May 2019 Newsletter
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May 2019 Newsletter

In 2016, Andrea L.K. Johnston launched the first training curriculum in Indigenous evaluation practice, titled Honouring Reconciliation in Evaluation. At Johnston Research Inc. we seek to deconstruct and decolonize the language and assumptions behind evaluation to support the unfolding of a reconciliation process that changes the ways evaluations are operationalized. Andrea has also published a series of workshop manuals on Indigenous evaluation.
In 2010, we launched the Waawiyeyaa Evaluation Tool, which is designed to encourage healing through oral tradition and storytelling. Our Waawiyeyaa Evaluation Tool is used across Canada and internationally. Grey Bruce Health Unit is using our tools with local Indigenous communities on an ongoing basis. 
Upcoming Workshops
We are excited to share an update on our progress in sharing the knowledge of the Honouring Reconciliation in Evaluation curriculum.

Ottawa June Workshops

Workshop 1

June 13th

Workshop 2

June 14th

Toronto September Workshops

Workshop 1

September 12th

Workshop 2

September 13th

Edmonton November Workshops

Workshop 1

November 14th

Workshop 2

November 15th
Upcoming Article
Andrea L.K. Johnston is in the final stages of writing an article on Indigenous evaluation.

Evaluation from a Place of Reconciliation

Convened for the Department of Justice, Government of Canada
Article to be released by July 2019

Project Title: Exploring Indigenous Evaluation/Research Approaches and Methods in the Context of Victim Services and Supports
Written by Andrea L.K. Johnston
Purpose of this paper written by Andrea L. K. Johnston: 
Working from a place of reconciliation in evaluation methodology starts with discussions on what constitutes truth. Truth occurs from many perceptions and dimensions.  Truth is the essence of what evaluation is designed to uncover. Scientific inquiry seeks to uncover the physical truths of an object it studies.  However, Indigenous peoples are challenging evaluation to go beyond the physical understanding of whether an intervention is deemed successful or not. Given the complexity of understanding truth, evaluation too must challenge itself to embrace this complexity.  By embracing the complexity of truth, evaluation can begin to operate from a place of reconciliation.  It is within the path of reconciliation practice and understanding that we can begin to truly understand why and how programs are well-oiled machines and others struggle at every corner.

Some content from the Paper:  
The communities and organizations who cannot conform well-enough to logic modelling and theory of change would likely not have their program funding proposals approved.  Evaluation thus has become a double-edged sword to communities.  And perceived as a threat, communities define it as a meaningless enterprise lacking logical reasoning when one program is defined as effective over an alternative program model.  This has laid a foundation of disconnect, and discontent in how evaluations are managed within the federal government. Federal government evaluation practice has focused on the outcomes and metrics of programs lacking an in-depth understanding of what truly makes a program effective, in the minds of communities (JRI has visited hundreds of communities over its 20 year existence and heard over and over again these sentiments towards evaluation, in the over 200 evaluations we have completed for Indigenous communities).

In Indigenous teachings, there is the idea of a Spirit of a People and a National Spirit.  There is also a global spiritual connection and even connections to the universe and across time.  The majority of current evaluations assess programs from a funder’s perspective which values the funder’s perspective over the community’s values and priorities.  The reconciliation of evaluation demands that the spiritual essence of a program is the starting point for evaluation practice (Public Safety Canada 2014, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada 2013).  Taking an approach that starts in a place of reconciliation is truly holistic and ensures that every step in the evaluation is related to this basic onset.  This beginning stage also considers many variables and factors influencing the program.  However, this exceeds the current methodology of typical evaluation practice.  But there are a few instances of evaluations from a place of reconciliation; however, there are not many and few evaluations that are based in a broader community or national context.  It is these evaluations that we want to discuss in terms of a model for the next wave of evaluation transformation.
The Waawiyeyaa Evaluation Tool

A One-Day Workshop Providing a
Complete Training Experience

Our in-house Indigenous evaluation tool enables evaluators to capture a qualitative storyboard utilizing a cultural-based learning video (available for download).  The training supports you in experiencing the tool first-hand, learning how to analyze and report on the data and transform the storyboard into a quantitative database file which can track program impacts over time.

JRI has utilized this tool to evaluate healing, justice, health, addiction, employment, mental health, education, and cultural teaching programs.  The tool’s development conversations were held with Indigenous evaluators, traditional healers, and Indigenous programs; in addition to comparisons to models of Indigenous healing journeys.

The Ojibway Word Waawiyeyaa Refers to a Circular Process that can Lead to Rebirth and Transformation.  This is a journey one travels and through reflective thought and introspection a person is able to further travel around this circular path which always lead back to the start. When a person reaches the point at which they started, introspection can occur which can then lead to rebirth and transformation, as they travel around the circle again.  Developed by Johnston Research Inc., this wholistic evaluation tool, grounded in Anishnawbe traditional knowledge, was created for use in culturally-appropriate programs for Aboriginal people seeking to make changes in their life. This self-evaluation tool provides a semi-structured process for recording program development and/or individual participant progress towards greater balance.
HRE Online Mini-Workshops
In a two-day -- half day mini-workshop series we cover in-depth training on the Waawiyeyaa Evaluation Tool and and some content from the Honouring Reconciliation in Evaluation Curriculum.  We cover a lot of ground in a short time, as this course requires 30 - 45 minutes of prep time leading up to the mini-workshop.  The prep work accelerates the learning curve and ground we can cover.  Specifically, you will learn:
  • The Tool’s Rationale and its History
  • Experience the tool – write-out your own stories
  • What to do with the Data, Review Sample Datasets
  • Hands-on scoring, step-by-step
  • Hands-on reporting, step-by-step
These mini-workshops will be offered each quarter for a price of $350.00 for the course and a surcharge of $100.00 for the Manual and resources and exercise booklets (as well as a host of other JRI tools and presentations).  The two days run from 10:30am - 2:00pm EST, with a 30-minute lunch break.

This workshop is free of charge to our clients.  The client has up to one-year to enroll in a workshop for up to 1 - 3 staff. 

Mini-Workshops Online run:
September 23 and 24, 2019 
November 25 and 26, 2019
February 24 and 25, 2020
April 27 and 28, 2020
September 28 and 29, 2020
November 23 and 24, 2020
February 22 and 23, 2021
April 26 and 27, 2021
Organizations We Work With
What Organizations are saying about JRI
We want to thank you for taking your time to participate on the Ways Tried and True Working Group meetings, and contributing to the development of the WTT Framework and identifying Ways Tried and True for sharing through the Best Practices Portal.
Nina Jetha
Manager, Canadian Best Practices Initiative

Despite tight timelines, JRI conducted a survey, analyzed the data and wrote a report that is highly regarded by our nursing colleagues as providing invaluable information in a succinct, clear, easy to read manner.
Fjola Hart Wasekeesikaw
Executive Director, Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada

Anishnawbe Health Toronto would hire Johnston Research Inc. again for Board of Director's consultations and strategic planning.
Joe Hester
Executive Director, Anishnawbe Health Toronto

From the beginning of the contract, I was impressed with the thoroughness and attention to detail, as shown in the care with which JRI put together their breadth of knowledge and sensitivity to the topic.
Senior Program Advisor, First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada
Copyright © 2019 Johnston Research, All rights reserved.

Johnston Research Inc.
172 Sherwood Ave., #104  Toronto, ON   M4P 2A8
Toll-Free: 1-886-885-9940 x1 • Tel: 416-485-4430 x1 • Fax: 416-485-4431

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