Members of the M and E Lab team have been working on a project, initially called Check, but more recently rebranded as Check Global, as the project has expanded over the years. A great many years in fact; the project initially started in 2011, with BCU’s involvement as research and evaluation partner. Dima Saber and Jerome Turner have produced research outputs and annual project reports throughout, as the project and its funding has been extended iteratively by the funder Sida.
As we came to the final year of a three-year cycle (2019-21), we wanted to bring in someone new, for a fresh take and some genuinely critical distance from the project, to lead our 2021 reporting process. However much we may think we can distance ourselves from projects we are involved in, it is always fascinating and invaluable to take on board an outsider’s point of view. Our consultant Reina Angoujard has been working with us since October. As well as pulling together a variety of materials that had already been gathered for the year, and organising the collation of more reports arriving from our project managers and partners, she has:
- helped us ensure the project can be understood from an outsider’s perspective.
- identified new ways of exploring and identifying impact with our project managers and partners.
- suggested methods of data collation, collection and reporting that will inform future Check Global evaluation work.
- collaborated with us to design a new format and structure for our report this year.
This kind of critical distance can be refreshing in project evaluation, whether it’s to the extent of bringing in a consultant to work alongside the usual team or simply showing a short section of your reporting to a colleague who isn’t involved in the project. At any scale, some distance can be useful.