Evaluation survey of CADWAGO
At the end of the CADWAGO project, all participants who had been involved in the process were asked to participate in a final evaluation activity to summarise what they felt had been the outcomes of the entire project. In total 16 responses were received from participants working in local government (1), national government (1), NGO’s (2) and University or research organisations. (13). 12 of the 16 participants had worked on CADWAGO as a researcher. All 16 respondents had attended one or more of the governance learning events held in Uppsala, London and Sassari, with six individuals having attended all three. In addition, 9 individuals had attended additional learning events held in the UK, Sweden, Australia and Canada.
During the events they had attended, all 16 respondents agreed that that they felt the other participants had taken note of their contributions. People commented that participants were “engaged” and “open” and that they had listened to other participants. They commented that they felt that they were “appreciated” and “valued” and that their “position was considered”. It was felt that good discussions had been had and that these had led to other discussions outside of the formal meetings, which had led to further collaborations.
The majority of respondents who fed back agreed that during the workshop discussions there was a sense of openness amongst participants in sharing information, experiences and learning. “It was interesting to see how people from different worlds took each other’s input seriously,” praised one respondent. This openness was attributed to both the “willingness” and character of the stakeholders in attendance, “a generosity”, and “honesty” as two individuals commented, and to the design of the meetings themselves, which it was felt “ensured that everybody had the opportunity to contribute and learn from the CADWAGO experiences”. In addition the workshops were praised for their ability to enable topics that may have potentially caused tension, to be discussed in a relaxed manner.
When asked if respondents felt they had learnt anything from participating in the CADWAGO project, the responses received were a resounding yes, “the CADWAGO events were a great learning experience” congratulated one respondent. Specific areas discussed included understanding and insight gained into:
- A variety of water governance, water security, food security and water quality issues and the academic thinking and terminology behind them.
- A framework of reference into how others had overcome similar issues including a range of different theories, methodologies and social science approaches from a rich variety of settings.
- The metrics for systemic governance, and more specifically as one respondent argued, “how metrics for systemic governance is still poorly developed”.
- The importance of developing participatory methodologies to investigate complex situations in which multiple actors have a role / stake.
In regards specifically to whether or not respondents felt they had learnt anything about the theoretical concepts used in the events they had participated in, answers given discussed:
- The concept of governance, which to some participants was completely new. In particular the dilemmas within any governance situation. One respondent highlighted the opportunity they had had to “combine theoretical learning with practical governance examples by the different participating stakeholders”.
- Concepts of prioritization and power, securitization and using a governance lens to look at natural resource management issues, “all incredibly useful in other work I’ve been involved in”.
- The comparison between water governance as a collaborative process vs. water policy as a government directed approach
- The potential conflict between a capitals model and systematic praxis model
- Opportunities to consolidate the relevance of social learning theories for supporting sustainable water governance.
- How people think on a detailed vs. big picture level. What was highlighted specifically was that people might be speaking at odds because they have a different frame of reference and see different opportunities.
- The possible constraints to learning, in particular “the need for a careful design of the situations, in order to facilitate direct perceptual learning”.
- The systems thinking approach, “as a prioritization and goal setting (and understanding) tool”.
In regards specifically to what people thought they had learnt about the methods used and described in the events they had participated in, people referred to:
- Specific methods they had learnt such as conversation mapping and La Rasgioni.
- Their direct experience of their application: “simple clear processes that build from one step to the next tend to work better than complex processes of synthesis”, “important not to loose people along the way”, “the follow up of learning events is most effective when designed as built in the event”, “that messy is ok, ….. I must not be so prescriptive….”
When asked if people had applied what they had learnt since the events, applications were widespread: “rich paper methods in workshops”, “scoping a paper on the limitation of natural capital framing in the EU”, “in the workplace”, “in my current research projects”, “in fieldwork interviews”, “in a La Rasgioni event”, “to secure funding”, “to better understand how different stakeholders can engage in RBMP”, “in building new research proposals” and “in influencing work colleagues”.
The legacy of CADWAGO, according to respondents will hopefully be extensive.
- The relationships that have developed will result in a collaborative approach to sustainable water management and governance, which will significantly improve its effectiveness.
- The discourse around systemic governance of water catchments will be enhanced and important contributions to resilience and climate change discourses will also occur.
- Papers will be produced which will in turn have an influence on the academic community
- The project will be continued in some form
In regard to the networking that the CADWAGO workshops had encouraged: 13 people agreed that they had met new people from new organisations, 6 people agreed they had met people from organisations that they knew already, and 5 people agreed that CADWAGO had helped them reconnect with people they already knew. 6 people answered that the workshops had resulted in new collaborations, which had resulted in joint publications, new research papers, continuing conversations and better relationships with other stakeholders.
A final response from CADWAGO management
The CADWAGO team would like to thank everyone who participated at the events, through the case study work and in partnerships with the researchers. This project would not have been as successful as it was without the critical input from all of you.