Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Korea - Empowerment Evaluation - New Village Concept


Empowerment Evaluation in Korea. 

Dr. Fetterman was invited to present a plenary talk about empowerment evaluation at the Korean Association for Policy Studies in Seoul, South Korea, September 2012.  (Dr. Fetterman was the Director of the MA Policy Analysis and Evaluation Program in the School of Education at Stanford University for over a decade.)

Dr. Fetterman highlighted the many faces of empowerment evaluation.  

He also described the theories guiding the approach, including process use, as well as aligning theories of action and use.


Dr. Fetterman is graphically displaying how important it is to "mind the gap" and "close the gap" (between what organizations say they are doing and what they do in practice).


Dr. Fetterman also highlighted concepts guiding the approach, ranging from a critical friend to a community of learners.


Dr. Fetterman and Professor Emeritus Wha-Joon Rho struck up a friendship as well as a new working relationship.  Together they are planning to work on a theory about the New Village (a concept designed to help developing countries leapfrog into contemporary social and economic markets).  This is discussed briefly below.  

Professor Wha-Joon Rho is one of the leading academic entrepreneurs in the country according to SISA Economy Magazine, January 2012, Volume 59.


Dr. Fetterman presented a second plenary about empowerment evaluation to graduate students during his visit.  Professor Kilkon Ko, moderator, hosted the presentation.


Special thanks are extended to the president of the Korean Association for Policy Studies, Keum-Rok Yoo for hosting the plenary and the conference.


After the conference was over, Professors Fetterman and Rho spent some time in a Korean Village.  This was in part to appreciate the rich cultural heritage of the country and to lay the foundation for new line of inquiry and exploration.  

Dr. Rho recognized the link between his work in policy and empowerment evaluation and used the Korean Village as a metaphor to help explain how they should work together in the future.

The conversation began with Korean tea - to rebuild our energy after a long conference.


Then we toured the village.  Here is a typical house.


The kitchen was the most important metaphor concerning our proposed plans to work together.  The kitchens are quaint and tell us much about Korean traditions.  However, Professor Rho grew up in the country and understood how labor intensive it was for women to have to squat to feed the fire and cook the food.  He is committed to helping people in developing countries take advantage of technological advances that make their life easier, healthier, and more productive. 

The kitchen was a powerful metaphor to convey his message.


The same applies to the mortar and pestle below.  They are beautiful, functional, rich in history and cultural significance. However, they are also labor intensive.  Technological updates in these food preparation areas, for example, could enhance peoples' lives.


The same applies to water wells in terms of both efficiency and health standards.


Dr. Rho drew his theory of the integration of his policy work and empowerment evaluation in the dirt roads of the village.  Together they forged a more integrated conception of this developmental work, respecting cultural traditions, cultivating self-determination and ownership, while helping people catapult themselves into healthier, safer, and more productive lives.


Empowerment evaluation would ensure local control and feed back the practical experience in the field to the state and nation.  Empowerment evaluation could be a useful tool to help local community members test and ultimately modify the theory of public policy in developing countries, as envisioned and orchestrated by a transformational leader.


While the sunset ends the day in Seoul, it is the beginning of a new day helping to design the New Village in developing countries using empowerment evaluation as a driving force.