From June 6-9, QED participated in the 4th Evaluation Conclave in Thimphu, Bhutan, hosted by The Community of Evaluators – South Asia (CoE-SA). Attendees and presenters included key staff from QED’s Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) team – Eric Benschoter (Deputy Director M&E), Ingrid Orvedal (Senior M&E Specialist), and Purnima Mehta (Project Analyst) – as well as Sean Keogh, QED’s Director of Sustainable Investing.
The theme for this year’s three-day conference was “Well-Being and Sustainable Development: New Frontiers in Evaluation,” focusing on the relationship between wellness and sustainable development. Combining these two critical components and demonstrating the importance of evaluations in these areas aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2030, a set of global objectives to eradicate extreme poverty, slow climate change, and reduce inequality and injustice by 2030. Studying the state of human welfare from a diverse set of social, economic, and environmental perspectives allows for the successful evaluation and quantification of happiness, arguably a key indicator of well-being.
As part of the first two days of pre-conference workshops, Ingrid and Eric conducted a full day workshop on how to integrate Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) processes and practices. This workshop allowed participants to engage with materials and share ideas frequently in small group activities throughout the day.
During the two main days of the conference, QED led three other sessions. Eric led a panel on the “Role of a Learning Agenda in Evaluation Planning to Drive Strategic Decisions,” and was joined by Jyotsna Puri, Head of the Independent Evaluation Unit at the Green Climate Fund. They both spoke about particular examples of how developing a learning agenda serves to establish more efficient, effective, and maximized program results, leading to more strategic evidence-based decision-making.
Sean led a panel titled, “When Innovative Finance Meets Sustainable Development: How to Measure the Impact.” This topic centered around the growing need to fund the SDGs, and the unique role of business linkages to innovative finance as crucial in harnessing capital and creating positive economic returns, which can work together to propel growth and social progress around the world. Ushnisha Ghosh, the Lean Data Senior Associate with Acumen India, joined Sean’s panel to speak about Acumen’s approach to metrics in this sector.
Ingrid and Eric rounded out the week with a Demonstration session, “Using Most Significant Change as an Instrument of Complexity-Aware Monitoring,” on the final day, which provided participants an opportunity to learn and try out the Most Significant Change Methodology in a practical exercise.
CoE-SA is South Asia’s largest network of evaluators with the first Evaluation Conclave held in 2010. As an active participant and attendee of the conference, QED was pleased to be part of the diverse and explorative evaluation community, whose aim is to support and strengthen the field of evaluation to create an engaging platform for evaluators to interact, build capacity, develop skills, and deliberate evaluation standards.