Project evaluation is a participatory process where different levels of participators play various roles in ensuring successful project analysis outcome as well as oversee the decision-making process based on the evaluated findings (Young, 2013). Nonetheless, participation levels are not equal for everyone associated with the process. Rather, they differ depending on the degree of a stakeholder’s direct or indirect involvement. Similarly and as Patton (2008) notes, in the utilization-focused evaluation, the approach is judged on the usefulness of the assessment to the intended users, which makes it necessary first to identify the stakeholders and ensure that they are involved in guiding all the decisions made during the process. Instead of focusing on the general and abstract users, the utilization-focused evaluation focuses on specific users. In this context, it is vital to identify the stakeholders accurately and set their participation expectations during the assessment process.
Stakeholders, Roles, and Interests
In the project evaluation and implementation, governments are the lead actors and have a responsibility to ensure that the reintegration of processes at the strategic levels is successful. Usually, their primary tasks will be to ensure that proper legal framework is in place and offer guidance in the design and implementation of the rehabilitation of ex-offenders programs. Along with that, their interests in the program involve enhancing good governance and protection of human rights among other legal frameworks that may arise.
Civil Societies and NGOs
Essentially, the government cannot solely ensure the complete reintegration of individuals into the society. During the evaluation process, non-governmental organizations and civil societies will help in independent research concerning the rehabilitation and aftercare programs. Civil societies and NGO can be extremely crucial partners to collaborate with in during the implementation of the program in that; they offer an extensive network providing different types of assistance and in a coordinated method.
Families of the Ex-offenders
Families are vital in the reintegration and the aftercare process, and it is important to involve them from the start. The process of involving family members as early as possible can help avert some of the problems that may arise, especially if they refuse to support the rehabilitation of the beneficiaries. Along with that, they can assist in monitoring the individual after release and will also carry the biggest responsibility of getting the recipient accepted into the mainstream society.
The communities involve the local people around the location where the rehabilitation center will be located, educational, and religious institutions. Communities as stakeholders in the evaluation process can help in creating a better understanding of various issues that may help minimize the vulnerability of members of the community to becoming offenders in the first place. During the implementation of the program, these people play a critically important role because they will be the ones trusting the beneficiary and help them in fitting back into the mainstream society.
The rehabilitation process is often a triangular relationship that involves victims, offenders, and the community. The argument behind rehabilitation of ex-offenders is that crime, is in essence, the relationship breaker and interventions can heal the rapture (Ward, Fox & Garber, 2015.). Unfortunately, the victims who most of the times involve the families and the community find it hard accepting the offender. Ethical issues arise when the families and the communities fail to hold up to their responsibility and stigmatize the ex-offender or become adamant about allowing them back into the mainstream society.
Meeting the needs of the Stakeholders
From the onset, it is clear that the key stakeholders are committed to using the evaluation process to ensure proper design and implementation of the reintegration and aftercare program. In order to make sure that their needs are met, during the evaluation process, there will be a meeting with all the stakeholders whereby they will be able to raise their concerns, identify strengths, weakness, and areas of improvement for the project.
Importance of the Evaluation
Evaluation critically examines a program and helps in the collection and analysis of information regarding the activities, characteristics, and outcomes of the program. The evaluation will contribute to making an informed judgment about the project and improve its effectiveness.
Any Potential Changes
The process of identifying stakeholders helped in highlighting some issues to the surface and the various options for enhancing the project effectiveness. For instance, it is now clear that having an external, independent, and informed evaluator such as the civil societies or NGO is particularly important for unbiased results.
Patton, M. Q. (2008). Utilization-focused evaluation. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Ward, T., Fox, K. J., & Garber, M. (2015). Restorative justice, offender rehabilitation, and desistance. Restorative Justice, 2(1), pp. 24-42.
Young, T. L. (2013). Successful project management. London; Philadelphia, PA: Kogan Page Limited.
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