Two manuals on how to develop evaluation projects with young people are now available for consultation in the Publications and Resources section of the Kellogg Foundation website, in Portuguese, Spanish and English. The workbooks Participatory Evaluation with Young People and Facilitator’s Guide for Participatory Evaluation with Young People, which complement each other, were originally developed by the Program for Youth and Community of the School of Social Work, University of Michigan, in the United States, but they have now been adapted to the Latin American context by the Kellogg Foundation evaluation consultant Molvina Zeballos, sociologist and president of the Center for Studies and Promotion of Development – Desco.
In the following interview, Molvina explains the importance of the lessons learned through evaluation by youth and the impact that this experience has in promoting citizenship for young people.
Why is it important to tabulate evaluation work with young people?
Evaluation is a relatively uncommon practice, even among those working on projects for institutions concerned with development. It goes without saying that this situation is more critical among more spontaneous and less articulated experiences, which is generally the case with youth initiatives. Nevertheless, much of their force springs precisely from this spontaneity and from the fact that they are experiences with high emotional charge, built from the bottom up and from the inside out. They also tend to be unique experiences, with few links or contacts with other similar initiatives, which is why they do not make use of their capacity to learn from the errors and successes of others. The tabulation of these experiences reconstructs how and why things came about, enabling a “distillation” from the analysis of the lessons that can be used both by those involved with the tabulated experience to improve their decisions and practices, and by those involved with similar experiences to avoid the same mistakes and concentrate on the things that went right.
What differences have you noticed in the youth after they participate in evaluation activities?
The evaluations are important learning opportunities that permit those involved in the process – in this case the youth – to develop the skills to classify and tabulate information and identify which is relevant; to gather data, process it and make an analysis of it; to establish agreements and consensuses and make decisions based thereon. These lessons far outstrip the limits of a project or initiative, however important or ambitious they may be. They are lessons that become instilled in the youth in their status as citizens and that enable them to make better decisions in the whole scope of things.
How were these evaluation workbooks produced and how were they adapted to the context in Latin America and the Caribbean?
Since the two workbooks provide practical tools and learning activities that are adaptable to different contexts, it seemed appropriate to make them available for the Latin American community. The original version, in English, draws upon the work of the Program for Youth and Community of the School of Social Work, University of Michigan, with community partners in the South Bronx, the Mississippi Delta, Albuquerque, East Oakland, Des Moines and Providence, and with youth evaluators from rural areas, small towns and urban neighborhoods of Michigan. In order for the youth and the community of Latin American evaluators to identify with the process and use tools they can relate to, the incompatible examples were replaced by others that are more in line with our reality. Some of them correspond to experiences in the territories where the strategy of Comprehensive Clusters of Projects is implemented through the support of the Kellogg Foundation in Latin America.
To read and download the workbooks, go to:
- Participatory Evaluation With Young People
- Facilitator’s Guide for Participatory Evaluation with Young People