Calls for evaluations in Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), in particular those of a participatory nature have stepped up in recent years. Much of this shifting discourse has emerged in response to the fact that evaluations overall remain scarce. Furthermore, very little is known about the impacts of CBR in practice and if/how it benefits persons with disabilities and their families on the ground. Nevertheless, and despite the calls for participatory approaches, the few existing efforts are too often targeted at creating standardised evaluations frequently at the expense of voice, participation and flexibility. This paper reports on a series of critical workshops held in Jamaica with CBR workers and other stakeholders, the objectives of which included discussions and reflections on emerging issues in localised, locally driven and responsive participatory evaluation frameworks. The findings highlight how participants favoured a flexible, adaptive and iterative approach that was not rigid, structured or per-determined by outsiders. Instead, they favoured an approach that created a safe space for sharing and learning, prioritised their narratives, and that was directly linked to and that fed directly into action on the ground. The paper concludes with the call for critical, engaged and bottom-up approaches that move away from control-oriented approaches in CBR towards more experimental and adaptive problem and process-oriented approaches, that embrace complexity and that are consistently responsive to an ever changing context.
Disability & the Global South (DGS), 2016, Vol. 3 No. 2