The Kellogg Foundation firmly believes that evaluation is an important part of the success of project activities. Be it an evaluation conducted throughout the process (formative evaluation), or an evaluation carried out upon completion of the activities to judge the degree of success (summative evaluation). The former aims to check whether the project is on the right path and what adjustments may be needed. The latter is used to determine if the results achieved match up to the initial expectations, and the project’s social scope.
The Foundation gives preference, whenever possible, to processes of self-evaluation, since a community can learn so much more from this process, considering that an evaluation of oneself is a means of raising the self-confidence of those involved in the project and, therefore, improving their qualification.
“The evaluation is not seen as an isolated activity that is delegated to professionals hired by the WKKF, but rather as a central part of its working strategy,” explains Argentine sociologist Graciela Cardarelli, a Foundation project consultant for the Andean region. Cardarelli helps prepare the evaluation documents consulted in working meetings on the Comprehensive Clusters of Projects in this region, where the lack of resources and unequal distribution of income are the principal causes of poverty. Over the past three years, 11 clusters have received Foundation funding in this area of Latin America – 5 in Peru, 5 in Bolivia and 1 in Ecuador.
As part of our current programming, which is intended to support alternatives to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, the Foundation considers there to be three levels in the evaluation process: a first level of the specific projects contained in each cluster (whether funded or not by the WKKF), a second level represented by the cluster itself, and, finally, a more comprehensive level that evaluates the broader initiative and encompasses the evaluations of all the clusters from the three priority areas where we operate – the latter is reflected in the evaluation matrix that selects the dimensions and variables to be measured when evaluating the impact of these projects in the context of the geographic areas where the Kellogg Foundation operates.
“The documents are intended to organize the evaluation, providing the clusters with the necessary references for them to develop their own methods of analysis in their territorial area, completing this work,” notes Graciela Cardarelli.
Arturo Jordan, another WKKF project consultant for the Northeast of Brazil, also emphasizes some of the important aspects of evaluation. Priority geographical area 2 contains nearly half the Brazilians who live in a state of poverty and some two thirds of the rural population in this condition. According to Jordan, four principles must be adopted in order to conduct an effective evaluation: “Utility, viability, ethics and precision of the evaluation processes.” The first deals with the results that enable the people involved to learn, to make choices concerning the evaluated object and to take decisions.
“Viability takes into account the material, technical, political and temporal possibilities. Ethics is associated with the respect for these people, and precision, with everyone’s trust in the results of
the evaluation,” says Jordan.
Published in Interaction nº 10