February 28, 2014

SSSPE students traveling to Cameroon to webcast African Evaluation Association conference

A pair of PhD students from Claremont Graduate University’s School of Social Science, Policy, and Evaluation (SSSPE) will travel to Cameroon in March to host live webcasts of the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) conference.

Nicole Porter
Matt Galen
Nicole Porter
Nicole Porter

Matt Galen and Nicole Porter, who are both pursuing doctoral degrees in evaluation and applied research methods in the Division of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences, will be in Yaounde March 3-7 with laptops, digital cameras, and voice-tracking microphones to live stream critical conference sessions and assist with the conference’s social media communications.

"Many of the practitioners we are intending to reach with the AfrEA webcasts work with programs serving some of the most vulnerable populations in the world, and we hope that providing access to the conference proceedings will allow them to participate, learn, and share their experiences without expending scarce resources," Galen said.

Evaluation involves assessing the strengths and weaknesses of programs, policies, personnel, products, and organizations to improve their effectiveness. AfrEA was founded in 1999 to help the continent’s resource-poor evaluators pool resources and share ideas to promote real and sustained development in Africa.

Viewers of the webcasts will be able to see and hear the presenters and chat with other participants. Recordings will be archived online for viewing after the conference concludes. This project is part of a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to SSSPE Dean Stewart Donaldson and faculty member Tarek Azzam to develop evaluation capacity worldwide.

The schedule of webcast sessions will be posted at http://www.afrea.org/. The sessions can be viewed here or here.

Galen and Porter share an interest in international development and both have previously done evaluation work in Africa. They recently returned from an extended stay in South Africa, during which the lectured and researched at the University of Cape Town.

“Both Matt and Nicole have done outstanding international evaluation work for the Claremont Evaluation Center,” Donaldson said. "They have worked on projects with us in Sweden, Denmark, and various places in Africa.”

Galen has worked with the Empowerment and Development Centre (EDC) of South Africa to develop a monitoring and evaluation system for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), a large-scale economic development program of the African Union. He also provided communications support for AfrEA at its 2012 conference in Accra, Ghana with Azzam.

Beyond her efforts in Africa, Porter is working on the evaluation of a program aimed at increasing recruitment and retention of women and minority students in doctoral programs at University of California, Irvine. Recently, she worked on the evaluation of a student-mentoring program at University of California, Riverside; a community needs assessment for a local rehabilitation hospital; and a statewide needs assessment of workforce education and training programs of occupations relating to energy efficiency for the California Public Utilities Commission.