A recent panel discussion at the Journees Bèninoise de l’Èvaluation Benin, in Cotonou, shed light on some of the factors affecting institutionalisation of national evaluation systems in Francophone West Africa. The panel, ‘Assessment and perspectives of the institutionalization of the evaluation function’, discussed progress in building the systems and structures for a government evaluation system with delegates from Guinea, Morocco, Niger, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo. A summary of their presentations is below.
In Benin a baseline study was conducted on M&E culture in 2011/12, which resulted in the drafting of the National Evaluation Policy (2012-2021). The baseline study focused on how evaluations had been conducted in the past, and the system was found to be dominated by technical and financial donors, not government owned and therefore not entrenched in the habits of those designing or managing programmes and projects. The policy was drafted to ensure responsiveness to national priorities, and to further embed M&E at the local and federal level. The Government began funding and allocating resources to evaluations, including the establishment of the Secretary General and Evaluation Council.
In Guinea, Civil Society Organisations’ (CSOs) demand for accountability against corruption and service delivery led to initial moves to institutionalise their National Evaluation system by highlighting the issues and challenges of governance. The Prime Minister commissioned a baseline study on how Public Policy Evaluations were done, seeking recommendations on how to better institutionalise M&E. The baseline showed that there was no legal basis for M&E, no Act and no custodian for it. A National workshop was convened in 2017 which took the case of Benin as an example to establish its NES. Recommendations being followed regarding the acceptance of M&E as a key function of government and governance, the establishment of series of responsible authorities such as an Office for Public Policy Evaluation. Click here for the french presentation
In Morocco, Parliament has been the strongest voice calling for evaluation of public programmes and policies. This has resulted in the Executive prioritising the development of a national evaluation policy. As part of this process, in 2007, the Minister of General Affairs and Governance oversaw a study on the institutionalisation of evaluations of public policy. This has resulted in M&E policies being put in place a number of Ministries and the inclusion of evaluations in the national budget. Whether or not Morocco has an approved National Evaluation Policy (NEP), is still contested by its very definition and many feel it is not clear and precise, especially those in civil society. Demand for evaluation from CSOs is strong in Morocco (majority of which undertake their own evaluations), however, many CSOs are concerned that there is still no existing NEP in Morocco as it is yet to be adopted, despite ongoing implementation to that effect. Despite the lack of a comprehensive study on the supply of evaluators in Morocco, it is widely recognised that both within the public service and civil society, there is a shortage of capacity to both conduct and manage evaluations. In this instance, supply constraints are seen to be affecting government demand.
In Niger, the structure of the political system is similar to France in that they have a semi-presidential regime which gives more power to Parliament. Allegations of mismanagement of public funds led to the creation of a vocal demand for the evaluation of public policy and thus the establishment of a national evaluation system. The evaluation function has seen progress since 2006, although they have not yet adopted a national evaluation policy. A draft has been written and it is hoped that it will be adopted in late-2018. Niger has been working with Benin and Uganda to develop its NEP and work through ways on how to institutionalise it.
Since 2011, the Government has been working on improving the reliability of data – it was noted that until then, government had not been monitoring programmes which had increased the burden of CSOs to track service delivery. A national workshop should be held this year to discuss the ideas of the NEP before it can be adopted.
Niger conducts mostly qualitative process evaluations. In 2015 two evaluations on the economic and social development plan were done, which contributed immensely to the New National Development Plan 2021. On the supply side, it was noted there is a shortage of capacity in evaluations. Most of the demand comes from the donor partners and some international NGO’s who finance certain development projects, however, the shortage of supply is one of the biggest problems in conducting quality evaluations in the country.
Burkina Faso has had a similar experience to Benin in setting up their M&E system, however, for them, the biggest demand for evaluations is found in CSO. The National Commission for Evaluations was set up in Burkina Faso as a means to strengthen the institutionalisation of evaluations in Government. Although government does conduct evaluations internally through the relevant ministries, the majority of this is done by donor agencies. Process evaluations are the most popular evaluations to be conducted, however, the lack of resources leads inability to conduct regular evaluations. The government also initiates and supports bi-annual evaluation days like Benin, called the Journee Burkina d’evaluation.
In Cote d’Ivoire a lack of coordination of government programmes prompted the search for a establishing a better system of management and the need for institutionalising evaluations. As part of their journey to institutionalise M&E, they have worked closely with the African Development Bank, and they are looking at how to include evaluations in their national constitution. Some process and impact evaluations are done, though mainly through donor agencies – it is believed that without a national evaluation policy there will be no institutionalisation, or allocation of funds to systematic evaluations.
Forming part of Vision 2030, Togo has been working towards institutionalising evaluations since 2009. It established a national policy of procurement to increase transparency and accountability of conducting evaluations through independent consultants. Funding has been a challenge to continued and scaled-up M&E, however, they continue progress in establishing the NES. A recently commissioned feasibility study for public investment will be showing how much will be required and the next steps for Togo to take in institutionalising its evaluation systems.
CLEAR AA is looking for a service provider to build a new APNODE website to give the secretariat and various stakeholders with a platform to provide content that would address the concerns of the target audience.
The service provider must provide CLEAR-AA and APNODE with a simple user friendly WordPress. The proposal must include timeline which shows key milestones and accompanied by evidence of previous similar work produced. The budget for the WordPress development is R30 000-R35 000 based on a competitive cost.
Changing the Game for Evaluation Education in Africa: The Collaborative Curriculum Development Project
Unlike other professions such as accountants or doctors, the field of ‘Monitoring and Evaluation’ is relatively new and non-standardised. Employers and recruiters of M&E staff don’t always know what they’re looking for, and presently in Africa, there is no harmonisation of competencies, resulting in the variable quality of practitioners. Academic and non-academic training programmes are also not standardised and there is very little harmonisation or deliberate consensus across institutions in terms of curriculum content and instructional design.
As part of Twende Mbele’s initiatives to improve the quality and number of evaluators in Africa, CLEAR AA and Twende are partnering to explore what a harmonised post-graduate curriculum should look like. This initiative encourages a collaborative development and harmonization of M&E competencies and curriculum in Africa, while aiming to bring more consistency to the standards of M&E training available on the continent. In September of 2016, Twende and CLEAR-AA began the initiative with higher education institutions (HEIs), public sector training institutions, government and various Voluntary Associations for Professional Evaluation (VOPEs). What followed were two workshops in Kenya and Ghana and then further engagements with 11 African countries in 2017.
Two problems were identified that provided the catalyst for initiating this project. Firstly, the absence of harmonised competencies across Africa obscures any certainty of the skills and capabilities needed for quality evaluation practice. Secondly, a lack of agreed upon standards hampers the progression of the profession as a whole, but especially when creating frameworks to develop Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB) programmes. There is value in building consensus towards harmonising evaluation education in Africa as that would contribute to the standardisation and professionalization of Evaluation Capacity Building. Improved individual and institutional capacities for M&E evidence production and use would support more effective National Evaluation Systems (NES), which are linked to improved governance systems.
Discussions, Findings and Deliverables
During the various workshops held over the last two years, discussions involved some of the major players in evaluation education who were particularly focused on the state of evaluation training and evaluation education in Anglophone Africa. There was consensus on the ‘homeless’ nature of the discipline, with extensive conversation on the need to decide on the foundational building blocks to better position education and training. Improving the capacity within universities for teaching on evaluations (including providing hands-on experience) and the best approaches to evaluation education for the continent were also hot topics of conversations.
There were some concerns over the quality of teaching in M&E and the absence of a standardised M&E curriculum, while some people stressed that the existing curricula are overly western and not inclusive of African scholarship. During these discussions it became clear that collaboration amongst HEI’s and other stakeholders involved in evaluation education was necessary to build consensus and fill in gaps in knowledge. At the end of consultations, three deliverables for the project were identified:
- construct a framework for harmonising M&E competencies for the African continent
- create a curriculum framework for post-graduate qualifications in M&E
- establish guidelines on the institutional arrangements/mechanisms that will support the wide-spread use of the competency and curriculum framework.
Progress so far…
Three task teams have been constituted, however, more inclusivity and consultation is needed. The task teams are tackling the development of discussion documents on the three aforementioned deliverables.
The drafting of the discussion documents is part of a broader consultation process, as collaboration is key in developing harmonised competencies and curriculum for the continent. Increasing the level of collaboration is the primary goal of this year as universities (and other institutional evaluation capacity building role-players) need to be partners and co-owners in order to adopt and roll out the proposed competencies and curriculum framework. To this end, a write-shop will be held in October 2018 to engage on and review the contents of the three deliverables.
This is a contested space, where intellectual property concerns bring into sharp focus questions of public good vs financial sustainability, particulalrly as the higher education sector grapples with declining revenue levels across the continent. High-demand programmes (such as M&E) are therefore a key source of revenue, and intellectual property is the currency of HEIs. It is also important the initiative is not hampered by questions over leadership and mandates, and therefore CLEAR AA and Twende are committed to playing a coordination role, but will not dicatate the direction or content of the final outputs. Some key questions that the collective would need to reflect on include the following:
- Are there some unique elements to the African context, which need to be built into a collaborative competency framework for M&E practitioners? How are these different to other, existing, competency frameworks in individual partner countries (such as South Africa) and globally? This is against a rising tide of the Made in Africa Evaluation (MAE) philosophy as well as the South to South Evaluation (S2SE) concept gaining ground in the global South and beyond.
- What modes of delivery would most appropriate (e.g. traditional, online?) What other institutional mechanisms might be needed to support other types of capacity development, e.g. mentorships, secondment, internships, online?
The Collaborative Curriculum Development Project, although not complete, continues to redefine imagination around evaluation education by tackling the issues of harmonising evaluation education and creating competencies required for M&E practitioners in the African continent head-on. Twende Mbele and CLEAR AA are commited to ensure that there is robust engagement with all stakeholders in this critical area of M&E capacity development in order to iron out a way forward.
And here’s where you come in….The project requires input from various stakeholders and interested parties alike, in order to ensure a comprehensive consultation and consensus-building process. Interested individuals may join one of three task teams (competencies, curriculum or institutional arrangements) and contribute to the discussion documents. If you are keen to add your views or commit your institution to a longer term engagement, please contact Candice Morkel, at Candice.firstname.lastname@example.org
This week saw over 300 participants from Africa, the Americas and India converge on Cotonou, Benin to participate in the 5th edition of the Benin Evaluation Week. Participants included evaluation practitioners, researchers, specialists and professionals from the evaluation of public administration, institutions of the Republic of Benin, communities, local authorities, universities, professional organisations and civil society organisations.
Focusing on the theme, ‘Evaluation to Promote a Development Administration‘ the workshops, roundtables and presentations were an opportunity for sharing and learning on diverse topics such as;
- Evidence and the decision-making process
- Promotion of the culture of monitoring and evaluation in the management of development processes
- Evaluation as a tool for improving the quality of public services provided to the population
- Systematisation of evaluative practice, and
- Managing evaluations
While the participants recommended that the Beninese law on evaluation continues to be drafted and adopted, they also gave support to;
- Adoption of tools to track the use of evaluation findings within government
- Promoting and building the recently released evaluation database
- Strengthening collaboration with networks in academia, civil society and other peer-learning mechanisms such as Twende Meble
- Strenthening training of evaluation practitioners
- Systematisation of a human rights-based and gender-sensitive evaluation approach and methods of data collection and analysis, and
- Development of a Directory of Indicators by the Public Policies Evaluation and Government Action Analysis Office to feed the analysis variables of public programs and to make their rigorous evaluation easier.
CLEAR AA and Twende Mbele are offering an exciting opportunity for a postgraduate PHD student in their last year of study or a recent graduate to join a multi-disciplinary team in undertaking various research work in the field of monitoring and evaluation. The Post-Doctoral (M&E) Research Fellowship is designed to support the emergence of scholarship by stimulating M&E related research particularly in governance and public policy making. The successful candidate will be expected to play a critical role in advancing and helping carry out some of the research involved in the CLEAR AA and Twende Mbele research agendas, as well as supervising graduate students. The centre is inviting applications from scholars with outstanding capabilities who are interested in the field of monitoring and evaluation with a desire for an academic experience in research. It is expected that the incumbent will take up the position as a full time fellow for one year (renewal-based on performance and progress). Click here for further Details.
Interested candidates should submit their application to Maloshni Naidoo. Applications should include a detailed CV, academic record, certified copies of the PhD certificate (if graduated), two copies of past publications and the names of three contactable referees (at least two academic)
The closing date for applications is 31 July 2018