Story by Paul Garvey, PGC (Paul Garvey Consulting), London

It would be easier to sit a metre behind everyone and scribble notes. Targets to be met... Partners who are off the pace... Project leaders who look overwhelmed with details and partners’ various concerns...

Transcribe one’s interviews with beneficiaries etc and map them out against the project’s aims and European expectations. Then throw up a bunch of conclusions at the end. A quiet life might result...

But good project evaluation is not like that.

It is, when we get it right, something altogether more subtle and nuanced.

It’s about supporting those partners who are struggling, ensuring the debate is not dominated by the few who are not.

It’s about assisting the leader to keep on top of an exhausting job and bringing everyone back to the contract from time to time.

It’s about reminding ourselves what we set out to do when we sometimes drift off course or forget what we’re about.

It’s about making contributions (but not too many).

It’s about making sure the work being done is recorded and credited, and that work that isn't being done properly or promptly enough is helped and nudged forward.

It’s about quietly congratulating those who are making a big contribution (and those who are trying to do so).

It’s not about saying I told you so when things go off course.

... but it is about helping to support the process and get the project over the line, and hoping to share in the satisfaction and pleasure of a job well done.

Anonymous (if only I could be!)

This project is partially funded under the European Community's Lifelong Learning Programme (LLL/2012-2014), grant agreement no. 2011 – 4134/001 – 001.
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