Topic 1 Comprehensive Sustainable Action Plan (CSAP) Evaluation

For the evaluation, indicators can be proposed that allow measuring and assessing the starting situation, the current situation and the foreseeable situation in relation to the proposal. Indices of what exists can be used or we can propose the construction of alternative indicators that are supported by participatory processes. These indicators will vary in each area, according to the proposed objectives and the actions to be developed, but what interests us most is not comparing each process with others (always difficult) but comparing a before and after it, and better if the evaluation can be continuous.

We have to assess the following aspects:

  • The results (achievement of objectives in the short, medium and long term).
  • The process and method of work (adequacy of the techniques to the objectives).
  • The production of useful knowledge for the community and the people involved.
  • The involvement of the population in the process and in the programming of the actions (participation).

The proposed timelines can help us to monitor, assess and rectify, to improve the results.

Monitoring is a system by which we can prevent the rectification that we will surely have to do. It is almost impossible for the Plans to coincide with the practical achievements, since there are always unforeseen events that will force us to make improvisations. But these rectifications can also be done with participatory systems if they are foreseen, for example with the democratic and participatory mechanisms that we have seen before.

CSAP table of the "Collective reflection process of participatory experiences in the Madrid Metropolitan Area", Master in Participatory Research for Local Development, cycle 2006-2007.

A technique that can be useful when evaluating, can be the coherenceometer.

It is a very simple technique but it will help us to continuously evaluate the programmed actions. In order for the actions to maintain a minimum coherence with the transformation objectives and with the Idea-Force, it is convenient to reflect on them in view of those objectives and that unifying Idea.

For this, a matrix can be made, where in the upper horizontal Axis we will put the four or five major objectives of the Plan. On the vertical axis on the left, we place the planned actions and make them “go through” each of the objectives. Under each objective we are putting as many “positives” (+++) as the action has consistency with the corresponding objective. If the action is contradictory to the respective objective, we will put “negative” (—), and if we find it “neutral”, we will put a zero (0).

Thus, seeing the score received by an action throughout each and every one of the objectives, it is clearly seen if it is appropriate to carry it out, what its transformative force may be, or if it is even counterproductive. It can also be used as an evaluation of an action once it has been carried out, but the most important thing is to have tools to know how to monitor in time when we find new or very specific situations.

One very important thing is that not only the action has to be coherent, but also the way it is carried out, who organizes it, etc. For this reason we can also put in the boxes, all kinds of issues to take into account so that it is coherent.

An example can be: