Monitoring, Evaluation, Holidays and Poetry

I recently received a holiday greeting from a colleague working in monitoring and evaluation (Kylie Hutchinson of Community Solutions). The poem she wrote is brilliant and I want to share it with you!

It Came From Using a Systems Lens
It came from using a systems lens,
Such insights so glorious – behold!
This program in its entirety,
Is really a part of a whole.
So often when we evaluate,
We think only outputs, outcomes,
And fail to see the complexity,
The system from which it comes.

Consider the interactions,
Within and between system parts,
They help or hinder the outcomes,
Ignoring them isn’t smart.
Look at the interrelationships,
Of policies, patterns, and norms,
These interact with the program,
And impact how it performs.

Three interconnected elements,
Can help show you where to begin,
They’re Boundaries and Relationships,
And Perspectives within.
A deeper look at these elements,
Will open up more leverage points,
If you are looking for system change,
These actions won’t disappoint.

But how to choose what to include?
What’s evaluated or not?
Your framing is quite critical,
Requiring some thought.
Be conscious of what is left out,
Think of the three factors above,
And how they impact your outcomes,
The influences thereof.

Why do we bother with systems?
When logic models are so nice?
Well life is not really linear,
They clearly can’t suffice.
We’re living in a complex world,
Simple answers rarely exist,
It’s only through complexity,
That we can learn what we missed.

And this is a great opportunity to wish friends, family and colleagues a very happy holiday and New Year.  I have many blog posts turning in my mind and will work on getting them posted in the near future.  Namaste from Kathmandu!

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