Free the Slaves is happy to introduce a remarkable new staffer who has recently joined us as the director of monitoring, learning and evaluation. Karen Snyder, Ph.D. has more than 20 years of experience in program planning, implementation and evaluation. She earned her master’s degree in public health and doctorate in biocultural anthropology at the University of Washington.
Why did she choose to join Free the Slaves? She says it’s our model for freedom.
“It’s the fact that there is a causal model in place, and indicators, and solid thinking about why we’re doing what we’re doing and how do we think we are going to measure it. And that is so many steps ahead of the way so many organizations operate,” Karen says.
In the past two years, Free the Slaves has established an eight-part data collection system to monitor the activities and successes of our front-line programs. Karen says the next step is to rigorously evaluate the data we’re collecting, and learn from it. She says that puts the “value” in evaluation.
“Evaluation is not a rubber stamp, that everything is fine, just keep doing it. It’s a process of saying how can we achieve what we’re trying to achieve in a better way. Evaluation asks the hard questions: is this making a difference, and if not, what are you going to do about it. It’s a process of being reflective,” she says.
Karen’s previous experience in Canada and the U.S. has focused on public health and the environment. She says it’s a natural fit to work now on human rights.
“My dream job has always been to use research for policy and change. When I saw this job, it resonated, because it is about people.”
Karen is originally from California and spent her childhood outside the U.S. as the daughter of a Peace Corps manager. She chuckles that one of her biggest challenges in moving from Vancouver, Canada to join Free the Slaves in Washington, D.C. is figuring out what to do with her family’s 23 pairs of skis!