The Interview Summary
Could you say a bit about yourself and your role within inFocus?
- I'm a junior Learning and Evaluation Consultant with inFocus. I've been with inFocus for less than a year. I support the team with the evaluation of many different projects in different thematic areas, mostly with data collection and analysis.
What projects you have been working on with Catalyst?
- I was introduced to Catalyst about six months ago. I started as an initiative lead for a research project about the evaluation of Tech for Good projects. We are exploring whether different approaches need to be considered when evaluating Tech for Good initiatives in general. The research included 15 interviews with different people who are in the sector, including funders, researchers, evaluators, and initiative leads.
- Within Catalyst, I’m also part of the Collaboration circle and the learning and impact working group.
- Later this month, I'll be facilitating a workshop on decolonisation and evaluation, which is part of the Catalyst network as well.
Could you tell me more about the learning and impact group and your role within it?
- The members try to highlight any opportunities that are relevant to the learning and evaluation of the Catalyst network, opportunities to expand their knowledge and introduce new members that can feed into the knowledge of the group.
How would you describe the purpose of the research into the Tech for Good evaluation?
- It is a challenging task. We found limited resources that focus on this type of evaluation or knowledge sharing and there's miscommunication between funders, and initiative leads who work on digital products and services. This research will be opening a conversation around the need for evaluation of Tech for Good products and services, good practice, and shared frameworks within the sector.
Why do you think it's important to do this kind of research?
- There's a lot of knowledge within the sector, but the problem is with communication. Most of the participants were really excited about the research, because they had faced some challenges around this issue, or have some knowledge about it. The research showed there is the knowledge, the excitement, the need, but no guidance around the issue, or existing community of practice, or platforms to share this knowledge.
What impact do you think the research could have if it was successful?
- Although small in scope, it's really influential because it brings people together. When there's shared knowledge that there's something missing from the evaluation of Tech for Good products, everyone will try to work together to share their knowledge and experience. Without this research, it would have been just vague ideas around the need, but now with this research, there's a foundation and established purpose.
Could you talk more about the extent of the research?
- At the start of the project, we did some desk research, which influenced the questions and themes we were trying to explore within our interviews. Then we did 15 interviews, which gathered different data or inputs from different perspectives, which makes it more in depth as well. The validation workshop was a summary and validation of all the data that we've got already and expanding and creating more conversation around specific themes.
What has been working well, to date, with this research?
- The buy in from different participants and interviewees. Most of the people that we've approached were really excited, and some of them sent us specific resources.
What do you think has been more challenging?
- Because people were so engaged and fed in a lot, it is challenging to narrow down the focus and highlight the main important considerations. It's a lot to digest.
Have you seen any immediate results from the validation workshop?
- People had positive feedback around the workshop. They were really happy to network together and discuss this topic in depth. Because of the workshop, people are more on the same page.
What are the next steps for this research?
- The research is coming to an end, but I think it will act as a beginning for a community of practice or network. It will be used in future to influence good practices, funders’ practices, and influence the relationship between funders and different stakeholders and how they approach evaluation.
Could you say more about the research that you are doing into decolonisation?
- I had some interest in decolonisation in the international development sector, specifically on evaluation. Many other members within Catalyst had the same interest. So, we thought why don't we do a collective workshop?
- I started with doing extensive research on decolonisation and evaluation. Then we started working with the Data Collective on how we wanted to approach this topic.
- In the workshop, we want to explore the relevance of decolonisation in evaluation within the UK context specifically.
What are the next steps with the research?
- We will use this workshop as a foundation for more conversations around decolonisation, power dynamics, and different values within the evaluation sector.
If the research is successful, what impact do you imagine it will have besides what you've already mentioned?
- I think it will cause a change in the way we look at evaluation in general. It will change power dynamics and give voice to people who are usually underrepresented. It could also inform the EDI practices within evaluation in the charity sector.
What have been your most significant learnings within Catalyst, if any, so far?
- People are willing and have the interest to contribute to things that's making the network more collaborative and that's aiming to improve the practices of the network.