The biweekly ‘So What?’ guide highlights advice, events, and tips — mostly from the advocacy and evaluation worlds, selected by the Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program.
APEP at the AEA
Benighted souls and nerdy economists might think AEA stands for the American Economic Association. Pshaw. We, the significantly fewer, certainly not prouder, and possibly even nerdier evaluators know that AEA means the American Evaluation Association, baby. And we shall nerd together here in Washington DC, for AEA’s Evaluation 2017 conference from November 6-11. Your snarky friends from APEP are involved in multiple ways. Find the deets below:
Shifting the Balance of Power: Evaluating a foundation’s effort to build local advocacy capacity in sub-Saharan Africa
APEP’s David Devlin-Foltz will chair a session that presents three perspectives on our evaluation of the Hewlett Foundation’s strategy to support local advocacy for family planning and reproductive health services in sub-Saharan Africa. We’ll hear from Helena Choi, former Hewlett Foundation program officer; Susan Wood, Director of Program Learning and Evaluation at the International Women’s Health Coalition; and ace evaluator Rhonda Schlangen on behalf of our APEP team for this project. Funder, grantee, and evaluator will discuss how the Foundation hopes to shift power from funder and grantee to the local advocacy groups doing the work at the country level — and how our evaluation can inform that process. (Session 1458, 4:30 – 6:00 PM on Wednesday, November 8th in Roosevelt 2)
Rowing Against the Current: Advocacy evaluation in difficult political contexts
There may be an unfounded assumption here that we live in a difficult political context. But we’ll let that pass. We recommend checking out this session featuring stellar evaluator Jewlya Lynn chairing a panel on the specific dynamics that can emerge when the going gets especially tough for advocates. Jewlya will pose provocative questions to Jared Raynor of TCCGroup, Laura Trent of Spark Policy Institute, and APEP’s David Devlin-Foltz. Come see us squirm and offer your own experiences and counsel. (Session 1839, 6:15 – 7:15 PM on Wednesday, November 8th in Wilson B).
What Happens After the Policy “Win”?
The obvious answer is: a lot. After a bill has finally attained that golden number of “yeas,” the complex process of implementing the policy kicks in. And here, the relevant factors regarding how to influence policy implementation can be different from policy change processes. APEP and CARE USA’s team of gender and empowerment advocates recently piloted two tools designed to track the US Administration’s implementation of key gender policies, and to help CARE assess and strengthen its advocacy strategy. We summarize the tools and what we learned in this research report principally authored by APEP’s Deputy Director, Susanna Dilliplane. Or if you fancy the in-person version, come see CARE’s Deputy Director of Global Advocacy, Milkah Kihunah, present our findings at the AEA conference on Saturday, November 11. (That’s Session #2459: for the good, the brave, and the caffeinated ready for an 8 AM Saturday morning session in the Park Tower Suite 8206.)