The transformative and emancipatory potential of participatory evaluation: Reflections from a multi-methods participatory action research study with war-affected young mothers

Publication Date

March 2019

Document Type


Publication Title

Oxford Development Studies




The Participatory Action Research (PAR) study with Young Mothers in Liberia, Sierra Leone and northern Uganda which took place from 2006 to 2009 aimed to understand what ‘reintegration’ meant to young mothers formerly associated with armed groups. It also implemented social action initiatives designed by study participants to promote their wellbeing and achieve reintegration. We evaluated the study using multiple participatory evaluation methods, situating evaluation as part of the cycle of research and action. This approach facilitated young mothers’ participation in developing the criteria by which the study and its reintegration outcomes would be judged. We describe each method and what we uniquely learned from using a participatory evaluation approach. We discuss how this approach is well-suited for complex studies, can enhance data quality, increases capacity of all involved in the evaluation and supports the critical reflexivity necessary for participatory studies to succeed.


Child soldiers, post-conflict, community-based participatory research, mixed-methods, evaluation, participatory action research


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