Any quest for social transformation works within a frame of uncertainty, and often requires enormous leaps at the front end to find a way forward.
To find this way, people have to put their trust in each other, to shape the journey as they go along.
In order to effectively change systems which have oppressed and marginalized members of society, to change the organizations which advocate for a different, more equitable world, and to work within the confines of systems that have built-in structures which perpetuate racism, evaluators must be able to work with leaders and communities to determine what is working, what needs more work, and what the next steps are.
These leaders and communities need is evaluation that is aligned with their values and far-reaching visions, the complexity of contexts in which they work, and the emergent and organic process of development that inevitably occurs. They need evaluation to be collaborative, build capacity and put a strong emphasis on trusting and the building of relationships at the same time harnessing critical inquiry, count what's countable and situate community initiatives in relevant literatures to distinguish their contributions.
For these reasons, we believe developmental evaluation skills are relevant, necessary and important for evaluators playing a role for systems change that supports increased social justice and equity.
Explore these resources to understand the need for DE:
Books and Articles
What Works, Tangata Whenua Community and Voluntary Sector Research Center, 2015