Participatory Evaluation

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PARTICIPATIORY EVALUATION (PE)
A tool for empowering the Poor and Marginalized
(By – A.Sekar, M.S.W, Social Development Facilitator)
Introduction:
The century-old profession of social work is changing its position of being a semi-profession towards maturity and full professionalization. For contemporary social work, the challenge is thus to reconstruct old experiences and narratives as professional integrity, visibility and power in a qualitative work-through process. New ways of thinking, whereby theory, practice, and research are viewed as an integrated, continuous interplay, may be defined as a paradigm-shift. History of Social Work:

In the history of social work, there had been a paradigm shift from time to time. Initially, social work was perceived as an act of charity in which the donor did and decided everything. The beneficiaries were at the receiving end. Then a change took place and service delivery was institutionalized. Institutions like orphan homes, educational institutes, hospitals etc emerged. Some systems and rules were in practice. Yet decision making was with the service organizations and priorities were set by them. There was little scope for participation of the beneficiaries in the whole set up. But this trend too changed and development perspective emerged. It provided room for participation of beneficiaries to some extend. People were given space for expressing their problems and living conditions. There was a two-way communication process. The paradigm shift in recent years is that development intervention is becoming more and more participatory. People exercise their freedom of choice, participation, decision making and expression. The benefiting community is not viewed as merely recipients but seen as partners in development. The concept of participatory approach is almost two decades old. But the application of the methodology is traced here and there in the past is just a decade old. Purpose of Evaluation:

The purpose of evaluation is to help us to better understand whether our hard work is having the impact we desire. Evaluation comments, reviews and examines whether the objectives of a particular intervention is achieved or not. It is ultimately a process of learning and planning for more effective social action. It analyzes the past performance and management functions to understand the future. Evolution of the concept:

The evolution of evaluation began early in the 1950s. The rapid growth in international development assistance in the 1970s paved way for further development and growth of evaluation systems as the need for the control and accountability increased. The conventional monitoring and evaluation effort focused on physical inputs and outputs and financial expenditure against capital items. It relied on objective methods. It was usually facilitated by outside experts and often initiated by donor agencies. Participatory Rural Appraisal {PRA) evolved from Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) -a set of informal techniques used by development practitioners in rural areas to collect and analyze data. Rapid rural appraisal developed in the 1970s and 1980s in response to the perceived problems of outsiders missing or miscommunicating with local people in the context of development work. In PRA, data collection and analysis are undertaken by local people, with outsiders facilitating rather than controlling. PRA is an approach for shared learning between local people and outsiders. The shift in the perspectives of organizations towards reflecting more on their own experiences, and learning from them have led to the rise of Participatory Evaluation (PE)

Of late the development NGOs are transferring the governance of development initiatives into local community, and training the beneficiaries as researchers and evaluators themselves. The benefiting community is given greater space for participation, policy and decision making. The perspectives of the beneficiaries are taken into account for...
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