Evaluation Forms and their Application Essay Example

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Evaluation Forms and their Application

  1. Introduction

This assignment is specifically focused on community building and health promotion in El Guante and other villages in Honduras, Central America. Studies conducted in poor rural communities in this country suggest that the population of over 3,559 are living in harsh social and economic condition consequential to sanitation and hygiene problems (Raeburn et al, 2007). The selected forms for this evaluation are clarificative and impact evaluation. The choice of clarificative evaluation is influenced by the need to analyse the logic and relevance of the current government community building and health promotion in the region while impact evaluation aims to determine the effectiveness of such programs in terms of life improvement and health outcomes.

  1. First Form – Clarificative Evaluation

John Owen’s clarificative evaluation form is generally intended to resolve issues arising from poor designed programs due to lack of adequate knowledge or evidence regarding the actual needs of the community. It other words it can greatly help in the conceptualization of appropriate interventions and achievement of required outcomes (Owen, 2006). In the case of El Guante and other nearby villages, clarificative evaluation can help identify the root of inhabitants’ continuous geographical dispersion and high incidence of sickness and other hygiene related health problems. For instance, clarifying and understanding the rationale behind the current government programmes that are centred on providing complete medical services and integrated family-community approach can greatly improve evaluation and measurement of programme effectiveness. It can also help identify areas that needs modification or critical issues that may be ignored or given less weight during programme planning (Raeburn et al, 2007).

Knowledge acquired through clarificative evaluation may be used to refine the logic of the program or clarify the relationship between community resources and their lifestyle and health practices. It can be very useful in identifying which services should be added or given priority in the intervention programme. More importantly, complete knowledge of the current intervention or community building and health promotion programme such as legitimacy of its underpinning, goals and objectives, and beliefs can greatly improve estimation of its future worth in terms of quality and consistency of services, improved nutritional lifestyle, personal and domestic hygiene, reproductive and sexual health, environmental awareness, and overall community well-being (Owen 2006; Raeburn et al, 2007).

Although there have been proactive guidance and strategic alliances between communities and other organizations, it is not clear if these initiatives are products of systematic planning or mere actions to meet political imperatives. For instance, the 2004 agreement between the country’s Ministry of Health and the communities does not include specific community building initiatives such as livelihood and infrastructure. In fact, it is more centred on providing medical attention or promoting health in a community beleaguered by poverty (Raeburn et al, 2007). Clarificative evaluation can identify and explain the role and contributions of these entities as well as reducing the complexity of the program outcomes by recognizing which or who is really contributing to the welfare of the community and facilitating consensus. For instance, some entities may be trying to achieve unrealistic goals or objectives that are different from what other units is trying to achieve that may either result to inadequacies or excessive amount of same services (Owen, 2006).

  1. Second Form – Impact Evaluation

In relation to the first form, impact evaluation can determine the effectiveness of the community building and health programmes in El Guante and nearby villages. Initiatives based on the case study conducted by Raeburn et al. (2007) include establishments of health clinics, education programmes for health and nutrition, hygiene and awareness of the environment, training courses, and promotional visits to high risk inhabitants (p.88). However, the outcomes of the programmes are not clear and generalise as “improving health and lifestyles” and providing “high quality, efficient, and highly humane medical treatment to all the population” after two years of implementation (ibid, p.88). The impact of such programmes was never measured in terms of the prevailing social and economic conditions. In fact, there was no mention about reduced geographical dispersion, lowered incidence of sickness, reproduction and population control which undoubtedly are the main contributors of poverty.

Impact evaluation can shed light on the actual outcome of the programme such changes in beliefs, attitude towards health and reproduction, improvement in sanitation and hygiene practices, resources used for the programme, and overall programme worth. Moreover, aside from measuring the impact of the programme, such evaluation can generate important information regarding the performance of various programme components (Owen, 2006). For instance, although it may be successful in general, there is still a possibility that some components are not working very well or performing below the required level. In the case of El Guante community building and health promotion, the absence of economic improvement in the study is likely due to failure of some components associated with community building programmes.

In a need-based impact evaluation, the worth of the existing programme can be measured by the identified need (Owen 2006) which in this case is economic improvement to support a healthy lifestyle. Although this problem was mentioned early in the study, it was never mentioned in the outcome. There is thus some doubt on the validity of claims that “effective social development programme management is being achieved” (Raeburn et al., 2007, p.88) since there is no indication of specific livelihood programmes, job creation strategies, and others. Similarly, if the evaluator will use an objective-based approach, the program will also have difficulty showing what exactly they have achieved in terms of community building. This is because such approach to impact evaluation will generally look for evidence how the programme goals were achieved (Owen, 2006).

  1. Analysis and Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, there seems some confusion in the planning and implementation of El Guante community building and health promotions. What seems to be missing is the ‘capacity’ in community building agenda and as evidence by the details of the study conducted by Raeburn et al. (2007), health and lifestyle are given more emphasis in the outcome. According to Langille et al. (2008), community capacity building in collaborative initiatives associated with rural health and sustainability entails complex measurement since there are three levels of capacity building involved – individual, organisational, and community. Such initiative often involves a wide range of stakeholders thus effective collaboration is the key determinant of its success. Moreover, unlike the case study in El Guante, community capacity building is more about social cohesion focusing on economic performance within community development. In general, measurement or evaluation of such initiative is subject to the complexity of the concept itself and difficulty of identifying processes put together on shared ownership (p.28).

Understanding the complexity of community capacity building and health promotion strategy, the World Health Organisation recommended impact evaluation as the method of measurement to ensure that changes social cohesion, participation, health and environment awareness, lifestyle, risk factors are measured (WHO, 2004). However, effective evaluation particularly with this type of community programme requires time, resources, and expertise otherwise it may result to capturing only a handful of impact. Moreover, given that the above requirements are met, use of appropriate evaluation methodology is also critical. This is because the chosen evaluation method must match the nature of the programme otherwise it would result to unrealistic measurement and value of the programme (Petersen & Kwan 2004, p.319-329).

Since the nature of the chosen sector requires both clarificative and impact evaluation for reasons mentioned earlier, the primary issues that may encountered include flaws in programme design, the goals and its relevance to the present outcome, identification of various programme elements and its relevance, completeness of documents to be analysed, understanding the relationships of various stakeholders and their interest in the programme, and exhaustive analysis on how the concept can or lead to certain outcome. For instance, applying an objective-based approach may require the evaluator to painstakingly examine policy and programme related documents to find the actual objectives of programme. Moreover, the evaluator may have to collect, identify, and analyse the sources of evidence to check for consistency between programme goals and outcome variables (Owen, 2006).

Community capacity building and health promotion is undoubtedly a very complex endeavour thus issues in evaluation may be expected at the earliest stage. For instance, in conceptualization and programme design alone, assessment on the evaluability of the programme may be required to ensure measurable outcomes. The difficulty may be doubled if stakeholders’ interest and perception of expected outcomes varies considerably since they should be considered separately. At the later stage of the programme, issues such as compliance of the implementation procedures to the programme plan, the level of outcome compared to the programme’s defined goals, the number and satisfaction level of those who served weight against the target population, and benefits of the programme justified against investment and resources used.

Evaluation of community capacity building and health promotion thus entails significant number of issues particularly when it is started with inadequate research, consultation, poor planning and design, and unclear set of goals and objectives. After implementation, issues in evaluation will likely come from the absence of credible evidence to prove that such programme indeed deliver its services in full.

  1. References

Langille L, Munro I, & Romanow P, (2008), Building Collaborative Capacity for Research and Influencing Policy: The Rural Communities Impacting Policy Project, Journal of Rural and Community Development, 3, pp. 23-55

Owen J, (2006), Program Evaluation: Forms and Approaches, Allen & Unwin, United States

Petersen P. & Kwan S, (2004), Evaluation of Community-based Oral Health Promotion and Oral Disease Prevention – WHO recommendations for improved evidence in public health practice, Community Dental Health, 21, pp. 319-329

Raeburn J, Akerman M, & Mejia F, (2007), Community Capacity Building and Health Promotion in a Globalized World, Health Promotion International, Vol. 21, No. S1, Oxford University Press, pp. 84-90

WHO, (2004), Development of a Regional Strategy on Comprehensive Health Promotion, Report of an Intercountry Workshop, Bangkok, Thailand, December 11, 2004, World Health Organization, South-East Asia, New Delhi