Immediately or up to one week after the field phase.
The debriefing session serves the purpose of presenting the preliminary results, conclusions and specifically also the recommendations of the evaluation. Thereby:
Make sure it is clearly communicated at the beginning of the session what the function of the debriefing is: see above. And, it is not about finger pointing! You could either open the session yourself on this note or ask the evaluator(s) or evaluation commissioner to do so.
How to do it?
Preparation: format, participants, facilitation
The participant / stakeholder composition of the debriefing meeting may differ depending on the approach of the evalu-ation and the topics to be discussed in the debriefing session. There are several options for the format of the debriefing. It can be organised as (a combination of):
If project participants form part of your primary user group, think about adequate forms of presentation, i.e. with regard to language.
The evaluator(s) present(s) an oral report, often supported by a brief PowerPoint or flipchart presentation. The presentation summarises the answers to the EQ and the major conclusions and recommendations. If the presentation is for a wider audience, it should also include brief information on the project, the context, evaluation purpose, questions and the methodology. The debriefing meeting includes the evaluator(s)’ presentation and a discussion session, where all stakeholders have the chance to ask questions and provide their observations and comments.Therefore, the evaluator(s)’ presentation should not exceed 30 minutes.
After the debriefing, a debriefing note of approximately 2-4 pages, outlining the most important preliminary findings and rec-ommendations, as well as the feedback given by the participants of the debriefing session is signed by the evaluator(s) and the evaluation manager and commissioner (and the partner organisation – if applicable). The signatures state that all signing parties are aware of the preliminary findings and recommendations. Signatures do not necessarily imply that all signatories agree with the findings. If there is any dissent regarding the evaluation results or if the evaluated stakeholders have additional comments, this is also documented in the debriefing notes.
Alternatively, the evaluator(s) can document the debriefing with a PowerPoint presentation and add stakeholders’ comments in a separate slide.
Usually, the debriefing notes are attached to the final report.
Shortly you will find inspiring and helpful good practice examples.
Who is responsible and involved?
The responsibility for preparing the contents, presenting them and facilitating the discussion as well as preparing and adapting the debriefing notes is with the evaluator(s). The evaluation manager, the evaluator(s) and the evaluation commissioner should discuss adequate formats and participants for the debriefing(s). For the internal debriefing the evaluation commissioner, primary evaluation users and the evaluation manager are mandatory participants. Depending on the strategic relevance of the evaluation, the evaluation purpose and questions it might be helpful to involve the country director and/or head of programmes (if those are not automatically included as evaluation commissioner). Think about (technical) staff both from CO and HO level when setting up the participants list for the internal debriefing. Participants of external debriefings are most likely to stem from the group of the secondary users, i.e. local authorities, local donor representatives etc.
What do I get?
The product of the debriefing is the debriefing note, stating that Welthungerhilfe has taken note of the results and documenting consent / disagreement on the results and recommendations.