Mere compliance or learning – how is M&E culture in the public service affecting the response to COVID
This chapter builds on research on the performance monitoring and evaluation (M&E) culture in Benin, Uganda and South Africa conducted through the Twende Mbele African M&E partnership, which is presented here to provide a context for the cases in the book.
The research was conducted on approximately five national departments per country and 368 managers were interviewed: 149 from Benin, 127 from South Africa, and 92 from Uganda. We see a mixed picture and many similarities in the three countries.
Overall, all three have significant planning and monitoring systems and an established evaluation system. Around half of managers are seen to be using evidence from M&E, with evaluations used particularly in an ex-post role rather than during the life of interventions. The effect of each country’s national evaluation system is recognised. However, there is also evidence of negative behaviour, using reports to conceal information, not interrogating the cause of failure. The survey is itself a baseline for Twende Mbele and the trends in these figures will be interesting.
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