer, and monitor program activities helps to mainstream evaluations and organizational learning.
According to empowered evaluators, people and organizations may conduct assessments if they are given the necessary conditions and instruments in the workplace.
Consequently, empowerment evaluation incorporates user-friendly tools and concepts whenever possible to increase the likelihood that stakeholders will be able to and will use these tools once their capacities have been built and the involvement of the empowerment evaluator and technical assistance teams has decreased.
Organizational learning is the process of acquiring, applying, and mastering new tools and methods for improving processes. The concept of empowerment is built on the idea of improvement.
Improvement is improved when there is a strategy that stimulates learning (organizational learning) and an organizational structure that encourages learning (a learning organization). Organizations should not be satisfied with the status quo; they must be willing to change.
They should consider systems, place a premium on quality improvement, and strive for continual development. A learning organization is developed when the necessary operating attributes are present, and the long-term viability of empowerment evaluation is increased.
Empowerment assessment, like most evaluation methodologies, emphasizes responsibility and the program’s final outcomes.
Empowerment assessment, on the other hand, is based on the assumption that when stakeholders collect process evaluation data and hold individuals accountable for their activities and goals, the likelihood of achieving results is greatly boosted.
Process accountability is a high priority in empowerment evaluation because process evaluation is seen as a path to results-based accountability.
In empowerment evaluation, accountability is considered as a shared and participative obligation of the funder, researcher/evaluator, and practitioner.
Principles And Key Concepts of Empowerment Evaluation
Key Concepts Guiding Empowerment Evaluation
An evaluator who facilitates the process and steps of empowerment evaluation is known as a critical buddy or friend. They support the program’s goals but offer constructive criticism. They aid in maintaining the evaluation’s organization, rigor, and objectivity.
The essential friend’s role deserves special emphasis because it functions as a fulcrum in vital connections.
Important attributes of a critical friend
- Create an environment conducive to dialogue and discussion.
- Provide or request data to inform decision making.
- Facilitate rather than lead.
- Open to ideas.
- Willing to learn.
Relationships are at the heart of empowerment evaluation. In the sense that they see program personnel, program participants, and community members as the ones in charge of the evaluation, empowerment evaluators are critical friends or coaches.
Instead of acting as the “expert” and being fully detached from the people with whom they work in order to avoid becoming “contaminated” or “biased,” the empowerment evaluator collaborates directly with and alongside program staff and participants.
Empowerment evaluators are not in charge; rather, the individuals with whom they work are in charge of the evaluation’s direction and implementation.
Instead of judging and declaring success or failure, compliance or non-compliance, the empowerment evaluator seeks to assist the group or community in maximizing their potential and exponentially unleashing their creative and productive energies for the greater good.
Culture of evidence
By asking people why they believe what they believe, empowerment evaluators seek to develop a culture of evidence. At every point, community members and program participants are asked for evidence or documentation, so it becomes usual and expected to have facts to back up one’s claims.
Cycles of reflection and action
This entails continual rounds of analysis, decision-making, and execution, which are frequently based on evaluation results. In the sense that programs are dynamic, not static, and require continuous input as they alter and evolve, empowerment evaluation is a cyclical process.
Empowerment evaluation is successful when it is institutionalized and becomes a normal part of the planning and management of the program.
Community of learners
A group procedure is used to evaluate empowerment. The group shares knowledge and serves as a peer review group, critical friend, resource, and norming mechanism for one another.
Individual members of the group hold each other accountable for achieving set objectives.
Data is used by reflective practitioners to inform their judgments and actions in their daily operations. This results in a self-aware and self-actualized person who can apply their worldview to all aspects of their lives.
Individuals improve the quality of the group’s interchange, debate, and action plans as they develop and strengthen their own potential.