The right of Indigenous peoples to self-determination has significant implications for evaluating policies and programs that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and experts are showing the way.
In this article we take a look at the evaluation of policies and programs affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We share some of the perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, evaluators and civil servants that we’ve worked with and/or interviewed for this article, on how evaluation practice needs to change, consistent with the right of Indigenous self-determination.
The article is structured with reference to five areas for improvement:
- Evaluation commissioners should invest in more and better evaluations to build a stronger evidence base
- Evaluation commissioners and evaluators should ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people take the lead in defining what ‘successful’ policies and programs look like
- Evaluators should use genuinely participatory and culturally appropriate methods for gathering data and consulting community (and evaluation commissioners need to pay for these methods)
- Evaluation commissioners should invest in building the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations in evaluation, learning and improvement – not just funding external evaluations for compliance and funding acquittals
- Evaluation commissioners and evaluators should ensure evaluations collect information about strengths, opportunities and existing resources.
This is the second in a series of articles in which we explore the role of data and evidence of what works in delivering improved outcomes for and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The first article explored the importance of data sovereignty – Indigenous peoples and organisations having control over how data is defined, collected and used – for improving outcomes.