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PLA Notes CD-ROM 1988-2001 1 From terms of reference to participatory learning: using an evaluation's creative space

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Document begins: PLA Notes CD-ROM 1988­2001 1 From terms of reference to participatory learning: using an evaluation's creative space Joanne Harnmeijer Introduction consultants and one Dutch consultant based in Zimbabwe. Conventional evaluations of development projects are generally carried out by external The explicit request for innovative experts, who largely use documented participatory methods encouraged the information, interviews and short field visits to evaluators to take some bold steps. First, they gather their information. They are usually `translated' the ToRs into a set of ten guided by terms of reference which leave them hypothetical statements (see Box 1), all of with little scope for flexibility or creativity. In which were phrased in the positive. The this article we describe how a project evaluators' task was to support, refine or reject evaluation in Zimbabwe used the original these statements. terms of reference as a basis for a flexible and participatory approach to evaluation. Designing a participatory learning methodology Converting terms of reference to hypotheses The next step was the challenging one: for each of the first seven of the ten statements, The Small Dam Rehabilitation Project (SDRP) the team conceived a sequence of methods, implemented by CARE International aims to chosen both ...

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