6-7 June 2017. Rome. This IFAD conference explored and discussed the latest innovative approaches to using ICTs in development evaluation and seek to establish whether recent innovations in ICTs have demonstrable benefits in the intersecting fields of development evaluation and rural transformation.

It feature best practices that have emerged from the experiences of development organizations and the private sector across the world and explored what is possible today, and what the future holds. The conference also encouraged discussions about the theoretical concerns in evaluation methodology relating to the use of ICTs – for example, the ethics of using ICTs and their possible impact on sampling bias, exclusion, data security and privacy.

Principal topics. 1. ICTs applied to data collection
2. ICTs applied to data analysis
3. ICTs applied to data dissemination

Extract of the programme:
PLENARY ADDRESS: Technology – a facilitator of development or an additional barrier?
Dave Snowden, Director, Cynefin Centre for Applied Complexity, Bangor University, Wales
The Cynefin Framework is central to Cognitive Edge methods and tools. It allows executives to see things from new viewpoints, assimilate complex concepts, and address real-world problems and opportunities. Using the Cynefin framework can help executives sense which context they are in so that they can not only make better decisions but also avoid the problems that arise when their preferred management style causes them to make mistakes. Cynefin, pronounced kuh-nev-in, is a Welsh word that signifies the multiple factors in our environment and our experience that influence us in ways we can never understand. In this video, Dave Snowden introduces the Cynefin Framework with a brief explanation of its origin and evolution and a detailed discussion of its architecture and function. Details of Dave’s workshops can be found here http://cognitive-edge.com/education



Breakout session 10 – Analysing stories of change: Engaging beneficiaries to make sense of data 

Presenters:

  • Michael Carbon, Senior Evaluation Officer, IOE, IFAD 
  • Hamdi Ahmedou, Evaluation Research Analyst, Consultant, IOE, IFAD 
  • Rapporteur: Tala Talaee, Evaluation Analyst, Office of Evaluation, FAO 

Normally data collection and analysis is dictated by the evaluator’s own perception and understanding of the situation. Getting feedback from direct beneficiaries on a project and their own perception of its impact can be challenging given their large number and geographical dispersion, and the limited time and resources available for evaluators. How can we give voice to “people who matter”, namely the beneficiaries, in an evaluation process? 

As part of the Country Strategy and Programme Evaluation in the Republic of Cameroon, IOE sought to assess the relevance, effectiveness and gender- and age-specific impact of support provided to farmer organizations in two IFAD-funded value chain projects. To this end, it tested a SenseMaker1 approach, complementing other data collection and analysis tools. SenseMaker® combines elements of quantitative and qualitative methods. Based on the theory of change of the projects, a large number of short stories about meaningful change collected from project beneficiaries, and a common signification framework, the approach allows for strong involvement of project beneficiaries in giving sense to the data. Numerous lessons were learned from this first experience using SenseMaker® in an IFAD evaluation.

This session presented the experience of IOE in piloting use of SenseMaker® suite and its participatory approach to data analysis.

Breakout session 13 – How to use social media to positively impact development projects 
Presenter:

  • Alberto Souviron, Digital Media Specialist 
  • Rapporteur: Clare O’Farrell, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer, Investment Centre, FAO 

Social media has proved its influence to mobilize people for good causes, to improve education, to increase collaboration at all levels.

  • How can social media change how development research is shared and used? 
  • How can it be used to achieve the maximum of development projects? 

Social technologies today are having a massive impact on society changing all type of industries from pharmacy to energy. From a development perspective, they can also be used and offer huge opportunities to measure the real impact of projects with real insights from the communities they are trying to help. With a well planned social media strategy, development evaluators can benefit from understanding better the communities they are seeking to help and providing a more efficient assessment, with the individual at the centre.

Breakout session 15 – Open data and dissemination: Has the time come for common reporting standards on evaluations? 

Presenter:

  • Rupert Simons, CEO, Publish WhatYou Fund 
  • Rapporteur: Alena Lappo, Evaluation Analyst, Office of Evaluation, FAO 

In the past six years, a growing number of development organizations have begun sharing data in open formats. Many donors publish project and financial information using open data standards like the International Aid Transparency Initiative. Many organizations also maintain repositories of evaluations. However, it is difficult to join up data on aid projects with structured data on results. The consequence is that donors are not doing enough to learn from each other, while valuable evaluations do not receive the attention they deserve. This session described the growing availability of financial data on development and made some suggestions for how the data might be extended to results and evaluations, drawing on the research of Publish What You Fund and collaborating organizations.

Related: 
July 17 – 21. Ghana set to host 2nd Africa Open Data Conference   

This post was originally published at PAEPARD and has been republished with permission.

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