Many development organizations are doing advocacy. This advocacy has to be evaluated, not only for accountability reasons, but also for learning.
Advocacy evaluation is complex. Organizations run into big challenges. The Narrative Assessment has the ambition to overcome these challenges to improve the quality of this process.
To start, good advocacy work comes from great practical judgement and the ability to manoeuvre and act upon complex and changing situations. Available evaluation methods do not succeed to show or assess the quality of advocacy work in a sensible way.
A second challenge is data. In available methods, being largely rigorous comes down to providing high-quality and objective data. But it seems that this data is often not available or not accessible. Plus, the fact that digging seriously into documentation may take up an entire evaluation budget.
A third challenge is that available methods are mainly focused on reporting outcomes. Which is a lot of content without meaning. For example, big disconnected descriptions that fail to convey the meaning of achievements. This type of information also doesn’t contribute much to learning. The challenge here is how to make evaluation contribute to understanding and future success.
Narrative Assessment seeks to address these challenges and make advocacy evaluation realistic, achievable and much more substantial. It is a result of reflection and search for innovative solutions for advocacy evaluation. We want to develop an evaluation methodology that has an impact on the nature of advocacy work and the challenges of evaluation. For now, Narrative Assessment is a theory only and ready to kick-off. Wageningen University & Research and Hivos are joining hands to effectively bring together theory and practice. Our goal is to translate the ideas into a widely usable, practical and inspiring method.