Beyond Mitigation Risks and Disruptions: Expanding the Meaning of Conflict Sensitive Evaluation (2019)

Isabella Jean, Henry Nelson, and Elisabeth Ris, CDA Collaborative Learning, Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium

Created 04/20/2020

Analysis, Evaluation Reports


A range of approaches, tools, and tactics exist to mitigate risks to implementers and evaluators evaluating interventions in fragile and conflict-affected settings. At the same time, evaluations are interventions in and of themselves and can affect dynamics in the contexts they examine just as they can be affected by such dynamics. In fragile contexts, there is a heightened risk that evaluations, as interventions, can exacerbate conflict drivers inadvertently, causing more violence. Given this potential, there is a “need to redress the relative absence of the systematic consideration and incorporation of conflict context into the theory and practice of evaluation.”

Recognizing evaluations as interventions, members of the Peacebuilding Evaluation Consortium have expressed concern that evaluation choices have implications for inter-group relations and trust among the parties involved as evaluands. Additionally, PEC members note that evaluators are rarely asked to identify and address ways in which their presence and methodological choices may affect conflict dynamics and that there is little agreement on how to do so efficiently and effectively. This paper was developed in response to that identified need for more resources on conflict sensitivity.

The paper examines practices used to limit potential negative effects on evaluation processes in fragile and conflict-affected contexts and explores emerging practices for understanding and reducing the extent to which evaluation processes and products negatively impact local and national dynamics in divided fragile contexts.

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