I had a comment about last week’s post on Sustainability and Evaluation. I will share it here. I wonder what you readers think of this comment:
In preventive health/health promotion, ‘sustainability’ has generally been used to indicate that the intervention program, or elements of it, or benefits of it, are continued beyond the life of the funded program. It is about extending the value of the investment in a program, beyond the life of the funded program. So it’s about a legacy, about the continuation of things achieved, about leaving things, circumstances or communities better off than when you first arrived (more empowered, more resourceful, more able to continue improvements on their own).
I wonder how that fits with the definitions I provided? Is this a different sustainability? Does it speak to the future generations? Does that include equity and justice?
Not knowing what to post today, I turned to Scriven’s book, Evaluation Thesaurus. It is a wealth of information on all (or almost all) things evaluation. The page to which I opened listed the “phenomenonology of evaluation” and “philanthropic foundations”. I will summarize.
Phenomenonology of evaluation (pg. 262) is related to the psychology of evaluation. Scriven lists “certain highly functional aspects” of evaluating or being evaluated that include 1) “refocusing”; 2) “intimate interplay between the creative, critical, and data-gathering aspects of evaluation”; 3) “role of empathy”. He also lists dysfunctional aspects, such as “the perceptions that taking account of evaluations amounts to i) conceding lack of competence, or ii)conceding power to the evaluator.” He suggests that the reader see “Goal-free evaluation.”
Philanthropic foundations (pg 262) talks about evaluations for those foundations that do philanthropic work. He provides a history (albeit brief) and justifications for evaluations conducted in foundations (contractual and fairness obligations). He goes on to list areas “that need evaluation and not necessarily professional evaluations”. He indicates that “evaluations of funded projects…fall into three maj0r categories of benefit: i) help for the recipients in achieving their goals; iiensuring accountability to donors’ wishes; and iii)improving cost-effectiveness.