This study investigates the value of participation on meeting a project\'s objectives by comparing the impact of participatory and non-participatory evaluation frameworks. We assessed HIV/AIDS projects that shared similarities in terms of objectives and implementation strategies, but differed in their evaluation strategies, in order to identify differences in the outcome of the projects on the beneficiaries. The study concentrated on documentary and interview evidence of communication-based HIV/AIDS projects. The results highlight that in spite of sociodemographic differences, consistent use of a participatory methodology created an enabling environment, in terms of implementation, for meeting a project\'s objectives (particularly improved group awareness, knowledge, attitude, empowerment, functioning and sustainability); and, in terms of evaluation, a participatory methodology better enabled the internalisation of those objectives, through activities such as focus group discussions.
Keywords: Africa, behaviour, community empowerment, HIV/AIDS interventions, monitoring and evaluation
African Journal of AIDS Research 2005, 4(2): 103–113