Participatory evaluation experiences, an opportunity to improve public policies and development programmes

Professor Dr. Esteban Tapella, from the University of San Juan (Argentina), Director of the Work, Environment and Society Studies Programme, expert in public policy evaluation, is carrying out a research stay at the Institute of Development of Universidad Loyola, Fundación ETEA. In the framework of this visit, the seminar “Evaluation and Social Participation: Something in common? Opportunities for cooperation from the Community of Practice and Learning in Participatory Evaluation”.

The research session was attended by researchers from the Development Institute and the Institute for Policy Research for Social Transformation. During the session, coordinated by Dr. María José Vázquez, head of the line of Design and Evaluation of Development Policies and Programmes, Dr. Tapella explained the lines of work and different evaluation practices that EvalParticipativa carries out, with the aim of exploring lines of joint research in the future. Dr. Tapella also showed the evolution that EvalParticipativa has undergone over the last 4 years and different experiences in the field of participatory evaluation in Latin America and the Caribbean, such as the documentary series “Sowing and Harvesting” and the Participatory Evaluation Manual “Sowing and Harvesting”. After a rich debate on the practice of evaluation, an interesting path of collaboration between the University of San Juan and Loyola University is opened, which will allow progress in the promotion of the Evaluation of Public Policies and Development Programmes.

Esteban Tapella holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences with a specialisation in Human Ecology from the National University of Córdoba and a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. He is a specialist in development studies and human ecology (PhD). Professor and researcher at the National University of San Juan (Argentina), director of the Programme for the Study of Labour, Environment and Society (PETAS) and documentary photographer. He currently coordinates the EvalParticipativa initiative, co-financed by the UNSJ and the German Agency for the Evaluation of Cooperation (DEval). He participates in studies in the framework of Nucleo DiverSus, an interdisciplinary research team on diversity and sustainability, on the topics of valuation and social perception of ecosystem services. She is also a member of EvaluAR (Red Argentina de Evaluación) and ReLAC (Red de Monitoreo, Evaluación y Sistematización de América Latina y el Caribe).

Design and evaluation of public policies and development programmes, a key thematic area for Fundación ETEA

The localisation process of the 2030 Agenda is multidisciplinary and, therefore, it must influence and affect all policy areas. To this end, it is important to analyse, understand and assess the effects of policies on development processes at different national and subnational levels and, preferably, in the most vulnerable countries and territories. For this reason, in recent years there has been increasing interest among public and private actors in incorporating the principles of inclusive and sustainable development in their policies and programmes, as well as in knowing the results and impacts, beyond short-term results. Thus, the need to highlight the importance of the evaluation of these agendas and programmes for development arises and an interesting debate is reopened around paradigms, methodologies and instruments for the evaluation and planning of development actions.

The experience of Fundación ETEA, Development Institute of Universidad Loyola, in this field is extensive and long-standing. The design and evaluation of development policies and programmes is one of the four thematic lines of Fundación ETEA. Different theoretical approaches are analysed and applied, especially the evaluation with mixed qualitative-quantitative methods and the impact evaluation of poverty and inequality from a multidimensional approach. In addition to the Development Institute, there are several research groups at the University working in this field, both in the production of doctoral theses and in research and technical assistance projects with international and multilateral development institutions.