Participatory Evaluation

Campilan (2000) indicates that participatory evaluation is distinguished from the conventional approach in five key ways:

  • why is evaluation being done
  • how evaluation is done
  • who evaluates
  • what is being evaluated, and
  • for whom evaluation is being done.

It is often practiced in various ways, such as: self-assessment, stakeholder evaluation, internal evaluation and joint evaluation. In addtion, it can include individual story-telling, participatory social mapping, causal-linkage and trend and change diagramming, scoring, and brainstorming on program strengths and weaknesses.

The advantages of doing participatory evaluation

  • Identify locally relevant evaluation questions
  • Improve program performance
  • Empower participants
  • Build capacity
  • Develop leaders and build teams
  • Sustain organizational learning and growth

Challenges in implementing participatory evaluation

  • Time and commitment
  • Resources
  • Conflicts


Supporting indigenous governance in Colombia

In Colombia, ACIN, an association of indigenous people covering 13 communities, is involved in monitoring and evaluating its own multi-sectoral regional development plan. They are looking at links between productivity and environmental and cultural factors, tracking changes over time and comparing plans with results in a systematic way. This has helped communities recognise their strengths and improve their management capabilities, which, in turn, is leading to changes in power relationships. Links are being made between communities, providing the concerted voice needed in negotiations with national and provincial government, and the private sector. (Guijt and Gaventa, 1998)





Campilan, D. (2000). Participatory Evaluation of Participatory Research. Forum on Evaluation of International Cooperation Projects: Centering on Development of Human Resources in the Field of Agriculture. Nagoya, Japan, International Potato Center.

Chambers, R. (2009) Making the Poor Count: Using Participatory Options for Impact Evaluation in Chambers, R., Karlan, D., Ravallion, M. and Rogers, P. (Eds) Designing impact evaluations: different perspectives. New Delhi, India, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation.

Guijt, I. and J. Gaventa (1998). Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation: Learning from Change. IDS Policy Briefing. Brighton, UK, University of Sussex.

Zukoski, A. and M. Luluquisen (2002). "Participatory Evaluation: What is it? Why do it? What are the challenges?" Policy & Practice(5).

A special thanks to this page's contributors
Knowledge Sharing and Learning Specialist, CGIAR.
Rome, Italy.


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