AEA365: WE Week: Donna M. Mertens on Peer-to-Peer Support Program Experience in Kyrgyzstan

WE Week: Donna M. Mertens on Peer-to-Peer Support Program Experience in Kyrgyzstan


My name is Donna M. Mertens; I am an Independent Consultant based in Washington, D.C. and a founding member of the Washington Evaluators (WE), an AEA local affiliate. I had the pleasure of working with the Washington Evaluators’ leadership team on two grants funded to improve evaluation in Kyrgyzstan and to increase understanding of evaluation in Central Asia for WE members. Both grants were collaborations between WE and evaluation organizations in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

In the first phase, funded for $10,000 by EvalPartners through its Peer-to-Peer (P2P) support program, I delivered two workshops in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The first was a three-day workshop to help evaluators from four countries (Kazakhstan and Russia also) develop their personal capacities in transformative mixed methods for gender- and equity-focused evaluations. I also offered a second, one-day workshop to help build networks among the evaluation associations in those four countries and beyond. The final report of this part of the grant can be viewed by clicking here.

Rad Resources: The National Sustainable Development Plan for the Kyrgyz Republic contains language that highlights the importance of a transparent, evidence-based approach to evaluating their progress. It states: “due to bad governance, corruption and criminalization of certain state institutions during the rule of the first two presidents of the country these undertakings did not give sufficient positive impetus to national development and have largely failed to achieve their objectives.”

Lessons Learned: Any member of a Voluntary Organization for Professional Evaluation (like AEA or WE) can partner with a VOPE from the developing world to apply for a grant to fund activities like this.

Phase two of this collaboration between WE and colleagues in Central Asia was funded by AEA through its International Partnership Protocol Program (IPPP). Tatianna Tretiakova of Kyrgyzstan and Alisher Nazirov of Tajikistan visited Washington, D.C. in March 2015 to make presentations to WE members on the state of evaluation in Central Asia. While in Washington, these leaders also met with WE officials and representatives of other evaluation-related institutions in the Washington, D.C. area to share their experiences, seek advice, and discuss possible future cooperation.

Lessons Learned: AEA’s International Partnership Program is designed to fund temporary, short-term projects between Local Affiliates or Topical Interest Groups (TIGs) and groups of evaluators in other countries. The deadline for the next opportunity is November 30. The IPPP provides up to $5,000 to allow an AEA Local Affiliate or TIG to partner with one or more VOPEs in other countries so that each partner both gives and receives knowledge and improves each other’s capacity.

Rad Resource: Information on AEA’s International Partnership Program can be found here.

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