New TrainEval module ‘Systemic approaches to conducting evaluations’ 18.-20.September 2013 in Brussels

AGEG Consultants eG offer this training module in response to the needs and challenges stated above. It is complementary to the TrainEval advanced training programme for evaluation in development. The three-day module at hand is aimed at evaluators with evaluation experience who wish to expand their set of skills with regard to complex interventions.

Systemic approaches to conducting evaluations are playing an increasingly important role. They are particularly useful for dealing with complex settings with multiple stakeholders and levels as well as divers impact paths that require rethinking and the reframing of realities and assumptions. Systemic approaches can help to understand the world in its diversity and provide a broader picture without losing sight of the various components and their interconnectedness.

Evaluations based on systems concepts generate rich descriptions of realities based on multiple perspectives. They can capture multiple relationships and take account of uncertainties that are often associated with intertwined change processes. In this way evaluations assist in generating a deeper meaning and understanding, which in turn allow decisions for subsequent action to be taken on the basis of broader information.
The systems field also offers a range of specific methods that evaluators can use in order to visualise and analyse dynamic or non-linear relationships, e.g.

  1. (a) between causes and effects,
  2. (b) to work with various perspectives to overcome differences in viewpoints,
  3. (c) to distinguish between intervention and context (and their inter-dependencies),
  4. (d) to reflect on the implications of these boundaries.

The systems field is, however, big in terms of methodological variety, and evaluators are often uncertain as to how to start or what approaches to use in their evaluation practice. Also, they might only be familiar with one systems approach and its associated methods and may, as a result, feel tempted to address a given situation with their particular approach or method rather than exploring the wider systems field for more appropriate tools. This training module focuses on providing guidance to match systems methods and evaluation questions appropriately, based on three generic systems concepts.

Benefits

– You will get to know core systems concepts and understand their potential implication for evaluations as well as their limitations.
– You will expand your repertoire as regards concepts and methods that are particularly suited for dealing with complexity, uncertainty and change.
– You will pick up details about selected methods, e.g. analysing dynamic relationships or dealing with various perspectives.
– You will be enabled to apply these methods in your evaluation work by testing them on concrete cases (preferably coming from participants’ own practice).
– You will learn about specific aspects in applying systems approaches to evaluations in the area of international development.

Content

Day 1: ‘Basics’
– Some fundamental notions and ideas from Systems Theory and Systems
Thinking
– Three core systems concepts for evaluators (inter-relationships, perspectives, boundaries)
– Elements of being systemic (be reflective, think circular, build on self
organisation).

Day 2: ‘Applying selected methods’
– Presentation of selected methods for each of the core systems concepts
– Tests of these methods on concrete cases (preferably coming from participants’ own practice)
– Reflection on the experience gained with these test applications and drawing conclusions for the use of systemic methods.

Day 3: ‘Specific aspects for International Development’
– Systemic approaches and their relation to Logical Framework and Logic Models
– Application of systemic approaches with evaluations of impact
– Systemic approaches and their relation to DAC evaluation criteria

Trainer: Richard Hummelbrunner

Richard Hummelbrunner is a senior associate of OEAR Regionalberatung with more than 30 years of professional experience as consultant and evaluator in the fields of regional and international development. In recent years he has pioneered learning – oriented evaluation styles which incorporate concepts and methods derived from systems thinking. He has provided training on systems as well as evaluation to private organisations and public authorities in several European countries. Lately he co-authored several books on the subject, among them, for example, a German language manual on systems methods (‚Instrumente systemischen Handelns’ Rosenberger Fachverlag 2009), ‘Beyond Logframe’ (FASID, 2010) and ‘Systems Concepts in Action’ (Stanford University Press, 2011).

Investment

Additional module (not part of complete programme): 990 EUR
The course fee covers the training itself, the training documents, training facilities & equipment and coffee breaks. Accommodation and meals are not included and need to be booked directly by the participants.

Further information:
AGEG Consultants eG, Mrs Bettina Nasgowitz Tel.: 07021-97087-17, Fax: 07021-97087-9,
www.traineval.org

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