Monday, June 18, 2012
AEA/CDC Summer Evaluation Institute - Empowerment Evaluation
Empowerment Evaluation: Keynote and Workshop.
A Joint Effort of the American Evaluation Association & The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. David Fetterman was invited to present a keynote and workshop on empowerment evaluation at the Summer Evaluation Institute in Atlanta, Georgia.
Workshop participants were engaged and motivated.
The keynote highlighted the role of empowerment evaluation in promoting social justice.
The case example focused on tobacco prevention. An abstract of the keynote is provided below:
An engine helping people drive down the road of social justice
Fetterman & Associates
People want to see things get better for themselves, their families, and their community. It is that insatiable thirst for a better life that sustains the, often Herculean, effort required to transform the world around us. It is a challenge in part because of the natural forces of inertia reinforcing the status quo. It is Herculean because many people begin from a starting point that few of us can only imagine. However, this is not another talk about blaming the victim, victimization, or any of those stigmatizing tales. This is a story of resilience, the single-minded pursuit of a goal, and an unrelenting commitment to excellence. It is also a story about people learning to help themselves, and the often untold story, about people helping people to help themselves.
It is logical that if you want to help people turn their lives around 180 degrees you have to use an equally radical or different set of driving instructions than the ones we have used in the past. Empowerment evaluation is an approach that is at least a standard deviation away from the status quo. This brand of evaluation focuses on building capacity, producing results, and improving communities. It has been successful internationally because it is simple, only 3 steps, and because it works. It is a radically different view of evaluation. In fact, many believe it stands evaluation on its head. The community is in charge of the evaluation, instead of the individual expert or evaluator. The speed and direction of the evaluation are determined and controlled by the community. The empowerment evaluator is a coach, facilitator, and mentor. Evaluators keep the project rigorous, on track, and under control. However, empowerment evaluators do not control the evaluation – the evaluation remains in the hands of those who have a stake in the community, long after any individual project has come and gone.
This talk will focus on a 7-year tobacco prevention empowerment evaluation. It involves 19 grantees, including hospitals and churches, working across the State of Arkansas. They are applying CDC tobacco prevention recommended policies and practices. The grantees have developed an evaluation dashboard to monitor and evaluate their performance, including baseline, goals, benchmarks and actual performance. The project has saved the State money in terms of excess medical expenses, established smoke free parks, and resulted in the creation of the Arkansas Evaluation Center.