Evaluations Done by Communities: A Practical Assessment from the NGO Sector

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This paper examines participatory evaluation in projects of the NGO PLAN International in Senegal. Through brief case studies it compares the viability of PRA evaluations in urban and rural contexts, and reflects upon the extent to which the methods can be used to reach the least advantaged groups in the communities. A number of criteria are used in assessing PRA as an evaluation tool: limited dependence ono external facilitators; replicability; community 'buy-in' to the process; adaptability to local time constraints; broad participation; reliability of data; turn-around time from data collection to use. The author concludes that PRA is problematic in urban settings if a 'community' is assumed in the same way as in rural areas. Some aspects for improvement (e.g. need to be more focused, and to prevent it from being appropriated by certain groups to the exclusion of others) are discussed.

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