This webinar brought together practitioners, researchers and experts who have been involved in working on building gender into country level M&E systems. They shared key insights on barriers and enablers to engendering M&E systems by describing the level of gender-responsiveness in key policies and processes in selected African countries and they described how gender dynamics play out in national systems, and what efforts are needed to mainstream gender equality . Click here to view the webinar on our youtube channel…
Representatives from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, The East African Legislative Assembly, South Africa, Malawi, and Ghana have called for improved research and evidence use in African Parliaments. They were hosted by the Parliament of Uganda for a workshop on research and evidence use in the Parliament Context.
Members of the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) have launched a Global Campaign for Gender Equality and Social Equity in Evaluation following the association’s annual event held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire during March.
Participants at the event backed a new 12-point declaration, committing to strengthening evaluation culture and practice on the continent and, in particular, enhancing efforts aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and the “leave no one behind” principle. “Any time we evaluators ignore the inequities that permeate societies, evaluation fails to achieve its purpose,” the statement said.
“We expect each evaluator and organisation representing a constituency, including AfrEA and other national and regional Voluntary Organisations for Professional Evaluation [VOPES] to define and commit to specific actions to advance gender and equity in evaluation. We as an evaluation community are calling on all evaluators to integrate gender and equity dimensions into all evaluations, regardless of sector, scope or purpose.”
AfrEA has again committed to continue supporting individual evaluators, national evaluation associations, institutions, networks and partners to debate, analyse, disseminate and make constructive use of evaluation information, products and services for the betterment of Africa and the global community. The 12-point declaration further entrenches these values.
The event, which brought together representatives of governments, parliaments, development partners, associations, networks and civil society, saw the sharing of the AfrEA vision: An Africa rooted in a culture of evaluation for equitable and sustainable development.
Twende Mbele, one of the event’s supporters, used the event as an opportunity to bring parliamentarians together for a peer learning symposium. The parliamentarians were encouraged and taught to share ideas between and within parliaments on how to better use evidence in parliamentary spaces. Participants discussed the contextual issues that may affect M&E and evidence systems within their parliaments, and discussed potential approaches to reform.
Twende Mbele has partnered with the Centre of Learning on Evaluation and Result Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA) since 2016 on regional peer learning programmes, which included a workshop focusing on the use of evidence in the parliamentary context hosted by the Parliament of Uganda (Click to know more).
Le cours de formation et de mise en œuvre de politiques et de mise en œuvre de politiques fondé sur des bases factuelles, organisé au Bénin en décembre dernier, a attiré les plus hauts responsables et responsables gouvernementaux. C’était la première fois que nous adaptions le cours à un environnement francophone et nous étions ravis de voir le grand accueil des hauts responsables gouvernementaux au Bénin et au Niger. Click here for newsletter…
Over the years there has been a shift in the use of evaluations, from a donor dominated space to, in recent years, an increased use by both governments and parliaments. Parliaments represent the bridge between the state and its citizens, so the use of evaluations by Parliamentarians for increasing accountability can be seen as the next frontier, as evaluation systems bring together monitoring data and information to provide deeper insight into what works and what does not work. To enhance the use of evaluations by parliamentarians, an enabling environment needed to be created through learning exchange platforms and networks such as Twende Mbele, the CLEAR-AA initiative and APNODE.
The Global Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation (GPFE) together with EvalPartners, the Sri Lanka Parliamentarians Forum for Evaluation, Prime Minister’s Office of Sri Lanka, Parliament of Sri Lanka, and the Sri Lanka Evaluation Association, hosted EvalColombo2018, a three-day forum from 17-19 September 2018 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to promote demand and use of evaluation by parliamentarians through dialogue and exchange, and to generate innovative approaches to tackling challenges facing Parliamentarians at a global level.
Participants at the forum included parliamentarians from across the globe committed to evaluation, evaluation experts, and other international delegates to ensure a rich discussion on developing stronger monitoring and evaluation frameworks for evidenced-based decision-making and accountability in government. Some of the highlights of these discussions are captured below, including insights in the use of evaluations for development goals; the benefits of a National Evaluation Policy (NEP) although not sufficient but still important; the professionalisation of evaluation practice through standardising and building capacity of evaluators; and African countries commitments to Colombo declaration.
Evaluations can help countries become masters of development outcomes
Evaluation is recognised as a crucial component towards realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Parliamentarians can address the SDG’s by driving the oversight processes forward to ensure that nobody is left behind, especially the most vulnerable. Solutions to SDG’s are required at country level, therefore partnerships between different sectors are important. As Parliamentarians are one of the leading catalysts in terms of crafting national policy and exercising oversight over government, they can be the leading voices for citizens.
National Evaluation Policies are important but not essential or universally applicable
Very few countries have policies on evaluation however this does not mean that parliamentarians and the executive can’t engage with evaluations. National Evaluation Policies (NEPs) are neither necessary nor sufficient but they are useful for political buy-in, especially in countries that struggling to set up a foundation for learning and improvement. More important, however, are the systems countries put in place and the resources allocated to evaluations. Not having a NEP can sometimes create setbacks for a country in terms of improving a system, as Dr Mulu, from the Kenyan Budget Appropriations Committee says:
“The lack of a National Evaluation Policy (NEP) [has left] leaves gaps / challenges in terms of strategic direction and buy-in from all of government as well as adequate budget allocation and commitment.”
Evaluations must be technically sound/relevant
The need for professionalisation of evaluation practice was also highlighted at the conference. Clear-AA through its Collaborative Curriculum program is one of these initiatives which looks to harmonise M&E competencies and curriculum in Africa. The creation of a common language for evaluation can enhance understanding and use.
Capacity development of both evaluators and commissioners is important to enhance the credibility of evaluations within parliaments, so evaluators will need to work hard at building professional skills and ensuring that evaluations follow ethical practices. Having more evaluators who produce useful, ethical evaluations that are credible will address both supply and demand side of evaluations.
African countries commitments to the Colombo declaration
Delegates representing varies African countries made commitments to the Colombo declaration at the conference, but the general commitment by these delegates was to promote and increase APNODE membership, as APNODE was seen to be a key instrument for learning and advocacy. The following points highlight the commitments by some countries:
- Kenya committed to enact a law on M&E and to involve more MPs in National Evaluation Week in which took place during the month of November (in 2018);
- Uganda committed to creating a Parliamentary caucus linked to national evaluation association and APNODE, and also to creating awareness with MPs on holding government accountable to using more evidence;
- Tanzania committed to taking the NEP agenda to Parliament, while UNWomen will support women caucuses to use evaluation;
- Nigeria made a commitment to sensitise members of parliament and build their capacities for M&E;
- Zambia made a commitment to evaluate indigenous communities as a follow-up to the commitments made in parliament in previous sittings;
- South Africa, Ghana and Zimbabwe made commitments to promote the use of evaluations by their parliaments through their Speakers of Parliament;
The closing ceremony was held at the Parliament of Sri Lanka and included a panel discussion and inputs by various delegates referred to as “the voices of global parliamentarians”. This was followed by a vote of thanks to the organisers and participants. The conference itself had reached its objectives of which include raising awareness on the role of parliaments in driving the SDGs agenda, reaffirm the importance of using evidence as part of good governance, promote dialogue between parliamentarians, government, evaluation practitioners, and civil society to encourage their joint use of evaluations for decision making, last but not least, agree on way forward by compiled in the Colombo Declaration which included commitments from many countries including those from Africa.