Evaluation Toolkit for Breastfeeding Programs and Projects

June 2012

3.10 What skills do you need?

Page last updated: 04 November 2013

Clearly, specialist skills may be required for some more complex evaluations, or those involving detailed statistical analysis. However, for the evaluation of many current breastfeeding projects or programs, if the program manager or team has been able to identify the purpose and scope of the evaluation and determine the key evaluation questions (as described in this toolkit), they are already well-equipped to complete the evaluation tasks.

There are many resources already available to help you conduct an evaluation. The most important skills are an enquiring and analytical mind, being good with numbers, and being good with understanding people’s experiences. Different people may have different skills, which is also why it can be helpful to have several people on an evaluation team.

Stakeholders consulted as part of the development of this toolkit indicated that one of the most important skills in undertaking an evaluation is being able to capture the ‘words and feelings’ of participants, so that service users’ experiences are understood and can help to improve the program. In this case, the most important skill is being a good listener, and making sure that you are capturing the service users’ views, and not your own.

It can happen that neither supervisors nor staff are well trained in data collection, and this can have an impact on the quality of the data. Training will help in this case, as will monitoring or spot-checks on how data is being entered or analysed (Lung’aho et al 1996). More guidance on data collection is provided in section 4 of this Toolkit.