Standards under conflict: International evaluation practice in peace-precarious situations
Elkins, C. (2008, November). Standards under conflict: International evaluation practice in peace-precarious situations. Presented at American Evaluation Association Annual Conference: Evaluation 2008: Evaluation Policy and Evaluation Practice. Denver, CO, Nov. 5-8, .
International assistance, reconstruction, and development have begun to occur routinely even in the most conflicted or fragile areas. Not only are such interventions often physically risky and under pressure to produce clear or dramatic humanitarian value, but volatile challenges in the situation also constantly push programs to innovate, sometimes in inconsistent directions. How can we accurately – or adequately – assess impact under these circumstances? Projects scramble to keep up with their environment and find ways to "do good" regardless, and evaluators must ensure we continue to test hypotheses against evidence, in order to increase knowledge of how best to help most vulnerable populations effect self-sustaining improvements contributing to security and quality of life. Drawing on the author's experiences working in Iraq and Afghanistan, this paper examines AEA and other relevant principles for evaluation towards developing a model to help us understand how standards apply for international evaluation in peace-precarious situations.