Step 6: Evaluation and learning

Step 6: Evaluation and learning

While evaluation and learning formed the final step, activities and tools were applied throughout the program to engender a culture of adaptive management and reflexivity. Also, by using participatory methods, stakeholders were encouraged to reflect and learn as the program progressed, enhancing knowledge generation and augmenting the learning loop. Three methods were applied:

  • A Theory of Change, developed initially by the program team and then reviewed with the Advisory Committee mid-way and near the end of the program
  • Questionnaires carried out before and after workshop activities to evaluate participants’ learning
  • In-depth interviews with key stakeholders half-way through the program, and at the end of the program

The final Theory of Change review and in-depth interviews suggested that the program had provided more relevant information (e.g. population projections, values maps), and enabled its application by understanding politics and enabling empowerment (e.g. women’s representation), enhancing networks (e.g. between CEPA and provincial administrations), and building knowledge (e.g. improved understanding of decision-making responsibilities). This had already led to evidence-based decisions being made, and actions taken, for example ‘stop work’ orders on some oil palm developments in ENB, and new LMMAs established in Kimbe Bay. Full evaluation results are available in Butler et al. (2017c).

Potential improvements were also suggested for the next learning loop, including the need to engage more powerful national planning ministries; better communication of the approach and information to communities; more training in the tools and processes for stakeholders; and targeting of youth and future decision-makers.

A summary of evaluation results relative to the components of evidence-based decision-making