The importance of evaluation
Look back at Figure 2.1 at the beginning of this study session. Evaluation is one part of a continuous process of improvement. As indicated earlier, improvements generally come about by learning from experience and learning can take place through effective monitoring and evaluation.
Effective evaluation can help us to:
- improve our understanding of the many factors that violate children’s rights, helping us to see patterns that we do not normally see in our work
- generate the evidence we need to make recommendations or seek additional resources to make improvements to services
- assess whether specific projects or activities are on track and are delivering the outcomes expected
Activity 2.4: Monitoring and evaluating projects
Earlier in this study session, we looked at a case involving Achen, a 14-year-old girl who was experiencing sexual abuse. You learned about the importance and benefits of setting up monitoring systems and reporting the results of monitoring. Where monitoring shows there is a problem that is more widespread, it can lead to the introduction of a project to tackle this problem.
We are now going to think about evaluation of a project that is being set up to tackle child abuse in the community where Achen lives. The project will be delivered by community health workers, and managed by a paid health worker who will report to a senior health worker. The project is funded by a non-government organisation (NGO).
The project has three aims:
- To increase reporting of all kinds of child abuse to community health workers.
- This aim will be achieved by creating and displaying posters in a health centre and by telling parents and teachers about the importance of reporting cases to the health worker.
- To increase awareness amongst children of their rights.
- The main activity will be to provide talks in the local schools and to provide leaflets for teachers and school assistants.
- To increase knowledge of child protection amongst parents and other adults.
- The main activity will be to provide a class for parents and teachers, covering different aspects of child protection.
Before the project starts, it is important to decide what information will be collected, why, how it will be used and where different responsibilities lie? All the activities above are the outputs of the project, and the aim of the evaluation is to assess the outcomes. In other words, do these activities lead to an increase in reporting of cases, which can eventually lead to action that reduces child abuse in the locality.
Many projects, like this one, will try to establish what is known as ‘baseline data’. This means there is a good knowledge of the current situation before the project starts, so that the changes brought about by the project can be measured. In this case, one type of baseline data is that we know the average number of child abuse cases that are currently reported to health workers in a 12-month period.
The table below is adapted from one used by the children’s charity, UNICEF, and is an example of how to monitor and evaluate procedures related to child protection. The framework will remind you of the different aspects of monitoring and evaluation that was introduced earlier. You can use it again when you come to think about your own practice in the final section.
Information for the first project aim has been completed and some information added for the second and third aim. Can you complete the table?
|Project aim||What do you need to know?||Indicator||Who will be responsible for monitoring?||How will the information be collected?||What will happen to the information?|
|Aim 1: Increase reporting of child abuse cases||If the number of cases reported has increased||Number of cases reported will increase by 10% in the first year||Community health workers and paid health worker||Community health workers keep records and are collated by paid health worker||Reported to senior health worker for evaluation of project and reporting to the NGO|
|Aim 2: Increase awareness amongst children||At least five schools participate in Year 1 and all distribute information to children|
|Aim 3: Increase knowledge amongst parents|
If parents are actively engaging in the project
What parents think about the classes
Compare your answers to those at the end of the study session.
Responsibility for monitoring and evaluation
2.5 Involving children in monitoring and evaluation