We took on Formative evaluation from the comfort of our couches: as the world got flooded with restrictions connected to the spread of the new coronavirus, EU-FRANK, MPI Europe and EASO worked out a plan to adapt a 1,5 day workshop to an online format in order to keep up the current series on Monitoring and Evaluation.
Making fast decisions to ensure that proper preparation was possible and thinking outside the box to promote interaction were key in bringing the workshop to life. To replace the interactive carousel with experts in the field, interviews with these experts were pre-recorded in podcast format. Participants were given the chance to ask questions beforehand, and both large and minor group sessions were planned, as well as the possibility of follow-up activities.
The topic of the workshop, formative evaluations, had much to offer. The possibility to create evaluation systems early on in an intervention and take advantage of the real-time feedback loop for quick adjustments is something that many States are interested in as they go into new phases of their resettlement program. Learning to use these tools has become increasingly important as more and more countries want to support programmes and changes with evidence, which was confirmed as well by the great attendance of the workshop - 40 participants from 11 countries and organisations.
The workshop had of course its challenges, as with any learning experiment. Connections were lost and one session had to be terminated prematurely, some participants had to rejoin the meeting several times and others joined by phone through someone else in the room. Making these changes requires preparedness and patience, but they also provide much learning for future opportunities. EU-FRANK looks forward to keep on innovating and maintaining active throughout this spring as the project draws to a close.
Author: Gabriela Prado