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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2000 BZE: COMPAR Evaluation (Community and Parent Empowerment Program)



Author: Adediran, O.; New World Consulting

Executive summary

Background

According to the framework proposal, The Community and Parent Empowerment Program (COMPAR) intends to provide parents and community members with the necessary knowledge and skills to enable them to fulfil their responsibility for the care, protection, survival and optimum development of children. The contents of the program were designed to address the issues adversely affecting Belizean children and families.

Purpose / Objective

The objectives of this evaluation were:
- To determine "what" was done in COMPAR based on the proposal. In other words, to create an "actual" statement of what was done, including intentions and objectives.
- To identify "how" it was done.
- To develop an evaluation protocol based on information provided in 1 and 2 above. The evaluation protocol includes evaluation instruments as well as an interview format.
- To verify that the program met its objectives.
- To describe the program's impact on the lives of those involved.
- To report qualitative and quantitative data regarding 4 and 5 above.
- To make recommendations based on findings.

Methodology

A review of COMPAR records and initial interviews with Advisory Committee members helped to set the stage for the development of the evaluation instruments. A randomly selected group of trainees, facilitators, agencies and non-participating agencies, and community leaders constituted the subjects of this evaluation.

It was determined that 54 trainees would complete the evaluation from a randomly selected group of trainees. It became quickly evident that trainees had little experience with giving their opinion and, as many expressed, this was the first time that anyone had formally asked what they thought. Finally, the impact of the length of time between the last contact with COMPAR (particularly in Toledo) until the time of the evaluation revealed that trainees had little or no recollection of the topics covered. Circumstances of the hurricane created a major delay in the conduct of the evaluation. For this reason, the total number of respondents had to be revised to realistically reflect the time constraints. To maintain the proportions of respondents relative to each other and to the total, 25 trainees were interviewed in Toledo and seven were interviewed in Stann Creek. Time and difficult logistical issues did not allow for focus groups. There was no time to conduct parent interviews so that aspect was dropped from the procedure.

All facilitators and agencies were given the opportunity to participate in the evaluation process. Each participating agency, from a list provided by COMPAR, was sent two evaluation forms to give the person who facilitated the workshops and the director an opportunity to give their feedback. A total of ten evaluations were sent to this group. The time frame for their response was short. Only one was returned.

Personnel from non-participating agencies such as ESTAP, CARD, Toledo Mayan Community Council, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Rural Development were interviewed regarding their knowledge of COMPAR. Selection was based on availability of the personnel.

Key Findings and Conclusions

While there was nearly universal agreement on what the objectives of COMPAR were, these objectives were not really the ones stated in the Project Framework. The focus was on some smaller issue, i.e. child abuse rather than, ultimately, on the overall objective of improving the lives of children through the empowerment of parents and communities. Re-evaluation and redevelopment of goals and objectives with appropriate activities/actions are needed to reflect the larger mission of COMPAR.

Generally speaking, those respondents who could remember the sessions spoke well of most of the workshops. Criticism came from respondents feeling that certain workshops were not presented in a manner relevant to the Belizean context, not culturally sensitive or not offering more up-to-date information regarding natural family planning alternatives. Respondents also commented that the recognition and use of existing resources (for example, sessions on using bush medicine for everyday child illnesses) could have been very helpful workshops. Those who could remember the workshops indicated a need to strengthen gender awareness, family planning and health, and community participation and empowerment. There was nearly uniform agreement that the written materials need to be revised to fit the Belizean context, need to be written in more simple everyday language and in languages to reflect the diversity of the Districts.

The vast majority of respondents did not feel prepared to conduct workshops in their home areas. Nearly all believed that they needed the physical presence of people with advanced training to begin the process. In Toledo, nearly all respondents indicated a need for COMPAR staff to be present to give legitimacy to the information to be taught. All respondents indicated a need for reinforcement of the subject areas through regular meetings. Regular communication and supportive presence seemed to be themes throughout the interviews.

While all of the respondents in Stann Creek had offered sessions, most of the Toledo participants had not. Of those who had offered sessions, there was a consistent comment regarding the lack of materials and support to make the sessions successful.

In general, the opinion was that there was no perceived impact on the communities to-date. Most respondents felt, however, that COMPAR could have an impact if certain key features were in place. These included consistency and follow-through on agreements and plans, COMPAR's strengthening of their relationship with community leaders, establishing working partnerships between trainees and existing Ministry and local government personnel, and giving workshops to trainees in advocacy (empowerment).

Overwhelmingly, individuals indicated that COMPAR has helped them in their life in one way or another, particularly in the area of improved relationships with their children.

The majority of people believed that COMPAR was not sustainable in its present form. The respondents indicated a need for follow through, continuity and support. There were strong indications that the format should reflect more the culture of the people that it is trying to train. This is not to suggest that respondents would not like to see COMPAR continue. Support for continuation was dominant.

With COMPAR, although the title speaks of empowerment, the top-down structure and nature of the curriculum literally leaves the people out of the process of determining what they, as parents and as a community, need most for their children. That system is not sustainable.

Overall, COMPAR was rated as "fair" by all respondents. This rating was due, in large part, because COMPAR failed to follow through and, in doing so, disheartened the majority of people who had been very excited about the program's potential. Repeatedly, the response included a comment about how many programs had come into the area and then just disappeared without a trace, about how many times people's hopes were raised, only for nothing to happen.

Recommendations

Seek training to increase levels of cultural awareness to inform the process of COMPAR. This is not to suggest that COMPAR staff does not know about cultures, but it is clear from the structure and nature of the training program that the application of the knowledge into the process and content of the format.

Develop a foundation that reflects a clear understanding of the philosophy of COMPAR. Concepts such as sustainability, empowerment, manifesting the true rights of the child, improving the quality of life for children, facilitating that the basic needs of children are met through their community carry with them significant responsibility. Actualizing these concepts requires clear vision, dedication and careful, consistent planning.

Maintain clear records of participants, especially those who complete the training.

Clear established lines of communication must be developed. Throughout the course of this evaluation, communication was a major stumbling block. The evaluation experience was supported by reports from respondents.



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Report information

Date:
2000

Region:
TACRO

Country:
Belize

Type:
Evaluation

Theme:
Capacity building

Partners:
Ministry of Human Development

PIDB:
1050

Follow Up:

Language:
English

Sequence Number:
2000/001

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