This Girls Group Mentoring Toolkit provides the tools, resources and support to create, implement, deliver and evaluate a quality group mentoring program for girls, ages 9-13, in your community. The Toolkit is intended to be used in a range of communities, and can be adapted to the unique values, needs, strengths and challenges that each community encompasses.
“Many programs back away from evaluation because they find it overwhelming, they do not know where to start, or because it is not valued as a management or decision-making tool. Sometimes, just the day-to-day tasks of keeping a program running can keep you so busy that there never seems to be any time for it. However, evaluation is important because it helps you better understand what your program does and does not do for the girls who participate, and allows you to be able to tell that story with confidence and evidence to other people (whether they be parents, donors, or other partners).”
- Austrian & Ghati (2010)
Evaluation is about being intentional when reflecting on what is working and what can be improved. Information from the evaluation can be used to share the program’s story—what it is about and how it worked when you implemented your logic model and tested the theory of change statement. Evaluation can also tell the story of the impact of your program for the mentees as well as for the mentors and the larger community. It is very important to be mindful of the story of your learning journey—what you learned about group mentoring, as well as what you learned about the girls, volunteers and partners in your community. Documenting your learning journey is particularly helpful when you are implementing a new program or a program innovation.
Evaluation has two primary components: process evaluation and outcomes evaluation. Process evaluation involves recording what happened as you implemented your program plan, and your observations on why those things occurred. Unforeseen events can often occur; things not going “according to plan” are important learning opportunities to refine your program model or practices. Outcome evaluation looks at the degree to which outcomes were achieved, and the results or impacts of the program.
As part of the evaluation you will be recording data and generating information that describes what you saw, experienced and learned in your program. This data collection and analysis also enables you to better understand and communicate the value that your program contributes to your community. By systematically collecting information about the program, you will be equipped to communicate with and educate those interested in your program as to why they should continue to support it (e.g. mentors, mentees, parents, your program and agency managers, funders, community stakeholders or champions like school principals, social workers or recreation staff).