August 20, 2023 — by Elizabeth McGee
On August 18, 2023, from 12-3pm ET, Elizabeth led a workshop on Reducing Harm in Evaluation Practices as part of AEA Summer Learning Series.
Evaluation has played a crucial role in shaping policies and programs, but conventional approaches often fail to address. The harm caused by systemic oppressions and biases. In a recent webinar at American Evaluation Association (AEA) titled “Reducing Harm in Evaluation,”. We explored practical strategies to transform evaluation practices and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) principles. Led by Elizabeth McGee, a community psychologist and experienced evaluation consultant, this session provided hands-on tips to identify and challenge harmful assumptions. While incorporating more radical approaches into our work.
- Recognizing the Limits and Harm of Conventional Evaluation: We began by acknowledging the limitations and harm associated with traditional evaluation methods. Conventional approaches often perpetuate biases and systemic oppressions, particularly impacting marginalized communities. By understanding these shortcomings. We laid the foundation for more inclusive and transformative evaluation practices.
- Embracing Radical Approaches Grounded in DEIJ Principles: During the webinar, participants explored the importance of adopting radical approaches to evaluation that prioritized DEIJ principles. We discussed practical tips to identify individual biases and systemic oppressors that hinder progress. By centering diverse voices and perspectives, we aimed to challenge traditional evaluation practices and create meaningful change.
- Hands-On Tips for Harm Reduction and Healing: The bulk of the training session delved into specific topics related to harm reduction and healing in evaluation work. We discussed harm risk assessment, harm acknowledgment, harm reduction strategies. And the concepts of healing and restorative work. Participants learned how to integrate complex tools such as the Community Harm Risk Assessment Review Board (CHRARB). and the Community Harm Risk Assessment (CHRA) into their daily evaluation practice.
- Drawing inspiration from Intersectional Feminism, Community Psychology, and Indigenous Evaluation Methods. We explored the benefits of incorporating these ground-breaking methods. These approaches challenge power dynamics, prioritize marginalized experiences, and center Indigenous worldviews. By critically examining assumptions, power dynamics, and the distribution of resources, we aimed to create more equitable and inclusive evaluations.
- Trauma-Informed Practices in Evaluation: The webinar also covered trauma-informed evaluation practices as a way to create safer evaluation environments. Strategies such as obtaining consent, providing content warnings, identifying trauma responses. Creating safety plans, and thoughtfully ending all evaluation stages were discussed. By prioritizing the well-being and safety of participants, evaluators could ensure a more respectful and inclusive process.
Participants in the webinar engaged with relevant topics in the evaluation and actively contributed to critical discussions. Elizabeth McGee, an experienced expert in the field, provided valuable insights and practical guidance for reducing harm in evaluation work. The webinar aligned with the professional competencies outlined by the AEA. And emphasized inclusiveness, diversity, and culturally responsive evaluation practices. By incorporating radical approaches grounded in DEIJ principles, attendees gained knowledge and tools to create meaningful change in their evaluation practices.
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