Research & Tools

Results from the inroads Network Evaluation

Posted 23 September 2016 12:00 AM by The inroads Team

The inroads’ team is excited to be sharing with you the results from the first ever external evaluation of inroads connectivity, health, and results. 149 inroads members completed an online survey in February and March 2016. Others of you were generous enough to participate in in-depth interviewers. Below are the findings and recommendations from this evaluation, as well as findings from other monitoring and evaluation activities we have undertaken, including event-specific evaluations and a dedicated session at the inroads Global Member Gathering. Here, we are focusing on what we’ve heard from the evaluation and from you as members about what we as network staff can do to support an active, engaged and vibrant global network.

We were fortunate to have the support of two external evaluators in this effort. Judy Gold was formerly on the inroads Steering Committee. She stepped out of that role a year ago. While she was missed in that capacity, she was available to conduct this evaluation. She partnered with Gillian Eva to form the inroads evaluation team. We have archived the detailed report of the methods, findings, and recommendations on the inroads Collaboration Workspace library.

The inroads Co-conveners, Kati LeTourneau and Katie Gillum, worked closely with Gillian and Judy to develop an evaluation framework, informed by this framework that focuses on the three pillars of network connectivity (membership and connections between them), network health (the resources and infrastructure in place), and network results (interim outcomes and intended impact).

The report goes into great detail and a November 1st Webinar will present a summary of the findings. Here are some top level recommendations generated by the external evaluation:

Inroads Secretariat staff should

  • Take specific actions to ensure members are aware of other inroads members, their activities and the outcomes of these activities
  • Take all opportunities to communicate individually with members
  • Facilitate opportunities for smaller sub-groupings of members to communicate based on geographical location and topic
  • Make the online discussions more accessible
  • Introduce additional mechanisms for ongoing monitoring of inroads to better monitor progress of the network and inform future network evaluations
  • Increase the role of the steering committee in the network by identifying where steering committee member can more regularly contribute to network activities, particularly in terms of facilitating connections between members within their region
  • Directly fund collaboration of inroads members
  • Facilitate a joint activity from members on a regional or global scale
  • Conduct another evaluation of the network at the end of the current phase of funding

We also conducted specific sessions with members who attended the global member gathering to learn more about what members prioritized as activities and efforts of the network, and specifically the network staff:

  • Conduct periodic topical web-based gatherings
  • Provide support and infrastructure for inroads member-to-member technical support
  • Support language-specific ways of communicate
  • Fund member activities to reduce stigma and evaluate those interventions
  • Hold annual global member gathering and regional gatherings
  • Track other funding opportunities
  • Support international solidarity actions
  • Curate and develop tools to reduce stigma
  • Define network membership and ways to join
  • Actively use social media
  • Amplify member actions and voices

So, what are inroads staff doing with this? You may have already seen some of the efforts:

  • Increasing activity featuring members and what they are doing on the Making inroads blog and on inroads Facebook and Twitter
  • Sharing about new blog posts and inviting discussion on the inroads Collaboration Workspace listserv
  • An emphasis on inroads member collaboration in the review criteria for inroads Partnership Fund grants
  • Calling for an inroads member review panel to feed directly into the selection process for inroads Partnership Fund grants
  • Soft-launching a mechanism for inroads members to request technical support or funding to share their work about stigma at other conferences and meetings
  • Content on our website about network membership and joining inroads

And there is more to come! Stay tuned for announcements about applying to be on the next inroads Steering Committee, opportunities for inroads Partnership Fund-supported seed grants, the monthly webinars series, a regional member gathering in Africa, a Spanish-language listserv and online community, and more! We are committed to continuing to learn from you, the members, in order to set up structures and content that help you connect with each other and move forward your work to understand and eliminate abortion stigma and discrimination.

To build on the success and high participation in this evaluation, we look forward to upcoming meetings where we can delve into the issues of how network members want to be more active and create more connections with other network members. We are grateful for the way that members have gotten so engaged with the network and giving feedback and input. We can’t wait for the next gatherings and evaluations where we’ll get new insights into the network and how we can all work together.

Learn more about these evaluation findings and our plans to address them by watching the video below:

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