Reflecting on Peacebuilding Evaluation: Sharon Morris
In this interview, Sharon Morris, Director of the Youth & Conflict Division at Mercy Corps, reflects on recent progress and achievements made in the advancement of peacebuilding design, monitoring and evaluation. She praises the maturation thus far of peacebuilding DM&E, and implores practitioners to have more faith and confidence that our approaches will be validated by the evidence collected through evaluation. She also suggests that 'failure' can actually be a good thing because it forces us to critically challenge our assumptions of what works and what doesn't, ultimately leading to greater effectiveness in the approaches that do work. Looking to the future, Sharon suggests quantitative methods will increasingly become more important, as well the use of new technologies in DM&E.
When we talk about the current state of DM&E in the peacebuilding field, we often lament the fact that we do not have an established evidence base of what works, and that our methodological approaches are still not that sophisticated compared with other disciplines such as education and health. However, if we review progress in our field over the past 10 years, we would see that peacebuilding evaluation has, indeed, come a long way.
Clearly there is still much to be done. But when one is grappling with the day to day challenges, the difficulties can seem insurmountable. A long-term view, however, suggests that progress has indeed been made and we are becoming more rigorous in our approaches and more effective in capturing results.
In the Reflecting on Peacebuilding Evaluation interview series, we have captured the views of thought leaders in design, monitoring and evaluation of peacebuilding on how much our field has developed over the last 10 years, the challenges that remain and practical ways in which they might be overcome.