Brenda waits for doña Yolanda, the mother of our residents Loyda and Daniel. She would like to interview doña Yolanda as part of the external evaluation she is conducting. In the meantime she watches footage we took two years ago when Daniel and Loyda were getting acquainted with our home in preparation for joining us as residents.
As Jeroen Boggia, the Chair of Vivir Juntos, already mentioned in the last Newsletter, the Ruach Foundation is currently being evaluated to assess where we are after two years of hard work. Do we work in line with our mission? Do we meet our targets? How strong is our organisation? To what do we need to pay more attention in order to put the foundation on a stronger footing?
Brenda Tapia, who lives in Managua, has been asked to conduct this external evaluation. She is very experienced in working with organisations that support people with intellectual disabilities, and has worked herself for several non-governmental organisations. So she is very familiar with issues typical of organisations like ours. Having done several evaluations before, she is well-versed in various evaluation methods.
Last week Brenda visited us to get to know us, and in a meeting with the Board (in which I, as a non-Board member was also present) we discussed her work programme. We agreed who would be interviewed individually, who will be making the arrangements, and who will be interviewed in groups. She planned to be in Juigalpa for three days to carry out her work programme.
Work in progress
This week she conducted the interviews. Besides individual conversations there were group interviews with the home care assistants, the Ruach Board, and the representatives of the participants of our activities centre.
Today Brenda finished her interviews. Next week she will process the collected information and will write a draft evaluation report with recommendations. This will be discussed with Ruach after which she will finalize her report, not later than mid-December if everything goes according to plan.
For us this is a new, exciting and somewhat nerve-racking process. First, we must gain insight into our strengths and weaknesses; the areas we need to work on, and to ensure we all work towards the same goal. Secondly, we need to agree on how to translate the findings into a plan of action for the next period.
We are very grateful to Vivir Juntos that they offered us the opportunity for an external evaluation, because only in this way can we work towards a healthy, strong and well-rooted organisation that will live up to its promise.