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Creating an effective Self Assessment Framework while applying CLCP to other life issues

I want to share an experience on creating a new framework and would like your input on my main question: when is a framework most effective?


Creating a Self Assessment Framework in Surinam

We're applying the CLCP to WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) in 16 villages in Surinam. During the first week of the project we transfered the process to 30 trainers and facilitators. During this week we also created the WASH Self Assessment Framework. This is the first time CLCP is applied to WASH so we had no reference Framework. We felt this to be a benefit as we needed to create from scratch and the group took total ownership. Jean Louis shared with us at a later time that he had done the same thing recently - starting from scratch - even with a HIV/Aids Framework. In his positive experiences it worked very well to then share a framework that was created by another community. The group  used it to build on their own framework and they could for instance add practices they didn't think of before. This way the framework would get more profound.


Reflections on the created framework

Here is the framework that we created: WASH%20Self%20Assessment%20Framework.docx. You'll notice that the practices are worded more like "things" than as verbs or behaviors. During our 2nd fieldvisit 3 months later we noticed that the practices created by the community-facilitators were named simply Water, Toilets, Waste and Hygiene. This worked well for the first priorities of the villages: building/fixing their water system, toilets and waste disposal holes.A village either has these things or it doesn't. So in effect there are only 2 levels really: 1 and 5. The descriptions of the practices didn't invite deeper discussions on continued access to clean water for all nor a discussion on waste management including selecting what to burn, bury or organise for transport. We did spend time talking about this as we asked them questions about it, but it wasn't reflected as such in the framework.


Effective Frameworks

Here I need your comments. We already had some reflections on the effectiveness of a Self Assessment Framework:

"If it allows them to take action towards their dream then it is a 'good' self assessment."

"I believe a short sentence or phrase with an active verb in is a better definition of a practice than a single word"

"It's useful as long as they own it themselves"

My take on it is that we as facilitators could push a little more when talking about the dream and what we need to do in order to live that dream (see next paragraph). While we're well underway in this project the Surinam the villages can still develop their own framework in the future and incorparate the parts of their dream they didn't think of first into their Self Assessment Framework and do a new self assessment. And then continue the cycle.


Tips for creating a framework

In the attached document some valuable remarks are made about creating the framework. Questions that help obtaining useful practices are: What do we need to do to arrive at the dream? What is stopping us from reaching the dream at the moment? What can we do to remove these barriers? How%20to%20create%20a%20Self%20Assessment%20framework.docx



If you have any thoughts on this or good experience I'd love to hear it. Also if your experience is to start with an existing Framework and you notice the community will take ownership. How does that work? Learning about this enables my and our application of CLCP to WASH and other life issues.


All the best,

Boris Alberda



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Comment by Geoff Parcell on August 18, 2011 at 2:02pm

Hi Boris

The main aim of the self-assessment framework is to provide a prompt for a conversation that will get a community or organisation to recognise their strengths and identify practices to improve so they own an action plan. It is therefore helpful to think of the elements of the framework as practices to build competence in. It provides a common language and the breadth of practices for people to share experiences about.  I have produced a number of self-assessment frameworks on a variety of topics. There are no right frameworks only agreed frameworks. 


Ownership of the resulting action plan is key and this may or may not require creating the framework for themselves. Certainly the activity of creating the framework creates a useful discussion which leads to learning and improvement in response immediately. Allowing to dream what their community could be like and then relating this to the practices of an existing framework is a powerful way for people to understand where the practices of the framework came from and hence encourage ownership.


Step 1 in the process is for a community to learn from the experience of others in the same community. At this stage a local framework can be used. Step 2 is to learn from the experience of other communities at which stage a shared framework is required.  If the community is to benefit from global experiences then a common framework works well. I never cease to be amazed by the different conversations that can be generated from the same framework. They are relevant to the experiences and context of the group discussing it. The self-assessment for HIV/ AIDS has been used around the world, by rural villages, cities, companies, and UN agencies to assess themselves. The lessons learned have been adapted to local context.


The first HIV/ AIDS self-assessment framework took about 3 months to settle into something stable. One was created  and then modified. It was used on a different continent and amended some more. People contributed to it via the web until the practices and the words settled into something that was acceptable. For those that wanted to adapt it to their own context we encouraged them to use the ten common practices and add others once they had discussed these 10. Most people found there was scope to discuss the topics for their own context within the ten practices.


I have written a book about the whole process with step by step guidance. If you go to No More Consultants then you'll find example self-assessment frameworks for Effective Meetings, for Knowledge Management, and for Human flu pandemics. They may give you some inspiration.  We all go to meetings and wish they were better. Try out the self-assessment with your team and see whether you can use it as is or if they need to create their own to gain ownership. As I said before I believe it is important to own the action plan to improve more than owning the framework.


Hope this helps





Comment by Gaston on August 18, 2011 at 7:43am
I really enjoyed reading this posting that shows the learning process towards making a really good framework. We just had a session in Chiang Mai about this 'step in the process' of developing a self-assessment framework. This is extremely valuable information, which will be fed into the new version of Blended Learning. Thank you Boris.
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on August 15, 2011 at 8:13pm

Hey Boris,


I am currently reading a book and wanted to cite a quote by Norman Uphoff- "If the process of self-evaluation is carried out regularly and openly, with all group members, participating, the answers they arrive at are in themselves not so important as what is learned from the discussion and from the process of reaching the consensus..."  Just wanted to share to re-inforce what we discussed today.


Will come back later to this blog:-)



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