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Evaluation and impact assessment in human rights

2015 has been declared the “international year of evaluation”. Human rights organisations face a difficult dilemma with regards to evaluation and impact assessment of their work. Although it is required and demanded by most donors, existing tools and methods are mostly unfit for human rights work. Challenges are plentiful: positive results in human rights normally relate to social change, for which linear and causal relationships provide no suitable explanations. Attribution of results to specific interventions is problematic, and human rights change is difficult to measure. In this debate, we explore some of the different tools and methods used for evaluating human rights, the pros and cons of how rights work is evaluated, as well as the budding methods and opportunities in this relatively unexplored field.

Earning the trust of human rights supporters

Human rights groups have lost—or never gained—the trust of roughly half their (potentially) strongest supporters. Español


Business lessons for human rights: borrowing evidence-based practices

The human rights field could learn a lot from evidence-based practices developed in business and medicine. 


Evaluating human rights campaigns: talking to “the enemy”

Framing the targets of human rights campaigns as “the enemy” does a disservice to all involved, and can prevent some important conversations.


Celebrating the small wins in Israel-Palestine human rights

No single tool works in isolation to change human rights policies, but a combination of strategies has proven successful. עברית


Learning from each other: human rights and development evaluations

When it comes to evaluations, human rights and international development have a lot to learn from each other.


The evaluation menu: more than just technical choices

Technical and operational choices are critical in evaluations, but they should not obscure important cultural and political issues.


Finding the unexpected impacts of human rights work

When conducting human rights evaluations, it is just important to look at the results we didn’t expect. EspañolPortuguês


Human rights evaluation—who is it really for?

The human rights community should embrace evaluation not for our donors, but for our beneficiaries. Español


Making a case for change: the value of strategic plausibility in evaluation

By focusing on strategic plausibility, it’s possible to fulfil accountability needs while also favouring learning.  Français


When protecting civilians in humanitarian crises, how do we measure success?

Oxfam’s protection programme in the DRC shows how “signposts of change” can help us evaluate progress. Français


Finding balance: evaluating human rights work in complex environments

In human rights work, how and what you measure determines what kind of organisation you become. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on evaluation and human rights.  EspañolFrançais


UNAIDS: Bold human rights targets need better monitoring

If UN agencies set bold targets for human rights reform, they must commit to reporting rigorously on progress to achieve them. EspañolFrançais


Can rights organizations use low-burden self-reflection for evaluation?

Human Rights Watch generally avoids burdensome evaluations; instead, we’re looking for “light and agile” reflections on our work. FrançaisالعربيةEspañol


When evaluating human rights progress, focus also on the journey

Yes, human rights work must be measured, but we need to focus on the small steps as well as the “big picture.” Français, Español,


Human rights and results-based management: adopting from a different world

Human rights groups are understandably reluctant to use “results-based management”, but embracing this approach can boost their impact. EspañolFrançais


All articles in date order:

Granjearse la confianza de los partidarios de los derechos humanos

Las agrupaciones de derechos humanos han perdido —o nunca obtuvieron— la confianza de aproximadamente la mitad de sus más firmes partidarios (potenciales). Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights sobre la opinión pública y los derechos humanos y la evaluación y los derechos humanos. English

Earning the trust of human rights supporters

Human rights groups have lost—or never gained—the trust of roughly half their (potentially) strongest supporters. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on public opinion and human rights, and evaluation and human rightsEspañol

Business lessons for human rights: borrowing evidence-based practices

The human rights field could learn a lot from evidence-based practices developed in business and medicine. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on evaluation and impact assessment in human rights.

Evaluating human rights campaigns: talking to “the enemy”

Framing the targets of human rights campaigns as “the enemy” does a disservice to all involved, and can prevent some important conversations. A contribution to the openGlobalRights campaign on evaluation and human rights.

לחגוג את ההישגים הקטנים במאבק למען זכויות האדם בישראל-פלסטין

אין כלי אחד שעשוי לקדם זכויות אדם לבד, אך גם במציאות של כיבוש מתמשך שילוב אסטרטגיות מצליח לחולל שינוי. מאמר במסגרת הדיון של OpenGlobalRights על הערכת ארגוני זכויות אדם. English

Celebrating the small wins in Israel-Palestine human rights

No single tool works in isolation to change human rights policies, but a combination of strategies has proven successful..A contribution the openGlobalRights debate, Evaluation and Human Rightsעברית

Learning from each other: human rights and development evaluations

When it comes to evaluations, human rights and international development have a lot to learn from each other. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate, Evaluation and Human Rights.

The evaluation menu: more than just technical choices

Technical and operational choices are critical in evaluations, but they should not obscure important cultural and political issues. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on evaluation and human rights.

Finding the unexpected impacts of human rights work

When conducting human rights evaluations, it is just important to look at the results we didn’t expect. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate, Evaluation and Human Rights.  EspañolPortuguês

En búsqueda de los efectos inesperados del trabajo de derechos humanos

Al realizar evaluaciones de derechos humanos, es igual de importante observar los resultados que no esperábamos. Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights, La evaluación y los derechos humanos. EnglishPortuguês

Encontrando impactos inesperados do trabalho em direitos humanos‬‬‬‬

Ao realizar avaliações em direitos humanos, é muito importante analisar os resultados que não esperávamos. Uma contribuição ao debate Avaliação e Direitos Humanos da openGlobalRights.‬‬‬‬ EnglishEspañol

La evaluación en los derechos humanos, ¿para quién es realmente?

En la comunidad de derechos humanos deberíamos adoptar las evaluaciones, no para nuestros donantes sino para nuestros beneficiarios. Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights sobre la evaluación y los derechos humanos. English

Human rights evaluation—who is it really for?

The human rights community should embrace evaluation not for our donors, but for our beneficiaries. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on evaluation and human rights. Español

Les droits de l’homme et la gestion axée sur les résultats : adopter les outils venant d’un milieu différent

Les organisations de défense des droits de l’homme sont à juste titre réticentes à utiliser « la gestion axée sur les résultats » mais adopter cette approche peut renforcer leur impact. Une contribution au débat d’openGlobalRights sur l’évaluation et les droits de l’homme. EnglishEspañol

Los derechos humanos y la gestión basada en los resultados: adoptar métodos de un mundo distinto

Las organizaciones de derechos humanos se muestran comprensiblemente reacias a utilizar la “gestión basada en los resultados”, pero adoptar este enfoque puede aumentar su impacto. Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights sobre la evaluación y los derechos humanos.  EnglishFrançais

Démontrer la réalité du changement : la valeur de la plausibilité stratégique dans l’évaluation

En se focalisant sur la plausibilité stratégique, il est possible de répondre au besoin de responsabilisation tout en favorisant également l’apprentissage. Une contribution au débat d’openGlobalRights sur l'évaluation et les droits de l’homme.  English

Making a case for change: the value of strategic plausibility in evaluation

By focusing on strategic plausibility, it’s possible to fulfil accountability needs while also favouring learning. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on evaluation and human rights.  Français

Quand la protection des civils dans les crises humanitaires est en jeu : comment mesurons-nous le succès ?

Le programme de protection d’Oxfam en RDC montre comment les « signaux du changement » peuvent nous aider à évaluer le progrès. Une contribution au débat d’openGlobalRights sur l'évaluation et les droits de l'homme. English

When protecting civilians in humanitarian crises, how do we measure success?

Oxfam’s protection programme in the DRC shows how “signposts of change” can help us evaluate progress. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on evaluation and human rights. Français

En búsqueda del equilibrio: la evaluación del trabajo de derechos humanos en entornos complejos

En el trabajo de derechos humanos, qué mides y cómo lo mides determina en qué tipo de organización te convertirás. Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights sobre evaluación y derechos humanos. EnglishFrançais

Concilier évaluation du travail en matière de droits de l’homme et environnements complexes

Dans le travail qui a trait aux droits de l’homme, ce que vous mesurez et la manière dont vous le faite détermine le type d’organisation que vous devenez. Une contribution au débat d’openGlobalRights sur l'évaluation et les droits de l’homme. EnglishEspañol

Finding balance: evaluating human rights work in complex environments

In human rights work, how and what you measure determines what kind of organisation you become. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on evaluation and human rights.  EspañolFrançais

UNAIDS: Bold human rights targets need better monitoring

If UN agencies set bold targets for human rights reform, they must commit to reporting rigorously on progress to achieve them. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on evaluation and human rights. EspañolFrançais

L’ONUSIDA : les objectifs ambitieux en matière de droits de l’homme ont besoin d’être mieux contrôlés

Si les agences de l’ONU définissent des objectifs ambitieux en matière de réforme touchant aux droits de l’homme, elles doivent s’engager à faire des comptes-rendus rigoureux sur les progrès réalisés. Une contribution au débat d’openGlobalRights sur l'évaluation et des droits de l'homme. EnglishEspañol

ONUSIDA: los objetivos de derechos humanos audaces requieren una mejor supervisión

Si las agencias de la ONU establecen objetivos audaces para reformas de derechos humanos, deben comprometerse a informar rigurosamente sobre sus avances para alcanzarlos. Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights sobre Evaluación y derechos humanosEnglishFrançais

Can rights organizations use low-burden self-reflection for evaluation?

Human Rights Watch generally avoids burdensome evaluations; instead, we’re looking for “light and agile” reflections on our work. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Evaluation and Human Rights. FrançaisالعربيةEspañol

Les organisations de défense des droits peuvent-elles se livrer à un exercice d’introspection peu contraignant en matière d’évaluation ?

Human Rights Watch évite généralement les évaluations fastidieuses. Nous cherchons au contraire à avoir une réflexion « légère et agile » sur notre travail. Une contribution au débat d’openGlobalRights sur l'évaluation et des droits de l'homme. EnglishالعربيةEspañol

هل تستطيع منظمات حقوق الإنسان إجراء عمليات التقييم داخلها بمجهود بسيط؟

تتجنب منظمة هيومن رايتس ووتش عموماً إجراء التقييمات الصعبة؛ وبدلاً من ذلك، نحن نبحث عن الإجراءات "البسيطة والسريعة" في عملنا. هذا المقال مساهمة في النقاش على الرابط openGlobalRights حول التقييم وحقوق الإنسان. English, FrançaisEspañol

¿Pueden las organizaciones de derechos humanos usar una introspección poco onerosa como forma de evaluación?

Por lo general, Human Rights Watch evita las evaluaciones onerosas; en cambio, buscamos reflexiones “ligeras y ágiles” sobre nuestro trabajo. Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights sobre Evaluación y derechos humanosEnglish, Françaisالعربية

عند تقييم التقدم المحرز في مجال حقوق الإنسان، مطلوب التركيز أيضاً على المسيرة المؤدية لتلك الإنجازات

نعم، يجب أن يخضع العمل في مجال حقوق الإنسان للقياس؛ ولكننا بحاجة إلى التركيز على الخطوات الصغيرة فضلاً عن "الصورة الكبيرة". مساهمة في النقاش على الرابط openGlobalRights حول التقييم وحقوق الإنسان.  FrançaisEspañol

Al evaluar el progreso en materia de derechos humanos, hay que enfocarse también en el trayecto

Sí, es necesario medir el trabajo de derechos humanos; pero tenemos que enfocarnos tanto en los pequeños avances como en el “panorama general”. Una contribución al debate de openGlobalRights sobre Evaluación y derechos humanosFrançais 

L’évaluation des progrès en matière de droits de l’homme doit aussi prendre en compte le chemin emprunté

Oui, le travail dans le domaine des droits de l’homme doit être évalué. Mais nous devons nous intéresser aussi bien aux petites étapes qu’à la « situation globale ». Une contribution au débat d’openGlobalRights sur l'évaluation et des droits de l'homme. Español, الإنسان,

When evaluating human rights progress, focus also on the journey

Yes, human rights work must be measured, but we need to focus on the small steps as well as the “big picture.” A contribution to the openGlobalRights debateon Evaluation and Human Rights. Français, Español, العربية 

Human rights and results-based management: adopting from a different world

Human rights groups are understandably reluctant to use “results-based management”, but embracing this approach can boost their impact. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Evaluation and Human Rights.  EspañolFrançais

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