Program Evaluation: tools, tips and food for thought

Here in the Columbia River Gorge, we have many Community Based Organizations (CBOs) that are doing amazing work around health, equity, food security, education, housing and much more! As the Learning Specialist for our region, I have engaged with over a dozen organizations to understand their data collection practices and how they are evaluating the impact of their programs and projects.


In early 2019, I learned that program evaluation was something many organizations were curious to learn more about. I teamed up with Chelsea Ruder, Community Research Liaison, to plan a series of trainings for our community. Our first training, which was held in April 2019, was geared towards program evaluation and addressed the following:


· Developing a basic understanding of the components of evaluation plans

· Creating a draft evaluation plan

· Understanding costs and activities associated with conducting an evaluation


We had two guest presenters from Oregon Health and Science University, Kris Gowen and Adrienne Zell, who led 15 community partners through a series of activities that helped them gain hands on skills they could take back to their organizations.


When it comes to program evaluation, it is never too early to start thinking about how you will measure the success of a program or project. Here are some resources on how to get started:


- BetterEvaluation: An international collaboration to improve the practice and theory of evaluation by creating and curating information on choosing and using evaluation methods and processes, including managing evaluations and strengthening evaluation capacity.


- American Evaluation Association: is a professional association of evaluators devoted to the application and exploration of program evaluation, personnel evaluation, technology, and many other forms of evaluation. 


- CDC Approach to Evaluation: View information on program evaluation including resources and the framework.


- Introduction to Evaluation Module 1This 15-minute module is the first in a two-part series designed to introduce the basic steps of program evaluation to public health professionals. The modules provides an overview of engaging stakeholders, describing the program, and focusing the evaluation design.


- Introduction to Evaluation Module 2: This 25-minute module is the second in a two-part series designed to introduce the basic steps of program evaluation to public health professionals. The module provides an overview of gathering credible evidence, justifying conclusions, and ensuring use and sharing lessons learned. 


If you have more questions, I am always open to chat one-on-one about how to develop an evaluation plan for your projects and programs. Contact me at: swift.alicia@gmail.com

© 2019 Website by Addison Carroll for Healthy Gorge Initiative

© Photography by Blaine Franger / www.BlaineBethanyGallery.com

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