…outdated, unoriginal, uninspired, and boring. When program evaluation demonstrates that a program has made a human or social impact, it is sometimes labeled as evidence-based. Evidence-based programs are packaged, sometimes commodified, and ‘sold’ — either literally or figuratively — as proven solutions. Other organizations are encouraged to adopt evidence-based programs with full fidelity to the original program design.
This process fully obscures the many contextual/environmental factors that contribute to the achievement of outcomes in pilot sites. It also assumes that the environment is fully controlled so that the impact of the program can be isolated from other influencing variables. It further postulates that what works in and is appropriate for one particular time and place is universally applicable.
I prefer to develop creative programs, co-designed with representatives from the entire community, based on their perception of needs and potential. Not only is this much more fun, it promotes community-led visioning and unique, innovative program design.