Communitizing Evaluation: Enabling Community Participation in Monitoring and Evaluation

Panel Discussion | Online

About the Event

Traditional monitoring and evaluation approaches often fail to capture the nuanced perspectives and needs of local communities, thereby undermining the effectiveness and scalability of development initiatives. One of the primary challenges lies in the lack of community involvement throughout the monitoring and evaluation process. By excluding community voices, evaluations risk overlooking crucial insights due to disproportionate power dynamics with external evaluation agencies, lack of cultural sensitivity and understanding of local realities by donors thus hindering the progress towards transformational shifts to achieve scalable impacts. To address these challenges, it is imperative to prioritize community engagement and participation in evaluation efforts. By adopting culturally responsive participatory approaches, investing in robust data management systems incorporating local realities and implementing long-term actionable strategies, organizations can ultimately achieve more impactful and scalable development outcomes. This online panel discussion, co-hosted by GRAAM and ISDM, is an attempt to highlight these challenges and explore strategies for making the evaluation process truly community-centric.

Through facilitated discussions, we will explore the following objectives :

1.Delving into challenges and barriers: We'll identify roadblocks to inclusive M&E which include power imbalances between external evaluators and the local community, cultural and linguistic barriers, lack of understanding of local context, lack of representation of local community in the decision-making process, etc.
2.Exploring best practices to integrate community voices: From capacity-building initiatives, local partnerships to adopting culturally appropriate mechanisms, we'll discuss best practices for engaging communities throughout the entire evaluation cycle.
3.Long-term transformative strategies: We'll explore long-term transformative strategies such as the role of synergies among ‘state, market society,’ leveraging technologies for effective decision making, and various other actionable steps to ensure monitoring and evaluations are grounded in the lived experiences and priorities of communities, thus fostering a sense of ownership and leading to more sustainable, scalable and impactful outcomes.

This event brings together a diverse group of stakeholders, including representatives from:

1.Evaluation Professionals: Their expertise will be invaluable in exploring innovative methodologies and tools for fostering meaningful community participation in the M&E process
2.Government Agencies: Their insights will shed light on policy considerations and best practices for integrating community perspectives into M&E approaches.
3.Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Organizations: Their experiences will highlight effective strategies for engaging communities throughout CSR projects, ensuring evaluations capture genuine impact.

Toward the end of the event, we aim to achieve the following outcomes:
1.Build a shared understanding: By fostering open exchange and building perspectives from diverse stakeholder ecosystems, we can create a shared understanding of the importance of prioritizing community voices in evaluation.
2.Enhance effectiveness for long-term systemic shifts: By elevating the role of communities and exploring transformational long-term startegies, we can ultimately ensure interventions truly address the most pressing issues and deliver transformative systemic shifts
3.Create knowledge assets: Based on the discussions with key stakeholders, a knowledge document of invaluable insights on impactful community-centered monitoring and evaluation will be crafted and disseminated to wider audiences


Name Title Biography
Dr R Balasubramaniam Member – Capacity Building Commission, Government of India, Dr. Ramaswami Balasubramaniam (Balu) is a renowned development scholar, author, and public policy advocate. Founder of SVYM and GRAAM, he's dedicated to rural and tribal development. A leader in academia and government, he inspires youth leadership embodying Swami Vivekananda's ideals.
Dr Rajesh Tandon Founder, Participatory Research in Asia Dr. Rajesh Tandon is a leader in participatory research for 50 years. Head of PRIA, GACER chairperson, UGC committee member. Honored for gender work, awarded Doctor of Laws. Prolific author & advocate for empowerment.
Dr Anuradha Jain Senior Advisor Health Systems Strengthening, USAID Dr. Anuradha Jain is a senior public health professional with 20+ years of work experience for health systems strengthening (HSS) having worked across diverse settings and roles including Government of India (GOI), international NGOs, bilateral funding agencies and healthcare facilities.
Ms Anupama Shetty Mission Director, Biocon Foundation With over 20 years of experience in diverse roles, Anupama Shetty currently leads CSR initiatives for Biocon Foundation. As a Ph.D. student at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), she focused on strategic change in healthcare organizations, accreditation, and safety culture.
Dr Basavaraju R Shreshtha Executive Director, GRAAM Dr. Basavaraju R Shreshtha is a distinguished development professional, GRAAM founder, G20 leader, accomplished author, academic, and skilled consultant with expertise in policy research, social innovation, and strategic consultation.
Lajana Manandhar Executive Director, FANSA Executive Director at LUMANTI Support Group for Shelter, Regional Convenor, Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA), Coordinator, Asian Coalition for Housing Rights ( ACHR)
Saiju Chacko Independent Evaluator A result oriented professional with almost 20 years of rich and varied experience in the areas of Training Evaluation & studies, Program Management, & Corporate Compliance audits. Proficiency in developing result oriented project proposals, Monitoring & Evaluation systems, professional reports & documentation.


Name Title Biography
Trisha Varma Director, Global Knowledge Hub, ISDM Trisha's career has been spent revealing consumer and market insights, converting them into business solutions, and helping brands make bolder, better, and faster decisions, across diverse categories and myriad geographies.. She is the founder of UncoverY, prior to which she was a Founder and Manager at Insights and more. She did her M.B.A from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar and Bachelor of Mathematics from St.Stephen’s College, Delhi University. She is currently the Director of Global Knowledge Hub at ISDM.

Topics and Themes

Evaluators Evaluation users Decision makers VOPEs / Evaluation networks Academics Civil Society Youth Civil Servant / Intl. Organization Employee Culturally Responsive Evaluation Evaluation and transformational change: balancing ambition and realism Participatory/ Community based/ Collaborative Evaluation

Event Details