Using Appreciative Enquiry As An Evaluative Tool: A Case Study on an African Project for Street Children.
This interesting article describes how the author sought to show how an appreciative inquiry technique can be used to embed a self evaluation process in an organisation that caters for the needs of street children in Africa. The paper describes using a narrative style the findings of a three day workshop using this methodology. Appreciative Inquiry works by highlighting the organisations best practice which is then used as a bench mark for all the practitioners to assess their own performance. Several problems existed within the specific context in which this workshop was held which would influence the evaluation. These problems were promptly identified by the author and listed as being as follows; i) the contrast between the rhetoric of democracy and participation on the one hand and the reality of an authoritarian style leadership on the other, ii) the great diversity in the formal education and training levels of the participants, iii) the bias that existed in the organisation which favoured the caring/counselling role but left a gap in the administrative and finance functions and iv) what was described by the author as a kind of 'corporate introspection' where the organisation and it's participants felt undervalued by the donor communities because of the nature of their work. The key technique utilised by the appreciative inquiry methodology was that of story telling and PRA style mapping. The events of the workshop are clearly described in this paper which is generally refreshingly simple in it's style.