How can evaluative knowledge contribute to addressing health inequities? Approaches to evaluation capacity building that takes inequities seriously

Panel Discussion | Online

About the Event

Questions probed in this session include: How do we train evaluators and planners to be responsive to the realities of widespread inequiies? How do we train evaluators to measure the value added of interventions given the complexity, inequities, and heterogeneities of the social landscape in which interventions are implemented? How do we train evaluators to incorporate contextual realities in applying evaluation criteria to judge the success of interventions?

Evaluation is at a crossroads, given both the need for decolonized knowledge as well as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion movement. The need for approaches of ‘valuing’ that incorporates issues of diversity and equity has never been greater. There is a need to be humble about our evaluation frameworks and learn from a diversity of settings including learning from evaluation capacity-building experiences from countries such as India.

There is a recognition that there are limits to what can be achieved through narrow programs and that there is a need to intervene at the system and policy levels. This also means that the evaluation community needs to be responsive to recognizing what it takes to build policy evaluation capacities
A country with a diversity of India, with 32 States and Union Territories and 22 Official languages, provides remarkable opportunities for scholarship and learning to be responsive to the needs of evidence to address inequities in the Indian ecosystem. This panel also leverages recent experiences in India by the Development Monitoring Evaluation Office (DMEO; this is the apex body of evaluation of the Central Government of India; DMEO's mission is to “institutionalize application and use of monitoring and evaluation at all levels of government policy and programs and help improve the efficiency, effectiveness, equity, sustainability, and achievement of results.”) and the Government of Meghalaya to build evaluation capacities to address inequities in India. In keeping with the Global theme, the session will be moderated by an evaluator based in the US State of Hawaii (formerly based in India)) and the discussant will be from Japan (also formerly based in India)

Learnings from this panel will include:
(1) learning from the experiences of the Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO) in India in building evaluation capacities to address inequities both at the National and State levels in India.
(2) In a number of evaluation capacity-building projects and research articles, there is still a tendency to think about building capacities as an activity or an event. This panel will argue that capacity building needs to be conceptualized as a dynamic process that requires relationships between multiple actors. Embedding a culture of evaluation requires us to think through a dynamic process of enhancing/building such a culture. The dynamics of building such a culture are aided by feedback from a system of monitoring and evaluation. This is relevant under an Indian cooperative federalism because it suggests that there is value in thinking about multilevel coordination between the Center and the States as we build evaluation capacity in India.
(3) Our interest is in how a program of work around policy evaluation capacity building can incorporate inequities more explicitly in the training and building capacities of evaluators.
(4) The panel will pay attention to learning from different contexts, learning across multiple levels, and paying attention to processes that exacerbate inequities.
(5) The realities of the pandemic in exacerbating inequities, and the utility of evaluation itself as an intervention in reducing inequities will also be discussed.


Name Title Biography
Sampath Kumar Principal Secretary to Health & Family Welfare Department, Government of Meghalaya Sampath Kumar is the Principal Secretary to Health & Family Welfare Department and also Programme Implementation & Evaluation Department at the Government of Meghalaya. He has conceptualized the innovative State Capability Enhancement Project (SCEP) as a means of strengthening state capacity, while successively tackling complex development challenges. He is an Edward S Mason Fellow at Kennedy School of Government and holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University.
Prof. Sandra Albert Director, Indian Institute of Public Health Shillong Sandra Albert is the Director of the Indian Institute of Public Health in Shillong (IIPHS). She is a dermatologist with an MD and DNB in Skin & Sexually Transmitted Infections. Her research interests include health systems, health policy, skin disorders, sexual and reproductive health, vector borne diseases and indigenous knowledge. The IIPH Shillong was established to redress the limited institutional and systems capacity in public health in the northeast region of India. At IIPHS she also established a Regional Resource Hub for Health Economics for doing economic evaluation; a collaborative initiative with the DHR, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. With a recent CRC award by DBT – Wellcome Trust India Alliance, Prof Albert and her team are setting up a Zoonotic & Vector Borne Diseases Training and Research Centre at IIPHS.
Dr. Shweta Sharma Director, Development Monitoring Evaluation Office Shweta Sharma is a Director at the Development Monitoring Evaluation Office at NITI Aayog. She has a decade’s experience as a developer, educator and researcher in leading technology companies, education institutes and the Government.
Paramjyoti Chattopadhyay i Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at DMEO, NITI Aayog. Paramjyoti Chattopadhyay is a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at DMEO, NITI Aayog. His research interests include agriculture, food security and rural development. Presently, he is working on evidence based policy making and evaluations of government schemes and programs, especially beneficiary oriented schemes in the development sector.Affiliation: Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO), NITI Aayog, Government of India; Address: New Delhi;
Aki Yonehara Professor of Sociology Prof. Yonehara is Professor of Sociology at Toyo University, Japan and Visiting Professor at the Indian Inst of Technology, Delhi. She is a leading Japanese evaluator with an interest in participatory evaluation approaches and a good understanding of the Indian context
Michael Woolcock Lead Social Scientist, World Bank Michael Woolcock is Lead Social Scientist with the Development Research Group at the World Bank, where he has worked since 1998. For 17 of those years he has also been be a (part-time) lecturer in public policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He is the author or co-editor of 13 books and more than 100 journal articles and book chapters, most of which center on issues in international development ranging from social institutions, local justice, and popular culture to state capability, methodology and complex program evaluation. An Australian national, he has a PhD in comparative-historical sociology from Brown University.


Name Title Biography
Sanjeev Sridharan Professor of Health Policy Evaluation Sanjeev Sridharan is Professor of Health Policy Evaluation at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He was previously the Country Lead, Learning Systems and Systems Evaluation at the India Country Office of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to this position, Sanjeev was Director of the Evaluation Centre for Complex Health Interventions at Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michaels Hospital and Associate Professor at the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. He has also been the Head of the Evaluation Program and Senior Research Fellow at the Research Unit in Health, Behaviour and Change at the University of Edinburgh. He is a former associate editor of the American Journal of Evaluation and is on the boards of the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, New Directions for Evaluation and the Journal of Evaluation and Program Planning.

Topics and Themes

Evaluators Decision makers Civil Society Culturally Responsive Evaluation Evaluation and transformational change: balancing ambition and realism Evaluation Networks Gender Responsive Evaluation Health Participatory/ Community based/ Collaborative Evaluation Poverty Public Policy

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