Tewa Women United

Changing Times Project

Refining and Resourcing TWU’s Evaluation Approach

In 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tewa Women United embarked on a three year process to explore, refine and resource the organization’s approach to evaluation. This presentation summarizes and shares the results of that effort. We hope it can be helpful to the community at large, to TWU staff as they reflect on their aims and programming, and to outside evaluators and researchers interested in working with the organization.

Naturally, this project began by listening to community members. We conducted a strengths and needs assessment that asked, how are you? What do you need? What sustains you? How can TWU programming better address the strengths and needs of the community, right now and moving forward? You can find the public report here.

At the center of any effective evaluation are the right questions. As a multi-issue organization, Tewa Women United has participated in countless evaluations that focus on individual programs. But which cross-program elements are essential to TWU’s comprehensive approach to change? In conversations with staff and leadership and trusted partners, and by delving into documentation from TWU’s 30+ year history, we co-created a set of organization-wide core questions and clarifying statements. Explore them here.

Over the years, Tewa Women United has developed and refined a research methodology that centers Tewa values and the lived experience of Indigenous women and girls. Building from that, this project embarked on an effort to co-create and begin implementing an evaluation toolkit to guide and resource staff. The initial toolkit, here, has grown into staff-informed protocols, organization-wide evaluation cycles, shared templates and more. It continues to grow, inspired by the needs and contributions of staff members.

Finally, TWU sought to clarify the alignment in purpose, values, and processes they look for in potential partners for research or evaluation. Co-created with the expertise of Tewa Women United’s leadership team and those they have worked with, this guide can help prospective partners ground themselves in TWU’s approach. Please find the results here.

This project has been a collaboration between Tewa Women United, Ampersand, and Florezca, with valuable contributions from many more people than we can adequately thank here. Please know how deeply we appreciate you all.

Listening to Community

2021 Strengths & Needs Assessment Findings

We are grateful for the wisdom and the profound stories shared with us. Each story is valid, valuable and cherished. For the team who explored the data in depth, one overarching story came through most clearly.

This strong community, facing wicked challenges, deserves great care so people may thrive. We must heal from racial injustice, navigate the new demands of a virtual world, and work locally and beyond to create positive change.

We offer this story in the pages of this report, with respect and with openness to many different ways of understanding. The image below condenses the three main recommendations to move forward.

TWU’s Core Questions

What do we want to know? – Evaluation questions & clarifying statements

All of Tewa Women United’s work happens as part of and within the context of community. The work is guided by Tewa values, connects with ancestral wisdom, is nurtured by and responsive to spirit, and honors the dreamspace.

Within that context, and acknowledging that guidance and support, TWU seeks to understand how well their work aligns with their intentions, and to assess the value of their work in community.

TWU’s visionary constructs, illustrated below, offer guidance and potential assessment approaches. This section identifies four fundamental questions TWU can ask to document and assess the organization’s alignment with its core values and praxis framework. Each question includes clarifying statements, meant to shed light on the different ways those values may be expressed.

Toolkit for Staff

Cycles of reflection and renewal

Working directly with TWU staff, Amanda Flores of Florezca created a living toolkit to guide and resource internal evaluation efforts. The aim was to demystify the purpose and processes of evaluation, and to create space for growth in practices over time and across programs. The toolkit includes information about the field of Indigenous Evaluation as well as TWU-specific protocols, practices and resources. We hope this will be a site that can be updated continually and provide support to TWU staff long into the future.

For External Partners

TWU’s Approach to Research & Evaluation

If you are new to the work of Tewa Women United, welcome! We suggest you visit their website, subscribe to their newsletters, and explore various ways they share their efforts and understandings with the world. Even if your interest stems from a particular project or issue, you’ll benefit from learning more about the ways TWU weaves reproductive justice, environmental justice, gender justice and healing justice into everything they do. Then, read on to see if you/your organization is a good match to partner with Tewa Women United on research and/or evaluation. If their approach resonates with your own, please reach out to explore potential opportunities to collaborate.


Listening to the Community

TWU’s Core Questions

Toolkit for Staff

For External Partners