Reinvigorate community well-being through evaluation

2012 EEN Forum

Led by Beverly Parsons
(additional session notes)

“Community approach example: promoting economic, social, and environmental well-being in the community
1. Asset Assessment
a. Organic farmers, community gardens
b. Looking to form a community group that cuts across sectors to do this
2. CLIPS – Communities of Learning Inquiry and Practice (Find small groups of people who want to take action)
a. Integrates the three themes
b. Commitment for one year
c. Help them plan it
d. How can the end up with something to prove they’re making a difference on some scale
e. Feed on each others energy
3. Leadership Development
a. People who come out of CLIPS who are willing to keep the process going
4. Sustainable process for renewal
a. Let it keep iterating year after year.

Largest community is 20,000. Just at the stage of starting to do this on a city level. The previous place for CLIPS was in a community college. Went about 4 years beyond the life of the NSF grant that was providing the funding.

“Quantitative Measurements Important to define what human well-being is. Showing what the benefits of NGO work is in terms of environmental (biodiversity, etc.) benefits.

Q: Danger if you have an area without human habitation? Is there a drawback if you can’t show a direct human benefit? You have to get creative, but you choose measures at each step of the process that gives you a deliverable. We can make metrics: x number of communities are created, but these have to be used to show efficiency even though they are at the directive of someone else. We need quantitative methods because someone (a funder, enforcer, etc.) may not be satisfied with qualitative.

Environmental Capital Accounting – World Bank Delta Process – iterative process, working with stakeholders to help identify metrics for the thing that they do: environmental educators on non-point source pollutants, researchers who come up with the theories, measurers, etc. How can you measure it with qualitative and quantitative combined?

• Are there any similar guidelines that other people are using?
• How do you measure attitudinal changes? (i.e. What will they be thinking down the road?)
• There were years without this environmental evaluations.
• EPA is looking at national scope. Were suspicious that people were highlighting instances and instead of showing a national view. (Brownfields – How do property values change if we clean up this site?)”

Some examples of community focused evaluation projects that the participants have been involved in that emphasize community wellbeing were provided by participants.

Shifts in conservation priorities have included human wellbeing targets, and along with them has highlighted challenges (for example, to make explicit the connections to human wellbeing, the lag time between project and its results)

Concerns about measuring outcomes of community projects were raised on different levels -attitudinal and behavioral, and for different audiences including kids. How are all these outcomes measured?

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