Here are some basic evaluation guidelines that will guide you through your program’s evaluation process:
• Reflect early and often – Be sure to structure formal group reflection and evaluation activities at key points throughout the program. Try to make ‘reflection’ a daily habit rather than an end-of-project chore.
• Provide a positive and supportive environment – Ensure that participants feel that their opinions matter and that they can say what they feel without risk. As a reminder, they are not obligated to respond.
• Criticize constructively – Start evaluation by talking about the program’s good points. After the positive things have been highlighted, discuss program weaknesses and areas in need of improvement. What could have been done differently to make the project more effective?
• Foster creativity – Engage participants in reflection and evaluation through creative activities such as role plays, drawings, and games. These creative outlets can help program participants to think about what the program has achieved and how things could be done differently.
• Apply the lessons learned – Document the suggestions and lessons learned through the reflection and evaluation process and try to implement suggested changes in your program as soon as possible.
(Guidelines were adapted from “Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth: A Manual for Participation,” by David Driskell.)