Evaluation is often thought to be most important for trainees and the training staff who plan and carry out the programme, but there are other groups which can also benefit from evaluation.
1. THP trainees
One of the groups that benefits most is the THP trainees. They will be providing health services to the communities, and they can benefit from knowing how well they are doing. Results of evaluations, particularly when healers are involved in collecting the data, can help greatly to inform them of problems with regard to the services they perform.
Evaluation data on the effectiveness of THPs has another purpose. Staff will be able to identify the most competent individuals to assist staff as trainers in future programmes and to help supervise the field activities of other THPs.
2. Trainers and programme staff
The primary staff responsible for planning and carrying out the training must know how effective their training methods and efforts are if they want to ensure that the THP trainees are learning how to provide the appropriate PHC services to communities. Also, the doctors, nurses and other health workers who collaborate on referrals, and the supervisors who follow up with the THPs' services in the communities, need to know about problems or difficulties in the training and referral system.
THPs are an excellent resource to help trainers identify problems in the training programme. They should be given the opportunity to comment on strengths and weaknesses in the training, so that trainers can make necessary adjustments in the training content or methods.
Planners and administrators who set priorities, plan health programmes and allocate resources for their agencies' programmes, must have adequate data to determine the effectiveness of these programmes and to justify the use of public or private monies to continue them. Evaluation helps planners decide upon future approaches to the training and utilization of THPs. If planners have evaluation data which shows that training programmes are effective at enabling healers to extend services to communities, they are much more likely to continue supporting, and even expanding, training efforts than if no such data are available.
4. Community members
Experience has shown that when members of a community participate in an evaluation, whether they are asked to provide feedback about how successfully a project is going or whether they are engaged as data gatherers, results are very positive. Community member involvement can serve to increase the community's awareness and understanding of the nature of the project and of the kinds of health services they will receive. Moreover, when community members are asked to assist in evaluating health programmes, they become more committed to participating in the programmes.
5. Funding agencies
The agencies which grant the money for training projects, such as private nonprofit foundations, government ministries, or NGOs, want and need to know if the programme is worthwhile. They also must know whether the money is being spent wisely, and the programme objectives are being accomplished. Having good evaluation data fulfils a major requirement of being accountable with money and is one of the best ways to assure a funding agency that their money is being well spent in terms of benefits to the community. Providing this kind of data increases chances that the agency will continue funding the project.