Field Notes

In "Field Notes" we'll be regularly reporting on our evaluation work, discussing challenges, approaches, strategies, sharing learning. Hopefully colleagues will share any of their own insights!

An Evaluator’s Contribution to Sandy Hook

Supporting Healing and Empowerment On December 14, 2012, a tragedy occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. A strong reaction rippled across the country and, in many cases, this inspired action to build awareness, peace and stronger communities. Within days, the Sandy Hook Healing Project (SHHP), developed by Heather Gunn-Rivera, opened its […]

Tobacco Policy Change Evaluation – Executive Summary

TPC_Exec summary

Linking Theory with Action – An example

Background: We recently conducted a Theory of Action process with a capacity building organization, the Progressive Technology Project (PTP), which works with political organizing and social movement groups in the U.S. The group wanted to develop their Theory of Action, but also have a very focused discussion linking the process to decision-making over the next couple years. […]

Theory of Action/Theory of Change – Basic steps…

 When to use This process is best used at the beginning of a program or initiative or as an initial step in setting up an evaluation. It is a powerful tool to surface assumptions and support critical thinking and reflection  while also strengthening planning processes and sharpening strategies. It also provides a framework for monitoring […]

Theory of Action/Theory of Change- A few tips and lessons learned…

For a ToA to be more than just a map, the facilitator needs to be sure that the organization has the understanding and capacity to take on facilitation itself (for example by providing suggestions, a simple toolkit). The goal is for the   process of critical thinking to  happen independently of a facilitator, and for […]

Capacity building-Mexico: Getting the community’s point of view

For background on this project, read Capacity building-Mexico:Reflections on a new project (below on front page..) Other than working with the grantee project staff on their Theory of Action, we also visited the project beneficiaries. Our goals were to understand what has happened to date, the community’s expectations, and the current baseline of the issue of concern […]

Capacity building-Mexico:Theories of Action and establishing an evaluation framework

As part of our project conducting a participatory assessment of a  foundation’s new grantee portfolio in southern Mexico, I’m now in the Yucatán, conducting site visits to groups on the peninsula. To recap, our goals for the project are:  1) Establish a monitoring baseline, which will retrospectively provide a snapshot of grantees’ progress to date based on stated […]

Capacity building-Mexico: Challenges in building buy-in (Chiapas pilot)

We’re almost 2 weeks into the pilot, and nearly done! Tomorrow we just have one meeting in the morning with a group that has been very resistant to a field visit – so we’re just doing the office visit. One of the biggest challenges, somewhat unforeseen, has been the incredibly complex political situation in the […]

Capacity building-Mexico:Reflections on a new project…

  Our task: Set up and implement a participatory assessment of a  foundation’s new grantee portfolio in Southern Mexico.  We just arrived in Chiapas, Mexico to conduct the pilot of a project we began working on this  summer. There are two primary goals of the project, which creates some tension. First, to  establish a baseline “read” […]