An important component of the Trustbuilding Program is the evaluation process of the Program as a whole and of its projects. What impact do the projects have? What are the learnings we can share? How can the projects be improved? These are some of the questions that we seek to answer through both qualitative and quantitative evaluation. We spoke about the importance of these measures with Trustbuilding Program Evaluation Manager Roxann Allen Kioko.
What is your role in the Trustbuilding Program?
I am the Evaluation Manager. My role is to help the pilot teams to monitor and evaluate their Trustbuilding Program projects and to learn from their work. I have visited the different teams to help them adjust the evaluation strategy to their local projects.
Why is this evaluation groundbreaking for Initiatives of Change and the teams of the Trustbuilding Program?
Systematic evaluation has not yet been done within Initiatives of Change and the process we’ve undertaken intentionally involves as many stakeholders as possible. We did this so that the evaluation empowers everyone involved in the Program and we learn from it together. Not only between the different country teams in this first year, but to also take the learnings into account for the Trustbuilding Program in year two.
Why is having an evaluation process so important?
It helps you to not only be accountable for your work, but it also helps you learn what you are doing well and what you can improve. An evaluation process can also be part of the program itself, in the sense that the evaluators involve the appropriate staff and program participants in a way that empowers them to shape what they want to learn and how they want to improve along the way, so that the process itself reflects the values and aims of the organization and program overall.
Can you give an overview of the evaluation process that the teams use?
The participants will be asked to share stories of what has been the most significant change they’ve experienced as a result of the program and to evaluate how they have improved by participating in the program. This is so we can understand how this program is working in each country and build on the successes. We also learn more about the direct impact of taking part in the Trustbuilding Program, and what we can do to improve in the future in year two. There are three different points in the year for evaluation. At the beginning of the projects, in the middle, and at the end of the first year.
What stories are emerging from the pilots?
Unfortunately, we have not yet gotten into the story collection yet. This is something we will get into at the end of the Program.
How is Trustbuilding Program making a difference to the local teams/communities so far?
It is building their capacity to better understand themselves, connect with others, and build a network to create positive change in their communities, amongst others. Through evaluation, we can make these differences more tangible.
What are the challenges that you see?
Initiatives of Change has been highly decentralized as an organization and has not used such an extensive evaluation process, so it is normal to experience some ‘growing pains’ while going through the exercise of standardization through our evaluation efforts. Trustbuilding can be difficult to measure, so this will be a year to refine our measurement instruments and questions to be sure we are understanding how the program is working in a reliable and valid way.
What are the opportunities that you can identify?
There will be a lot we can learn from each other as far as how the projects have experienced success, so that we can support each other in our work. Many of the teams are working on similar areas around preventing extremism, and we have an opportunity here to learn from different cases of how trustbuilding can prevent extremism.
The Trustbuilding Program is aimed at addressing divisive issues at the international and national levels, on the premise that only those who have undergone the internal process of becoming trustworthy themselves can close gaps across the globe. The Program was launched by Initiatives of Change International in 2019 with projects in Kenya, Canada and France.