Monday, July 16, 2012

Guest Post from Gaza

Preamble
It's Monday, I seem to have developed a head cold, and at 10 a.m. it's so muggy I'm sweating just sitting in the shade. So I'm going to give you a brief update on the state of things in the Phantzi household, and then give it over to Terry for a glimpse into his exciting life as a demi-god of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation for an international development organization. (Sounds dull, but wait 'til I post the story of his crossing over from Israel into Gaza!)

We had a pretty good weekend here, although I've realized that the hardest parts of the day for me are 1) putting G down for nap, especially since V no longer naps in the afternoons, and 2) putting the kids to bed at night. I have yet to figure out a way to do this that doesn't end in my shouting at them to just lie down and go to sleep already. Sigh. But the spaces between were good. We played a lot. More Phantzi little yarns about that soon. Over to you, Terry (with tangentially related photos from a family visit to his desk in Tirana last year):

***


There are many important skills that a good evaluator should have - they have to be able to design a process that combines generating good data with feasible capacity and logistical constraints.  They have to be good at seeing patterns in the data and being able to synthesize these patterns into useful conclusions and recommendations.  They have to be good at writing a comprehensive yet comprehensible report.  They have to be a good facilitator and so forth.

However, I think that the single most difficult skill an evaluator must master is to be able to sit one's butt in a chair for six hours interviewing people with the same questions over and over while keeping an expression on one's face that implies that they really care about what the people are saying. 
Needless to say, I'm kind of beat right now.  Just did three KIIs [Key Informant Interviews] with ADP [Area Development Project] staff from North Gaza.  I didn't actually get to leave the hotel because when the ADP manager had come to get me in the morning, I had said, well, since you're here, why don't we do our interview here and then go to the office?" - his interview took 3 hours and while we were doing it - a demonstration started in front of the WV building related to something about the PLO.  It was pretty mild as demonstrations go and the staff weren't particularly worried, but security protocol said that you can't take a foreigner around a demonstration, so I wasn't allowed to go to the office after all.  So I ended up doing all three interviews here at the hotel.

I feel a little stir crazy right now.  Have to type up the notes,but thought I would pause to drop you a line.  Actually, I paused to go upstairs and take a nap, but now I'm back and ready for putting my notes into matrixes.  Yippee! :)

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