By Doris Kembabazi
Uganda, as with many African countries, exhibits a need to expand its existing pool of evaluators to ensure supply matches local demand and enable emerging evaluators to enter the market with fewer restrictions. This has been the focus of a recent Twende Mbele study, looking at the factors that influence change demand for national evaluations and supply of evaluators in the three core country partners. As part of this study, a validation workshop was held in Kampala recently to finalise the results of the diagnostic study and consult on next steps.
Key stakeholders welcomed the study on the demand and supply of evaluators and the validation workshop attracted 52 participants.
Government of Uganda, over the last decade, has undertaken initiatives to build capacity within the national M&E system – specifically with the Evaluation Capacity Development project supported by Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) . This targeted both the suppliers and users of evaluations in the public and non-government sector. Through the Uganda Policy Window (supported by 3ie), a number of evaluations have been undertaken, eg UPE (School Facility Grant) Family planning, youth livelihood program etc. That has informed policy decisions in the respective sectors and also gave emphasis on the use of evidence in decision making.
Results of the diagnostic in Uganda show that on the demand side, there are no national government system requirements for eligibility to provide evaluation services. The study also established the specific professional skills required from evaluators by both Government and CSOs including the minimum academic qualifications, experience, core skills and other qualities or attributes. Survey findings from most clients show that the supply of evaluators is not sufficient to meet the demand.
Quality is a key aspect of the supply of evaluators, and should be guided by established standards to ensure quality of the evaluators’ product. In this regard, the Uganda Evaluation Association has put in place the National Evaluation Standards.
The study also outlined a number of opportunities for local evaluation capacity building in Uganda at universities, training institutions and professional networks.
To strengthen the evaluation capacity and supply of evaluators there is need to strengthen the culture of management that understands, values and uses evaluative information to achieve results and organisational performance. There is also need for Government to interface with and support the development of professional evaluation associations such as the Ugandan Evaluation Association. This ties into the need to define key competencies for evaluation that form part of the functional organisation of personnel requirements.
To better match the supply to demand of evaluators, there is need for a deeper analysis of the profession of evaluation in Uganda more especially organizational capacity gaps at Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) level in Uganda.
The one-day validation workshop came up with an action plan for the next months for Twende Mbele as;
- Support Office of the Prime Minister to establish a Centre of Excellency in evaluation that would establish an efficient Uganda information system on evaluation findings and evaluator availability and opportunities
- Support development of guidelines, regulations, standards and competency requirements (knowledge, skills and abilities) for evaluation positions in Government of Uganda as well as ongoing professional development
- Support a study on deeper analysis of the profession of evaluation in Uganda
- Support training all private and government organisation managers to gain evaluation skills
- Identify champions of evaluation to promote evaluation in government ,and private programs and projects etc (for more details see attached report).
Participants appreciated Twende Mbele for supporting the continued improvement of quality in the national evaluation system. The workshop was concluded with drafting the action plan for the next Twende Mbele quarter, and the Uganda Evaluation Association spearheading some future work.