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Transcript of Empowerment Evaluation
Empowerment Evaluation Overview
- Empowerment evaluation was introduced to the evaluation community in
- The goal of empowerment evaluation is to shift the power from the
evaluator to the stakeholders involved in the evaluation. With the coaching
and support from the evaluator, the stakeholder’s capacity is increased
towards becoming self-sufficient in conducting their own evaluation work.
- By empowering stakeholders in the evaluation process, it is assumed that
their capacity to critically analyze social problems is enhanced, there’s an
increased awareness and their commitment to program improvement is
stronger, thus more likely to achieve successful and empowering outcomes
to social problems within their communities.
“Empowerment evaluation: An evaluation approach that aims to increase the probability of achieving program success by
• providing stakeholders with tools for assessing the
planning, implementation, and self-evaluation of their
• mainstreaming evaluation as part of the planning and
management of the program/organization.”
Empowerment Evaluation Strengths: Empowering Process
- At the individual and operational level, the empowerment evaluation approach becomes an empowering process that allows for equal collaboration with others, fosters self-empowerment, knowledge development of evaluation skills and for shared leadership and decision-making (Campbell & Miller, 2006).
- It aims at improving existing social policies and programs that ultimately positively impacts community growth. Empowerment evaluation addresses the impact a program has non the larger social system (O’Sullivan, 2012, p. 520).
- Core emphasis is on creating stakeholder buy-in and ownership and becoming active and empowered in the evaluation process – there’s an enhanced notion of control, shift in power dynamics and engagement in decision-making where it was not likely before. In empowerment evaluation, the evaluator is seen as a guide or facilitator, whereas the stakeholders, referred to as ‘partners’ in empowerment evaluation, are the main participants and seen to be ‘in charge’ of the process (O’Sullivan, 2012, p. 520).
Empowerment Evaluation Weaknesses
This approach is very similar in concept to other evaluation approaches that are collaborative in nature, addresses social problems or social justice issues (i.e. transformative or democratic evaluations).
- Criticized for the lack of theorizing the “mechanisms of change”. The approach does not clearly outline the implementation process that will result in program improvement or increased capacity. The link between the shift in power dynamics and how this achieves social justice as well as who the power is being transferred from is not clearly identified (Campbell & Miller, 2006 p. 299).
Lack of Unanimity in Practice
– difficult to differentiate this approach with other evaluation approaches in practice since there are many ways to conduct evaluations. Lack of guidelines regarding what empowerment evaluation consists of in practice.
- It is not always clear what setting or circumstances would benefit the most from using this approach. For example, programs that focuses only on social justice or local community-based programming (Campbell & Miller, 2006).
Lack of Documented Evidence of Success
- over reliance on self-study which can be argued as subjective information
- weak evidence to attribute to empowerment outcomes
- lack of rigour in the evaluation methodology and overall value
Application of Empowerment Evaluation:
(Wandersman et al., 2005, p.28, as cited in Fetterman & Wandersman 2007:186).
teaching stakeholders to conduct and manage their own evaluation work in order to become self-sufficient in future evaluation projects.
stakeholders are seen as active members in the evaluation and therefore ideas, methods and processes are influenced by them.
the evaluator’s role as coach in empowerment evaluation to guide and provide support, knowledge of methods and evaluation processes.
through active participation, it is assumed that the stakeholders have the capacity to make decisions based on their needs, problems and solutions. The evaluator allows the stakeholders to decide the evaluation’s goals and purpose.
Stakeholders develop new evaluation skills that allow them to improve and redefine their future programming.
Five Outcome Based Empowerment Evaluation Principles (Miller & Campbell, 2006)
• Empowerment Evaluation is a tool for social transformation by building stakeholders’ capacity to become self-sufficient in conducting their own evaluation work in order to improve their lives as well as those within their community.
• This approach is useful in evaluation work that pertains to improving social programs that aim at addressing community-level issues, for example, local youth gang prevention program, adult literacy educational programming, evaluations that aim at building community-based organizations; public health programing.
Campbell, R., Miller, R. (2006).
Taking stock of empowerment evaluation:
An empirical review.
American Journal of Evaluation, 27(3),
September 2006 296-319.
Cox, PJ., Keener, D., Woodward, T., Wandersman. (2009). Evaluation
for improvement: A seven step empowerment evaluation
approach. Atlanta (GA): CDC
Fetterman, D., Wandersman, A. (2007) .
Yesterday, today, and tomorrow
. American Journal of Evaluation, 28
O'Sullivan, R. (2012).
Collaborative evaluation within a framework of
stakeholder-oriented evaluation approaches
. Evaluation and Program
Planning, 35(1), 518-522.
Wandersman, A., Snell-Johns, J., Lentz, B. E., Fetterman, D. M.,
Keener,D. C., Livet, M., … Flaspohler, P. (2005).
The Principles of
. In D. M. Fetterman & A. Wandersman
(Eds.), Empowerment Evaluation Principles in Practice (pp.27 –
41).New York: Guilford Press.
These ten principles aim at guiding the empowerment evaluation theoretical framework into practical terms.
by using an empowerment approach, the evaluator tries to assist the stakeholders in achieving success based on the decisions they have make.
– organizations are willing to learn, develop new knowledge, transform and be committed to long term solutions through problem solving and inquiry.
–community has the “right” to make decisions that will impact them. Therefore, stakeholders that have decision-making power throughout the evaluation process will be more willing and engaged.
– stakeholders are included and encouraged to participate in the evaluation work and decision-making process.
stakeholders can make informed decisions based on information that they have access to; therefore it is important to have collaboration, transparency and fairness as part of the evaluation process.
– having a process that is fair, equitable in terms of resource distribution, roles and responsibilities. The evaluator has to ensure that any social inequalities among the stakeholders are managed in order to improve their lives and those within their communities.
Community knowledge –
stakeholders’ knowledge is an essential, useful and valuable source of information that should be shared. The role of the evaluator is to find ways to collect, validate and share this knowledge within the evaluation scope.
s – development of methods and techniques to address social problems and community needs. These methods and techniques would be tailored to the needs of the community and engage stakeholders input.
Capacity building –
main goal of empowerment evaluation is to assist stakeholders in developing the ability to conduct their own evaluation work. The role of the evaluator will decrease as the capacity of the stakeholders increase.
by collecting evaluation findings on the program’s outcomes and processes, accountability can be achieved. Stakeholders are responsible for their evaluation work.
Ten Principles of Empowerment Evaluation
(Wandersman et al., 2005)
"Empowerment Evaluation"(37:24). A Lecture by David Fetterman,
uploaded by My M & E. 2011.youtube.com/watch?v=YNjiukpLZPw
Fetterman, D. & Wandersman, A. (eds.) (2012).
Empowerment evaluation: Principles in practice
. Guilford Press.
Edu 5299:Program Evaluation
Alternative Approaches to Evaluation
"Empowerment Evaluation in Japan" (3:35)
Uploaded by David Fetterman, Jan. 2012
Components of Empowerment Evaluation
~ David Fetterman
of Empowerment Evaluation
7 Steps for Hiring an Empowerment Evaluator
Hiring a good empowerment evaluator is a significant step towards establishing on going practice of evaluation in your practice.
Evaluation for improvement = Empowerment evaluation.
1. Preparing for hiring process: engage stakeholders
2. Write an appropriate job announcement
3. Finding potential empowerment evaluators. Finding them could useful if some techniques guided by the EMPOWER program.
4. Assessing candidates. They can be assessed according to the organization's goals on evaluation practices.
5. Writing an evaluation contract
6. Building your relationship with the empowerment evaluator.
7. Assessing and sustaining the evaluation. Work to ensure that your organization results are used to improve your organization evaluation capacity and particular strategy evaluated.