Systematization and Evaluation of Networks: A learning process
“...To know step by step, in advance, how the goals will be attained [is] an approach doomed to failure in the complex and rapidly changing world in which social innovators attempt to work…. In highly emergent complex environments, such prior specification is neither possible nor desirable because it constrains openness and adaptability”.
Quoted in Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed.
Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Patton.
Networks oriented to social changes are forms of non-linear dynamic organisations that operate in complex and evolving environments. In addition, the changes an organisation seek to generate depend on a multiplicity of actions and decision-making processes and, when the former processes effectively occur, networks simply contribute to those ends in a indirect manner.
Conventional evaluation systems are based on input-output models, aimed at measuring success related to predefined measurable Outcomes that do not simply fit into the nature and intrinsic characteristic of Networks. However, and if used, such conventional approaches limit their innovation, adaptation and flexibility scope and potential capacities of such Networks. In this view, Networks also need to know what is working out fine or not in this working process, evaluate in the long run what changes have been achieved as to gather valuable and credible information oriented to decision-making on future prospects as well as information for accountability purposes.
In conclusion, for the evaluation of networks it is necessary to apply new approaches as to be able to reflect the inherent complex, open and dynamic reality in which a network must work, as well as the changes they do contribute to generate, through the participation and learning of all social actors involved
Source: Adaptation of “Evaluating the Effects of International Advocacy Networks”.
Ricardo Wilson-Grau, 2007.
Our services will help you to:
· Evaluations of long term Networking processes (5 year-frameworks or more).
· Systematise Network processes using participatory processes (such as the most significant change technique) as to allow for collection of experiences and lessons learnt, and create learning materials to be further shared among social movements, CSOs, and other social actors in general.
· Outreach the systematised work with communication-friendly tools such as: participatory video, publications, exhibitions, visual thinking, visual mapping, web tools, etc.
Illustration of Gabriela Bonilla. IEAL.
MOVIMIENTO DE MUJERES MESOAMERICANAS EN RESISTENCIA
LATIN AMERICAN WOMEN EDUCATION WORKERS NETWORK
Within the frame of the Agreement between Mundubat/Cooperacció with AECID funding, and under the strategic line of public awareness raising, UBORA was asked to systematise the 10 years of networking experience of a feminist network called: “Mujeres Mesoamericanas en Resistencia por una vida Digna”. This social movement consists of more than 70 organizations from six countries of Mesoamerica. It articulates itself in a diverse, autonomous and formative political space, in resistance to neoliberal policies and the patriarchal system.
The Most Significant Change methodology was applied, allowing for consideration of the most significant changes in the history of their collective struggle from the experiences of women who played leading roles in bringing about these changes. A working group was created, working hard for nearly 9 months. A regional workshop was organized in July 2013 in Guatemala and subsequent meetings were also held in different countries to facilitate collective recognition of the key changes achieved. The whole process was recorded in a video.
UBORA was responsible for providing the methodological support and the facilitation of this process as well as the coordination, systematisation and edition of the documentary video. Additional 17 shorter video-interviews were also made with key women in the social movement of the “Mesoamericanas”.
This provided an opportunity to celebrate the most important milestones over the history of the movement and capture the most significant changes visually, thus making it known to other feminist movements.
The “Red de Trabajadoras de la Educación de América Latina” is a strategy of training, dialogue, action-oriented, shared reflection and meeting point led by the Regional Committee of the International Union for Education in Latin America and its affiliated associations. It was established in 2005 with the aim to facilitate the contribution of these affiliated associations to these path of common and shared reflection towards the formulation of institutional policies oriented to equalise the inequalities in opportunities that women have historically faced in the region. Through regional and sub-regional meetings, this Network generates shared spaces intended for education workers as to achieve better political and organisational capacities as trade union leaders in union- related issues aimed at fostering a major empowerment and effective political participation as well as more and better tools for their lobby & advocacy role vis-à-vis their respective unions.
In this view, and with the aim to identify both the intended and unintended outcomes and changes towards a more gender-oriented unionism of their member organisations and affiliates, the “Red de Trabajadoras de la Educación de América Latina” conducted the Final external evaluation across its lifespan (2005-2015).
To this end, UBORA used an approach aimed at capturing the most significant outcomes / changes generated in their member and affiliated union organisations as well as the effective contribution of their core processes and strategies when networking. This particular approach was thus combined with other complementary methodologies (most significant change, outcome harvesting and capacity works) as to better capture the nature and complexity of this networking process.
The evaluation generated evidences that allowed for embracing the worthiness and value of the outcomes identified by the Red de Trabajadoras de la Educación throughout this period, thus permitting to formulate strategic proposals in the near future on gender equity in the region.
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