Writing evaluation reports can be as daunting as reading them! With the information collected by three consultants, in more than 130 stakeholders interviews, over ten focus group discussions (FGDs), field visits to four countries and virtual country engagement, to summarize it all in a user-friendly way is a challenge. This was the case with the evaluation of the Global Humanitarian Partnership between C&A, C&A Foundation and Save the Children.
Luckily, by applying the Whole Person Approach (WPA) to the consultant group carrying-out the evaluation, we managed to share each consultant’s knowledge of the different aspects of the countries visited and interviews done, then agree on key messages, on the report structure, on the responsibilities and internal deadlines in a one day workshop. This paved the way to the work that was to come.
WPA has also helped in shaping the report itself. The use of metaphors, for example, was widely used. The first three years of the partnership were compared to the experience of a beginner at scuba-diving. Underwater diving pictures were even used in the comparison to make the report more reader-friendly. This metaphor was first used by a C&A Foundation staff to describe the partnership, during one of the initial workshops, where creative cards were picked as part of a technique to explore non-linear thinking.
To integrate the text written by three different consultants with three different writing styles was still a challenging process, to say the least. The difference, however, was that the WPA helped us to acknowledge and respect our differences. Still, the report writing took our dynamism and energy away. More has to be done in the future to address this common challenge.
Knowing how easy it is for reports to be written and then sit on a shelf, we were very glad with the feedback received from the client group that the report was being used as a road map to plan the second phase of the partnership. It was also gratifying to hear that everyone who was part of the evaluation learned something form it even if they did not read the report, as mentioned by Ilan Vuddamalay, Programme Manager at C&A Foundation in her video interview to us.
To find ways to balance how much detail needs to be in the final report and how much people can learn in different ways is a challenge we will keep exploring. For this evaluation, we have piloted transforming one of the annexes into an animation. This required as much learning for us as it does from the client. We are just giving our first steps towards new ways of communicating evaluation results beyond full “traditional” reports. In the meantime, C&A Foundation has made the full evaluation report available. We hope it will be used beyond the internal teams, as a source of conversation about partnerships, humanitarian aid and evaluations.