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How do you deal with the complexity of collaborating organizations that are on different timelines, with power differentials, and varying levels of data quality?  Krishna Belbase of the Evaluation Office of UNICEF introduced the Resource Pack on Joint Evaluations developed by the UN Evaluation Group, at the CES 2015 conference in Montreal.  He suggested that it is structured for UN agencies, but could be adapted to suit other organizations.  The Resource Pack is a rich resource not only because of the simple yet comprehensive guide it provides for evaluation, but also because of the way it details the governance structures needed to support evaluation in organizations working together on evaluation. 

In today’s world many evaluations are done with some element of collaboration, and the Guidance Document and Toolkit that make up the Resource Pack can be used to help define the key functions, structures, and questions to ask when determining how to govern evaluation. 

The Guidance Document helps tease out the various functions like communication, management, technical input, and logistics.  The Toolkit then walks you through the steps from deciding to work together on an evaluation, preparing for the evaluation, implementing the evaluation, to utilizing the outcomes.  It addresses sticky issues like readiness and buy-in, and provides advice at every stage from developing terms of reference to disseminating findings.

Do you need a steering committee, management group, reference group, stakeholder group, or advisory group?  The Toolkit lays out the considerations for making important decisions about the most appropriate governance structure for your situation.  Overall, the Resource Pack on Joint Evaluations is a great resource for any organization looking to support decision-makers and leaders in structuring their governance, and provides tools such as checklists, examples and good practices to evaluation practitioners.

Check out this amazing resource: Resource Pack on Joint Evaluations


 
 
As planners and evaluators we have an important and influential role in supporting decision-making,  but we are ultimately advisors. How can we exercise leadership in our role while respecting the role of final decision-makers?  I've found a few approaches that help:

1. Help identify decision-makers
2. Facilitate the development of terms of reference, scope of decisions or decision-making criteria
3. Ensure that organizational values are reflected in the plans and evaluation framework
4. Articulate evaluation findings and recommendations in a language and format that meets the needs of decision-makers
5. Time work to accommodate upcoming decisions and information needs

Good governance is important to everyone and we are responsible for contributing to a sound decision-making process.  We can take leadership in strengthening the decision-making process in an advisory role.
 
 
TedxMontrealWomen took place this weekend,  and I had the good fortune of attending with two brilliant women. We listened and reflected throughout the day on the presentations organized around the theme of daring greatly. It was both a personal and professional challenge to get to know ourselves better and bring more of our best selves into the work we do.

For those of us who work with complex issues and challenges that often seem intractable, the inspiring words from women in science,  technology,  business,  social development and art served as a moving reminder that we need to tap into our passion to be at our most powerful.

Skawennati is an artist and independent curator creating future images of thriving Aboriginal communities using digital media.  She works with youth to express their culture and personal journeys through video games and created an Aboriginally-determined territory in cyberspace called CyberPoWow.  Skawennati and the other speakers have found their purpose and are fully engaged with making the world a better place by giving expression to their powerful dynamism and unique talents.
 
We left the event recharged and ready to create stronger relationships and build an ever more mindful practice.