Mark your diary! February 27th London Critical Global Health Seminar “The politics and pragmatics of evaluation: deciding, demonstrating and transferring the value of global health practice “

The politics and pragmatics of evaluation: deciding, demonstrating and transferring the value of global health practice | Speakers: Heather McMullen (QMUL), Mark Petticrew (LSHTM) and Audrey Prost (LSHTM) | Chair: Dave McCoy (QMUL)


When: 4-6 pm, 27 February 2018

Where: Lower Meeting Room, London International Centre for Development, 36 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

According to the evaluation anthropologist Mary Odell-Butler ‘Evaluation is a scientific endeavour conducted for the purpose of describing the worth, value, and/or effectiveness of some activity directed to serving a human need or solving a human problem.’ Evaluation is a core component of global health and the practice of purchasing or contracting out services – it enables providers, beneficiaries and funders to articulate the effectiveness of, often complex and deeply situated, health projects and programmes. Therefore, evaluation is also a mechanism though which the income of non-governmental health providers is decided.

However, demonstrating and transferring the value and effectiveness of such projects and programmes can be tricky. Value and effectiveness often mean different things to those who design/deliver health programmes, those who fund them and those who are supposed to benefit from them. Moreover, such diverse interpretations of value and effectiveness are often associated with different methods and languages of measurement and valuation. In this sense practices of evaluation provide a means of exploring tensions that underpin the political, ethical and epistemological dimensions of global public health practice.

In this seminar we will bring together three global health scholars and practitioners to reflect on their experience of project and programme evaluation. In doing so we will attempt to map out common themes associated with evaluation and possible directions for a programme of research focused on evaluation activity.

The London Critical Global Health Seminars: Organised by King’s College London, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary University of London in collaboration with the London International Development Centre, the London Critical Global Health Seminars bring together critically-minded social scientists, public health experts and practitioners together to debate key areas of concern for global health today and reflect on how these should be approached and explored. The seminars are organised as a platform for social scientists working in the field to present and reflect on their current and planned research in discussion with the chair-discussant and the audience. More broadly, the aim of the series is to provide a forum to discuss emerging contradictions and frictions in global health research and policy as well as the challenges and opportunities these present to social scientific inquiry. Through open-ended and candid exchange on the experiences of working in the global health field, we seek to develop new avenues for critical thought in the social sciences and beyond. 

For further information, please contact one of the organisers: Dr Clare Chandler (, Dr Megan Clinch (, Dr Ann Kelly (, Dr Melissa Parker (, Dr John Manton ( and Dr David Reubi (

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