Most evaluators do not take time to reflect on the value and impact of their work. This is so important because if we do not reflect on our experiences, we may not realize the value of evaluation.
Looking back on nearly 10 years of evaluation with underserved communities, I found value and impact.
$20 Million in funding has been awarded to underserved communities as a result of leadership, collaboration, and vision.
105 Students and community members received mentoring and training in areas of empowerment evaluation, community-based participatory research, mixed-methods evaluation, and public health practice.
30 Professional presentations support the translation of evaluation findings into practice. In the last five years, presentations reached tribal governments, educators, researchers, policymakers, and community members about the power and meaning of community-focused evaluation.
20 Published peer-reviewed journal articles reach academics, policymakers, and funders. These articles are the evidence that community-focused evaluation works.
3 Book chapters highlight community-based research methods.
1 Evaluation textbook, Rural Community Evaluation, will be released by Routledge in December 2018. This text summarizes the how and why of evaluation in rural communities.
I believe that evaluators can make a difference in communities. I believe that our work has the power to change circumstances. If we listen, we can hear the voices of the community, what they need, how they were impacted, and what their hopes are for the future. Listening and reflection…. these are two things I think every evaluator should do.