The metaphor of the "mirror", constitutes the central theme for this guide to self evaluation [SE] prepared by the evaluation service of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation [SDC]. The "mirror of SE" refers to "a multitude of tools and methods which provide a critical and constructive analysis of our own activities and their consequences". Unlike external evaluation, a SE is always designed to "illuminate" one's own area of responsibility to help find possible improvements. 18 practical examples of SE are introduced in chapter 2, which are divided into three main groups; Externally initiated SE; SE involving partners; and Autonomous SE - which occurs entirely independently of outside influence (the key case study given in the latter group is the SE deployed in the Federation of Senegalese NGOs in Senegal, 1989). In chapters 3 and 4 respectively, an "analysis" and "valuation" of these case studies is carried out, with 8 "fundamental questions" providing the framework for discussion [questions include; "what is being evaluated?", "How is success being measured?", "who are the participants?", "how can SE be implemented?"] In chapter 5 the analytical concept of the "wheel with 8 spokes" is introduced as a specific approach through which SE can be conceptualised and put into practice. Although no mention of PRA is made, this guide does provide some relevant and stimulating discussion which is based around the large number of case studies. Certainly, the 56 arguments - or "excuses" - listed on p.32, which "are used to evade an SE" are equally likely to be employed with reference to the use of PRA methods for M&E. (61 pp)
This 'working guide' may be of interest to those managers and fieldwork staff who wish to explore some of the more theoretical debates surrounding the use of self evaluation. The case study descriptions provide a useful baseline from which discussion can be generated.
Swiss Agency for Development and Co-Operation