With 2015 just a few weeks away, I’ve been thinking about what this new year represents. If you’re into Chinese astrology, maybe you know that it is the Year of the Goat/Sheep, which represents a symbol of peace, harmonious co-existence and tranquility.  Or if you are into science and engineering, you may be eagerly anticipating 2015 as the International Year of Light, highlighting the importance of light and optical technologies in our lives and future. And guess what else? 2015 is the International Year of Soils, — think “healthy soils for a healthy life.”
But do you know why I am really excited? Because 2015 is …………………………

The International Year of Evaluation!!!!

There couldn’t be a better time to celebrate evaluation as a blossoming profession that examines how well programs and policies are making an impact on our lives.  With all the unrest in the world, evaluation brings people together to work toward solving global problems and making the world a better place now and in the future.  Evaluation helps government organizations, nonprofits and businesses focus their efforts on what is really working.

Good evaluation information will help you make decisions, establish effective policies, and plan and improve programs.  If you rely on grant funding to support your organization, you need to have solid methods for evaluating your effectiveness. But you shouldn’t evaluate programs only because your funder wants you to – evaluation should be an integral part of how you do business.

The Year of Evaluation logo is available in any language you can imagine, attesting to the widespread application of evaluation in countries throughout the world. Joining lead organization EvalPartners, collaborators range from the American Evaluation Association and UNICEF to the European Evaluation Society, The Thailand Evaluation Network and the African Development Bank Group.

So as 2015 approaches, please join me and my colleagues throughout the world in observing the International Year of Evaluation. Check out the events that will be happening all over the world. Think about what your organization needs to evaluate this year to help you grow and thrive and make ongoing evaluation a part of your strategic plan.  And as you celebrate goats, light and soil this year, also remember to celebrate the wonderful world of EVALUATION!!