First of all; let’s start from the beginning: what are equity-focused evaluations?
They are definitely not a fixed set of methods that you can apply by the letter to fit any and every kind of evaluation.
According to the definition given by UNICEF, equity means that all individuals should have an opportunity to survive, develop, and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favoritism.
An equity focus can be considered a standpoint, a way to pay attention to specific issues and groups of persons (especially those considered the most marginalized or worst off groups in a community). In the context of evaluation, this standpoint will inform the choice of the designs, methods, the composition of the evaluation team, and the manner in which the evaluation will be carried out. More concretely, it’s an assessment of the Relevance, Efficiency, Effectiveness, Impact, and Sustainability (which are the generally used criteria, but you can use other ones) of interventions on equitable development results.
And so, why use them? Well, firstly because inequity constitutes a violation of human rights. Therefore, all development and humanitarian projects should uphold universality and non-discrimination values, and strive at all times for more equity. That includes the evaluation process.
An equity-based evaluation provides an analysis of the effects of any given project on different groups, including potentially negative or unintended effects. When left unchecked, these effects can have serious consequences, for example, increasing the gaps between marginalized and other groups. Without actively implementing equity-focused methodologies, organizations leave themselves at risk for non-adherence to the core humanitarian principle of Do No Harm.
Aviva is a development and political stability specialist with over eight years of experience working in and on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Sub-Saharan Africa, and South & Southeast Asia. She focuses on the intersection of peacebuilding, empowerment, and gender equity, with an emphasis on interweaving growth and sustainability throughout social, political, and economic development. Aviva has experience in program development, implementation, situational analysis, and strategic planning in various contexts, including highly volatile areas.
Holding a Master’s in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, she has worked with organizations large and small, including Search for Common Ground, SPARK, the Netherlands Entrepreneurship Development Agency (RVO), the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO), and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
A lover of the written word, Aviva is an expert in writing and communications and embraces the challenge of creating content for a variety of audiences – from grant proposals to awareness raising campaigns.