Chapter 12: Enhancing evaluation capacity: lessons from faith-based community development in El Salvador
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Across Latin America, faith-based organizations (FBOs) have become key agents in the creation, management and implementation of a wide array of community and economic development programs (Hefferan et al., 2009). Empirical research documenting how these organizations actually carry out their efforts remains relatively sparse; and even less is known about how FBOs ordinarily evaluate the processes and programs that comprise the community change interventions they implement. This chapter reflects on the efforts of a team of researchers, community development practitioners, and residents of rural communities in El Salvador to develop and sustain a program of evaluation research for community development initiatives. The discussion details the challenges that team members confronted in trying to build the evaluation capacities of a Salvadoran FBO, and it highlights how they adapted the purposes and processes of evaluation in order to increase the involvement of community stakeholders in planning and carrying out research.

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