ECN Member Spotlight: Susan Hopkins

January 28, 2016

We asked one of our network members, Susan Hopkins, some questions about the value of the Evaluation Capacity Network. Susan is Executive Director of The MEHRIT Centre (TMC), formerly Executive Director of the Society for Safe and Caring Schools & Communities:

Why is a network of stakeholders useful?

The ECN will help those of us working in diverse ways to support the increased well being of children to build our toolboxes of strategies to more effectively mobilize knowledge.

How will it help to build evaluation capacity?

There is increasing demand from funders and the public for service providers to prove the impact and outcomes of their programs – this requires data, but it also requires thinking about what this data is telling us and how we can use it to make decisions based on evidence to amplify the impact of our work.

We often hear about “evidence-based practice” but exploring carefully what evidence matters and why; learning how to use it for different purposes; and, engaging our various stakeholders in the process is so important for a not-for profit working to support child and youth well-being.

How can the ECN benefit your own work?

A major priority for The MEHRIT Centre is building capacity for all levels of child and youth supporters and stakeholders. Building a common language understood by all practitioners, as well as re-framing “evaluation” from being an add-on piece at the end of the project to an integral and valuable component of all projects and service delivery, will allow organizations, like TMC, to ensure their actions are effective, and to adapt to changes in the landscape and their target population needs over time.

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