Looking at the Big Picture in Evaluation

Cross posted from the Learning Portal for DM&E for Peacebuilding

“Peace requires that many people work at many levels in different ways, and, with all this work, you cannot tell who is responsible for what.”[1]

In order to understand peace and development processes more broadly, experience has shown that we need to look beyond micro-level successes to achieve and “add up” to peace. Although many people do, indeed, work at many levels and conduct good programs at each level, these programs do not automatically “add up” to peace! Successful programs and activities to achieve overall peace-at the macro level (frequently referred to as “Peace Writ Large”) do not solely depend on a single implementing agency or donor, other factors beyond the scope of evaluated activity are key drivers to results and outcomes. [2] Measuring contribution to “Peace Writ Large” is extremely difficult, “as most peacebuilding programs are discrete efforts aimed at affecting one (often small) piece of the puzzle, and no one project can do everything.”[3]

So how do we “add up” to peace?

Hot Resource! Evaluating Impact in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Programs by Mark M. Rogers

Hot Resource! Reflecting On Peace Practice (RPP) by CDA Collaborative Learning Projects

The Reflecting on Peace Practice Project (RPP) is an experience-based learning process that involves agencies whose programs attempt to prevent or mitigate violent conflict. Its purpose is to analyze experience at the individual program level across a broad range of agencies and contexts. Its goal is to improve the effectiveness of international peacebuilding efforts.

Put it in Play! Practitioner Resource: The RPP Matrix: A Tool for Comparing Strategies for Affecting “Peace Writ Large”

  • What is it? A four-cell matrix that analyzes program strategies in several dimensions
  • How? Analyzes different approaches of peace work, who is being engaged and what type of change is being sought

Key Findings:

  • All activities are based essentially on one of two approaches related to who needs to be engaged for peace: More People Approaches or Key People Approaches
  • All programs work for two basic kinds of change: Individual/Personal Change and/or Socio-Political Change

Put it in Play! Practitioner Resource: RPP Matrix Plus: A Tool for Showing how Conflict Analysis, Peace Writ Large and Theories Of Change Fit Together.

  • What is it?  A tool to build effective peacebuilding strategies consider the links between conflict analysis and Peace Writ Large, program goals, and program activities and have an explicit Theory of Change and program theory/theories
  • How?  Establishing robust peacebuilding goals and testing Theories of Change

And the best part is that the RPP matrix can be used in any evaluation approach! You might consider using it particularly for program-level evaluations – or, if you are a funder, portfolio/country/funding mechanism-level evaluations!  

Megan O’Hare works with the Institutional Learning Team at Search for Common Ground. Views expressed herein do not represent SFCG, the Learning Portal or its partners or affiliates.

[1] CDA Inc., Reflecting on Peace Practice Project Manual, p. 13, accessed 16 January 2013,http://dmeforpeace.org/sites/default/files/CDA_RPP%20Manual.pdf; emphasis added.

[2] OECD DAC, Guidance on Evaluating Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Activities, 2008, p. 49.

[3] CDA Inc., Reflecting on Peace Practice Project Manual, p. 13, accessed 16 January 2013,http://dmeforpeace.org/sites/default/files/CDA_RPP%20Manual.pdf; emphasis added.

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Tags: adding, conflict, evaluation, large, methodology, peace, peacebuilding, rpp, transformation, up, More…writ


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Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on January 23, 2013 at 1:50pm

Greetings! Thanks for your blog. Its very useful especially the document on reflection. 

I work as Knowledge Share facilitator with the project Engendering Policy through Evaluation. We have just set up an online community to share and exchange on gender and evaluation. I  cordially invite you to join and exchange. The link is http://gendereval.ning.com/


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