The following information originates or is summarized from Effective Grant Writing and Program Evaluation for Human Service Professionals (Yuen, Terao, & Schmidt, 2009).
Guiding Questions (p. 64):
- What do you want to find out? (Beginning with the end in mind)
- What is available to you?…
This is part two in a four-part series on program evaluation, dedicated to organizations and businesses that provide programs and services for women, girls, and communities of color (and for people with an interest in evaluation practice). Throughout this month, I will be discussing certain aspects of evaluation practice –from how I became interested in evaluation, myths about evaluation, knowing what type of evaluation to perform, and bringing your community together to support evaluation – with the intent on highlighting the importance of evaluation not just from a funding perspective, but from an accountability and empowerment perspective.
You know that feeling you get when you’re sitting across from your supervisor during your annual job performance review? You think you’re doing a great job, you’re engaging with your co-workers, your projects are completed on time, and you manage your time well. Your supervisor agrees with you and talks glowingly about your performance, but then proceeds to give recommendations on “ways to improve”.
And now you’re uncomfortable. We all believe that we can handle constructive criticism, but who wants to hear how they’re not doing well? And we already know what improvements need to be made! They’re supposed to make us a better worker. Your supervisor gives you this list of things you need to improve on, and tells you that she would like to check in with you to see how you’re doing. You walk out of her office, feeling frustrated. You see what isn’t going well, and are too self conscious to ask how to improve. With “ways to improve” come concerns that if you don’t measure up, you’re reprimanded, you don’t get your raise, you’re demoted, or you’re let go.
Or…you welcome the challenge. You still feel a little uncomfortable, because it’s human nature to want others to see us at our best. But you already knew which areas you needed to work on but weren’t sure how to go about it, and you’re glad that your supervisor is providing you with concrete ways to do so. You ask your supervisor to provide you with more resources, trainings, literature, and other tools that can help you out as well. She even offers to provide you with additional support by checking in on a monthly basis to see where you are in your improvements. You begin to feel more confident, and your quality of work improves.
This is an example in how shifting your mindset can bring about a better outcome. And our mindset is what Part Two is about.
Last week in Part One, I shared what I believe are common concerns that go through the minds of nonprofit, agency, and business staff when it comes to evaluating a program or service.
… You’re tasked to carry out an evaluation and you don’t know where to begin. You lack the staff capacity needed to carry out an evaluation, or you want to build the capacity and are leery of hiring an external evaluator or don’t have the money in your budget to hire an internal evaluation staff member. When the evaluation is finally completed, you’re disappointed because the results you receive aren’t what you were expecting, and now you have to report it to your stakeholders and your funders. You’re trying to meet the expectations of the people you’re serving and also the expectations of your stakeholders and funders, and you feel that you’re at the mercy of an entity that can end your organization’s work, especially if a good portion of your funding comes from a primary source.
It’s a lot to think about, which can make it very easy to approach program evaluation with a “Why do we need to do this again?” mindset.
And just like how you feel as you sit across from your supervisor, how we look at program evaluation determines how successful we’re going to be at monitoring and evaluating our own programs and services, or being successful at working with an external evaluator.
The reason why many nonprofits, agencies and businesses don’t welcome evaluation with open arms is because of the confusion and misconceptions surrounding it. While we understand that program evaluation can strengthen the quality of our programs and services and can lead to better outcomes for the populations we serve, all this other stuff just creeps up and it become unwelcoming.
This is even more apparent when all or some of your services are tailored to meet the needs of women, girls, and communities of color. You feel that you are under even more scrutiny to perform well, nail the performance outcomes you indicated in your grant proposal, and be a success.
In order to change our mindset about program evaluation, we need to get to the bottom of why program evaluation may intimidate us, or at the very least, makes us remain ambivalent. In no particular order, here are 7 reasons why many nonprofits, agencies, and businesses believe that program evaluation is intimidating (and my advice on figuring it all out):
Pipe cleaners? I’ll explain…
This is Part Four in a four part series in planning, facilitating, and evaluating a workshop, designed to assist you if you’re new to the world of workshop facilitation or want to find more ways to improve what you’re already doing.
In Part One, we focused on essential things to consider before planning your workshop. In Part Two, we learned how best to structure a workshop for maximum effect, using my workshop template. In Part Three, we discussed the skills needed to be an effective workshop facilitator. Today, let’s discuss the final phase in workshop facilitation: gathering feedback from your participants as a way to improve your workshop.
Just as a direct service provider gathers feedback on her services at her agency or organization, evaluating your workshop is important in order to improve the workshop for another set of participants. You get direct feedback from your participants on what worked, what can be improved, and how the participants processed the information they’ve learned from your workshop.
You’re getting feedback on four components:
*Usefulness- Did the participant find the workshop useful? As we know from Part One, sometimes participants are attending your workshop because it’s mandatory, based on skill set on potential knowledge increase expected by the person or group who have invited you to facilitate. Either way, can the participant see herself applying what she’s learned in her life, school, or work?
*Workshop flow- Did the participant feel there was enough time for the topic being covered? Often, you’ll be told how much time you’ll have for your workshop, and you want to make the best use of it. Going back to Part Two, you have the option of delving deeper into an aspect of a topic, or the option of being more broad. Did the participant feel that she was given enough time to do the workshop activities? Was too much time given? Did the workshop end abruptly or was there an appropriate conclusion?
*Facilitator style- Did the participant feel that the facilitator was knowledge on the topic? Did the participant feel welcomed into the workshop space? Did the participant feel that her voice was heard? Did the participant feel that the facilitator was able to guide the conversation and handle distractions accordingly? In Part Three, we know that you should have command over your topic but be approachable to your participants. This can keep them engaged.
*Knowledge increase/behavioral change- Did the participant learn something that they didn’t know before? Does the participant plan to change their behavior? This is similar to evaluating the usefulness of your workshop, but this time it focuses primarily on the participant.
Ways to Evaluate Your Workshop
Most workshop evaluations are done in written format. The first section of the evaluation typically lists the name of the workshop, the facilitator’s name, the date of the workshop, and gathers demographic information of the participant such as age, gender, racial identity, marital status, sexual orientation, etc. Other areas include focus on workshop content, how the workshop was designed, the skills of the facilitator, behavioral/knowledge change, and ways to improve the workshop. Here’s a sample workshop evaluation from Enhancing Education. Feel free to model your evaluation after this one and make it more appropriate (language-wise) to your participants.
You don’t always have to rely solely on written evaluations. Here are some creative ways to gather feedback from your participants:
Israel & Gaza: The Math
- "Israeli settlements dump 5.5 million cubic meters of shit directly into Palestinian water sources each year"
- French parliament report accuses Israel of water ‘apartheid’ in West Bank
Credit: Michal Vexler
- B’Tselem: The Shared Water Sources and the Control Over Them
- Amnesty International: Troubled Waters: Palestinians Denies Fair Access to Water
- United Nations OCHA: The Humanitarian Impact of the Takeover of Palestinian Water Springs by Israeli Settlers
Morheeba Khorshid, Palestinian freedom fighter and leader of the Zahrat al-Uqhuwan (the Daisy Flower) in Yafa, a secret women’s squad charged with urging others to fight and provide aid to the resistance during the 1948 war.
Via Team Palestina
5 ways America enables Israel’s atrocities
November 20, 2012
1. Green Lighting Military Operations
When Israel escalates in Gaza, the country can count on the U.S. to give it the greenlight to do what it feels it has to. This dynamic was on display the past week, as Israel conducted an assault of choice on the largely civilian population of Gaza—and the U.S. fully backed it.
The serious escalation in violence began after Israel decisively broke a tacit truce it had reached with Hamas. Israel assassinated a Hamas leader, Ahmed al-Jabari, and proceeded to pound the Gaza Strip for the next week. But despite the fact that it was Israel who decided to escalate, the U.S. had no interest in looking at the facts.
The supportive rhetoric from the U.S. began the day of the assault, when a military spokesman told reporters that “we stand by our Israeli partners in their right to defend themselves against terrorism.” Similar statements were used over the week, culminating in Barack Obama’s extremely supportive comments aired yesterday. “There’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” said Obama, missing the irony and blatant hypocrisy in his statement. “Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory.”
2. Giving Israel Weaponry
Israel can’t carry out a decades-old, belligerent military occupation and siege without having the tools to do so. And the U.S. obliges Israel, day in and day out.
Every year, the American government delivers about $3.1 billion in military aid to Israel. That money is sent to Israel with the stipulation that they must use the money to buy American weaponry, so that aid gets recycled back into the U.S. military-industrial complex. These weapons include the F16s bombing Gaza; missiles raining hell on civilians there; and U.S.-made rifles. According to the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation , over the past decade “the United States licensed, paid for, and delivered more than 670,903,390 weapons and related equipment to Israel, valued at $18.866 billion through three major weapons transfer programs during this same period.”
You can also see this dynamic being played out in Israel’s use of the Iron Dome system. This defense system is meant to protect against the rockets that Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups fire at Israelis. It was paid for by the U.S. government, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. The Iron Dome system has been effective at knocking down some of the rockets fired during this latest escalation.
3. Diplomatic Protection
When Israel assaults the Gaza Strip, it can count on the U.S. to shield the country from meaningful diplomatic action by other countries to stop the aggression.
During this assault, dubbed “Operation Pillar of Cloud,” the diplomatic front has been largely absent. But there was one Security Council meeting, where the U.S. again defended Israel. As scholar Vijay Prashad points out , “Morocco and Egypt, on behalf of the stateless Palestinians, hastened to the UN Security Council, wanting to stop the violence and condemn Israel for its disproportionate use of force….The United States defended Israel. Susan Rice put the onus on Hamas.”
The Obama administration has also protected Israel from opprobrium over its illegal West Bank colonization policy. In February 2011, the U.S. vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that condemned West Bank settlements as illegal—despite the fact that U.S. policy is that settlements are illegitimate and an obstacle to peace.
And when there are credible accusations of war crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians, efforts at finding justice for those crimes fall short because of the U.S. Israel waged another, more deadlier assault on Gaza about four years ago, which killed about 1,400 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians. International outrage at Israeli actions reached a peak during this 2008-09 assault, and resulted in the formation of a UN fact-finding mission to investigate allegations of war crimes on both sides.
The result of this fact-finding mission was the Goldstone Report, written by South African Jewish Zionist Richard Goldstone. Despite his Zionist political beliefs, Goldstone went to Gaza and reported on the facts, and they were damning. Israel carried out a disproportionate attack that leveled civilian infrastructure in Gaza, the report concluded, and war crimes were likely committed. But the U.S. effectively blocked any international action on the report.
As WikiLeaks cables reported on by Foreign Policy show , “in the aftermath of Israel’s 2008-2009 intervention into the Gaza Strip, Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, led a vigorous campaign to stymie an independent U.N. investigation into possible war crimes.”
4. The U.S. Political System
There are a couple driving forces people point to explain why U.S. policy is so pro-Israel. And there should be no doubt that one of the reasons, the Israel lobby, has helped push the U.S. towards such a blindingly one-sided policy in favor of Israel.
The Israel lobby works in myriad ways, but one way is its powerful role in the U.S. electoral process. Israel lobby-affiliated donors, some of them Jewish and others Christian Zionists, pour money into the coffers of politicians across the spectrum. These politicians, in turn, put out statements and make policy with the money the received from pro-Israel forces in mind.
And as Israel waged its assault on Gaza over the past week, the U.S. political system has followed this script. Both the House and the Senate passed unanimous resolutions expressing support for Israel’s “inherent right to act in self-defense.” As Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now wrote in The Daily Beast , the Senate resolution “contains no mention of any aspiration to see hostilities end and includes no exhortation for the President to in any way to engage to try to calm the violence or bring about a ceasefire.” Furthermore, Friedman writes, “the Gillibrand-Kirk resolution doesn’t even pay lip service to, or offer even canned language feigning concern for, civilian life on both sides—or even on either side. This is bizarre, given that innocent civilians, including children, have already been killed and injured on both sides, and these numbers are almost certain to grow.”
5. U.S. Media Bias
Israel still enjoys fairly wide support among the U.S. population, though the discourse has slowly changed in recent years. Still, one reason why there remains little outrage among the U.S. population is that the American media they consume is heavily biased towards Israel.
The bias emerged during this latest assault. Many media outlets got the chronology of events wrong as to who started this latest escalation. For example, the Washington Post reported that “the latest round of fighting began Saturday, when militants from a non-Hamas faction fired an antitank missile at an Israeli jeep traveling along the Israel-Gaza border, injuring four Israeli soldiers.” But that ignores the fact that the escalation began when Israeli forces killed a teenage boy, and Palestinian armed factions responded.
CNN also repeated this wrong chronology. As the Arab American Institute pointed out, “CNN chose to begin the story of the latest round of violence in Gaza on November 10th, when 4 Israeli soldiers were wounded by Palestinian fire, and the IDF ‘retaliated’ by killing several Palestinians. But just two days before, a 13 year old Palestinian boy was killed in an Israeli military incursion into Gaza. And a few days before that, a mentally ill Palestinian man was killed and another man was seriously wounded due to Israeli fire . Is there any reason why those couldn’t be the starting point of the ‘cycle of violence’?”
111 are dead in Gaza & hundreds are injured at the hands of not only Israel, but the United States because of its Zionist money & support.
Contractor for Israel’s apartheid wall wins US border contract
March 6, 2014
One of the two lead contractors for Israel’s apartheid wall in the occupied West Bank, Elbit Systems, has won a $145 million contract from the US Department of Homeland Security(DHS) to provide similar systems on the Mexico-US border.
This is the second time Elbit, which tests its technology on Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation, has won a major US border surveillance contract.
SBInet was to provide surveillance and communications technology to increase the US presence on the Mexico-US border. Elbit was subcontracted by Boeing through Kollsman, one of Elbit’s US-based subsidiaries, to provide the project’s camera and radar systems.
Work on the contract halted in 2008 and DHS officially canceled SBInet in January, 2011.
Dividing indigenous land
The new DHS contract calls for “Integrated Fixed Tower systems” that will “assist [Border Patrol] agents in detecting, tracking, identifying and classifying items of interest” along the border. This contract largely reprises Elbit’s role in the Boeing contract. Initial installations will be in Arizona.
Both the US and Israeli projects affirm settler-state partitions of indigenous land: Palestinian land in the Israeli case and Tohono O’odham land in Arizona.
The Tohono O’odham Nation is just one of several indigenous nations facing further partition because of US and Mexican border policies.
And both projects intend to stop the movement of persons under the guise of “security.”
Tested on Palestinians
Elbit tests its technology in Palestine so deployment in an analogous circumstance for the US is unsurprising.
The Elbit Systems of America 2012 promotional video above, for instance, boasts of “Proven Technology, Proven Security” and “10+ years securing the world’s most challenging borders.” Israel began building its apartheid wall in the early 2000s and the structure was declared to be illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.
The video also says Elbit’s technology has been “operationally tested on the US Southwest Border.”
The video shows maps of Arizona and images of human walking through landscape, on military-style displays.
The Arizona border was also the site of a 2004 contract where Elbit provided Hermes 450 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — commonly known as drones — to the Border Patrol in the first significant deployment of UAVs for US border surveillance.
In addition to the US settler state furthering the partition of indigenous land, the DHS contract also affirms anti-Latin@ racism in the relations between the US and Mexico, and is just one example where Elbit and other Israeli firms play roles in “securing” wealthier European borders against migrants from poorer Black and Brown nations.