Roadmap for State Program Planning: Evaluate the Program
In this section you will take stock of your intervention activities. Using these results, you can—
- Modify program components based on feedback.
- Document and disseminate feedback and lessons learned to appropriate audiences.
- Recognize and maximize unexpected opportunities.
- Recognize and counteract potential threats.
- Document the effectiveness of the intervention.
Once you have completed this section you will have—
- Evaluated the activities of your intervention or program.
- Gathered feedback and lessons learned from those activities.
- Identified needed adjustments to your intervention or program activities.
What to Do
You may implement some early evaluation activities as soon as an intervention or activity gets underway. Most of these activities fall into the category of "process evaluation" and include information about—
- How well interventions or activities are being implemented and progressing, to help ensure that you are implementing them as intended.
- How the target population is responding, to help determine if you are reaching your target populations and having intended effects.
As the intervention progresses and matures, you may implement outcome evaluation activities including—
- Indication of whether or not the intended outcomes, such as policy or systems change, behavior change, or health status change occurred. If not, why not?
- A cost analysis of the intervention.
How to Do It
Several steps can be taken to ensure that your intervention is working well and having the desired impact on your target audience—
- Identify who will use the evaluation findings and for what purpose.
- Engage stakeholders in the evaluation process. Stakeholders will help identify evaluation questions, facilitate access to priority populations, may assist in collecting data, and help interpret evaluation findings.
- Identify what questions you want the evaluation to answer.
- Identify indicators to answer your evaluation questions.
- Establish baseline measures of the process you will track.
- Establish a timeline for evaluation activities and assign responsibility for evaluation activities.
- Measure the early response of the general and priority populations. Engage general and priority population members to help interpret findings. Review data early to detect and address early problems.
- Identify feedback loops to ensure that changes indicated by evaluation results can be implemented.
Evaluation tasks are integral to ongoing effective program management, which includes—
- Monitoring of program activities and staff efforts using key indicators.
- Comparing progress and results to performance standards and preset targets or benchmarks.
- Making changes as needed when standards are not met.
- Monitoring the political, social, and health environment continuously to detect unanticipated developments by—
- Maintaining internal and external communication channels, especially with stakeholders.
- Monitoring media treatment of issues that could affect your implementation.
- Looking for unexpected opportunities to maximize your efforts.
- Looking for potential threats that may undermine the effectiveness of your interventions or activities.
When you have completed this phase, you will have established strong systems to monitor, collect, interpret, and use evaluation findings and other feedback to manage tasks laid out in your HDSP Work Plan. Remember, evaluation continues for the duration of an intervention or activity.