Program evaluation can often become a prison – a straightjacket of metrics, forms and community indicators that we ask our community partners to adopt in assessing their performance. In a formal evaluation exercise, people can end up counting and accounting, rather than doing and learning.
Based on our experience, we think evaluation should be a prism – a means of dispersing light into its constituent spectral colors, or a rainbow of perspectives. We should reflect on evaluation together, weaving the language of counting and accounting with the language of local knowledge, stories, history and shared cultural mores and rituals. This argues for more of a collaborative, portfolio approach to evaluation, rather than relying solely on one formal evaluation matrix developed by the funding agency.
– From SLHI’s Weave the People report