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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-11

Issues arising in the development of UNICEF guidance on the evaluation of psychosocial programmes in emergencies

has worked in the NGO sector and with the Universities of Malawi, Dundee and Stirling. She currently works as an independent social worker researching issues of participation and user involvement, and developing guidelines for humanitarian practice

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This paper describes the development of a guide on evaluation, commissioned by UNICEF for their field officers in 2006. The consultation process in developing the content of the guide is discussed, revealing varying perceptions of what is known and practiced in the field in relation to evaluation. Broader findings about evaluation design and methods are also discussed, based on a review by the Mailman School of Public Health. The paper then focuses on specific aspects of evaluation of psychosocial programmes that seem to generate particular difficulties in practice. It considers firstly the conceptualisation of psychosocial wellbeing in the definition of indicators of output, outcome and impact levels. Secondly, case studies are examined to illustrate the challenges of using methods, both qualitative and quantitative, in the context of complex emergencies. Thirdly, the paper considers the tension between ‘evaluation as research’ and ‘evaluation as reality’ and discusses the relative values that are reflected in the field.

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