Presented at European Evaluation Society conference in October 2018
School-based Data Collection in the Context of an Earthquake:
Evaluation of a Comprehensive Sexuality Education Program in Mexico City
S. Makleff, J. Garduño, I. Zavala, P. Rivera, F. Barindelli, C. Marston
International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR), Fundación Mexicana para la Planeación Familiar (Mexfam), and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) collaborated on a study evaluating the school-based comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) intervention developed by Mexfam and implemented by the organization’s “Gente Joven” (“Young People”) program. The mixed method process evaluation examines whether and how CSE contributes to the prevention of dating violence, shifts in gender norms, and more equitable relationships among 14- to 17-year-old public school studentsin Mexico City.
The evaluation uses a longitudinal quasi-experimental design in one intervention and one control group. Data collection methods include a pre-post survey; longitudinal qualitative interviews with intervention participants; endline focus groups in both intervention and control groups; endline in-depth interviews with intervention participants; and endline focus groups with teachers and “Gente Joven” health educators.
In 2017, the CSE intervention was piloted from February to June and implemented from September to December. On September 7th and 19th there were two powerful earthquakes in Central Mexico, interrupting the CSE intervention and baseline data collection for the evaluation. Several weeks of school closures led to uncertainty about whether the semester would continue and if the intervention and evaluation study could be completed.
When the school reopened, Mexfam completed baseline survey implementation, although the timing differed significantly across study participants, and there were additional challenges such as youth leaders influencing levels of participation of other students. Mexfam continued the CSE intervention with some adjustments. First, to address anxiety among students after the earthquake, the “Gente Joven” educators repeated the process of building trust in the group and setting ground rules. The contents of the intervention were also compressed into fewer hours, while keeping all critical contents. These implementation changes were compounded by challenges recruiting participants, particularly young men, and scheduling interviews. In this presentation, I will reflect on how the adjustments to intervention implementation and the data collection timeline in the emerging post-earthquake context may have influenced evaluation rigorand the potential utilization of findings, in this case increasing the relative importance of the qualitative data.