Debbie Schmulewitz is the evaluation guru of the International Mosaic Committee. She lives in Buenos Aires where she works for an Non Governmental Organisation. She enjoys exploring bookstores, consuming chocolate, and multi-tasking.
So here is the deal, I (Debbie) will try to explain why is it that I find evaluation hot and if we are all lucky I will be able to inspire and convince you of the benefits of good evaluation. In the best case scenario, by the end of this post, you will also find evaluation sexy.
For the last year and a half my brain has been in evaluation mode. I joined the International Mosaic Committee with a specific task: working on the design of a program evaluation. And despite what you might expect, it’s been a very exciting and challenging time.
This task inspired me in different ways: Coming up with strategies for global evaluation has been exciting. This is something that we as a committee have been doing for a long time, because our project proposal forms work also as a project report form. This means we're always collecting information about the projects that take place. I had the opportunity of re-thinking what we do with that information. I had to figure out what information was the most important, considering not only Mosaic projects, but also the committee and our work. I had to get in touch with everyone in thec committee and included their priorities. I had to weigh every aspect involved in the process and come up with indicators that would allow us to measure our impact or success.
It’s been a very long process. To be exact, a year and a half. And the work is not over. Now, the time to process data has come. And it is tougher than I thought it would be. I was sure, such a big, worldwide organization as CISV would have good data processing systems--but apparently I was wrong. I’m doing a huge amount of data collecting, and its hell of a job. Still I’m willing to do so. If you're thinking I'm a bit crazy, you might be right!
So why would I do this, you might be asking yourselves? Why would someone who has many other CISV tasks, a job, friends, and a life, spend so much time and energy in managing a global evaluation initiative? Why would someone keep on working when the work is challenging? And the answer might be that I truly believe in what we, as an organization, do. And a better answer would be that I love Mosaic, and after being involved in CISV for over 10 years, I’m convinced Mosaic is the best path. And a more accurate answer would be this: I want the rest of CISV International to believe this as well.
I am excited about the possibility of sharing what we have been doing: the growth and success rates Mosaic has had over the past few years. But more important, I want Mosaic to keep on growing, and for that we must know where we have been successful and where improvements are needed. This is why we evaluate.
Measuring Mosaic is not easy, and many aspects are involved. It's not over yet. the committee is still working on having its evaluation finished by this August. Having worked on designing a global evaluation has been a huge challenge, and has made me revalue the role and the importance of evaluation. Evaluating is a great educational process, a process needed if we want to keep on growing.
I’m not sure if I had been able to transmit the hotness involved in evaluation, but I would be happy if these lines have inspired you somehow, or made you re-think the role evaluation has as an educational process itself. Evaluation might be the answer for many of our questions.
If you are interested in volunteering with Mosaic's global evaluation intiative, please contact the International Moasic Committee. Debbie would love to hear from you.