Debating the results agenda: Three asides

Three asides to my last post

a) I hate the logframe. Working in an NGO, I often despaired about the blind love that donors showered on it. In my masters degree at IRMA, we had a course that taught and tested us in creating hypothetical logframes. At work, my general experience was that people complied by putting into numbers and measures, all that did and did not make sense. I am sure donors knew it – there was the mandatory back and forth with proposals, especially the logframe pages. Consultants who held forth on the difference between goals, objectives, strategies, outputs and outcomes prospered. In the end, logframes would end up as products the implementing NGO didn’t really own – it was more a reporting tool than a planning tool. But nobody cared that much once it was signed off on – just another check-box ticked off, I guess.

b) In the RCT world here, we will all agree whole-heartedly when Ros says – 

End-of-project evaluations are no substitute for continuous learning and adaptation of approach

– although we may differ on what our preferred method is to foster ‘continuous learning and adaptation’ for particular projects. Since both pieces are being idealistic, I am going to be idealistic as well in hoping that this is a difference that can be bridged and implementers and researchers will agree to be question-driven rather than method-driven and will find ways to cooperate more often than compete.

c) Many years back, Robert Chambers and colleagues led the ‘participation revolution’. There was later, a push-back and a book, “Participation: the new tyranny?“, edited by Bill Cooke and Uma Kotharifollowed by a book “Participation: From Tyranny to Transformation? Exploring New Approaches to Participation in Development“, Hickey, Samuel and Giles Mohan (eds.). In a review of the latter, Chambers concludes –

From Tyranny to Transformation does not explore the full span of potentials and applications on that frontier, but does a service in summarising much recent experience, and doing this in a manner which is variously provocative, critical and balanced. It deserves to be widely read and reflected on by those who are engaged in and concerned with participation

A different subject, but see parallels to where this debate might be headed?

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