By Mokgophana Ramasobana and Candice Morkel
The Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results – Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA-AA) in collaboration with Wits University launched the Development Evaluation Training Programme in Africa (DETPA) on 14 August 2017. This was in response to the high demand for Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB) across the African continent. Training is a critical component of CLEAR-AA’s Evaluation Capacity Development model and the DETPA represents one of its interventions aiming to build a cohort of African evaluators and practitioners to strengthen evaluation practice on the continent.
DETPA’s vision is to embrace an African-centred approach to evaluation. This approach acknowledges that context, culture, history and beliefs are critical to the way we shape evaluation in response to the diversity and complexity of development in Africa. Building evaluation capacity from an African perspective was therefore the “golden thread” that ran throughout the programme. The programme included a one and half day course on Made in Africa Evaluation (MAE) facilitated by international independent evaluator Prof. Zenda Ofir and moderated by Dr. Sukai Prom-Jackson of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) of the UN. Both Prof Ofir and Dr Prom-Jackson are thought-leaders on the subject of the indigenisation of evaluation practices in Africa, and were integral in shaping the thinking that emerged from the Bellagio Forum in 2012. As such their inputs throughout the conceptualisation and delivery of the course were invaluable.
DETPA drew interest from middle and senior managers from the public and private sectors, regional organisations as well as multi-laterals. Many of the delegates are responsible for building their national evaluation systems, or are in positions of influence in terms of policy, planning and evaluation. We welcomed 55 delegates from Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe, Benin and Niger Republic, who enrolled for either the Foundation or Advanced Track programme. Significantly, there were participants from the African Union Leadership Academy (AULA), which is exploring evaluation capacity building opportunities in order to monitor and evaluate Africa’s progress with respect to the AU Agenda 2063. The two-week programme was accredited by Wits University, and all delegates received a Certificate of Attendance.
A collaborative approach was taken in the conceptualization of the DETPA programme. CLEAR-AA consulted widely in order to ensure that the course responded to the capacity building demands on the African continent. The programme was endorsed by several institutions including the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), who also moderated some courses, and the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA), who also participated in the Expert Panel Seminar. Other implementing partners included the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Zenex Foundation – who provided seed funding, as well as 3ie and Twende Mbele – who provided bursaries to selected participants.
The South African Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) hosted a Field Visit, including a seminar exploring the South African National Evaluation System as well as a comparative panel discussion on the evaluation systems in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Niger. The panel of presentations included the Director-General of the National School of Government, Professor Richard Levin, who discussed issues of policy, governance and national capacity building. The DETPA seminar on the evaluation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provided delegates with great insights into the challenges and opportunities for measuring the achievement of the SDGs on the African continent. The panelists included Dr. Sukai Prom Jackson (UN JIU and CLEAR-AA Board Member), Prof. Zenda Ofir (internationally acclaimed evaluator), Ms Adelaide Sibanda (President of AfrEA), and Dr. Ian Goldman (Acting DDG: Evidence and Knowledge Systems) at DPME.
A number of internationally acclaimed M&E experts facilitated various modules of the programme, namely: Prof. Zenda Ofir – Independent Consultant, Dr. Mark Abrahams – Southern Hemisphere, Ms. Jennifer Bisgard – Khulisa Management Services, Mr. Mike Leslie – PDG Consulting, Prof Lewis Ndhlovu – CLEAR-AA, Mr. Khotso Tsotsotso – CLEAR-AA, Ms. Candice Morkel – CLEAR-AA, Mr. Ralph Yako – Independent Consultant and Mr. Volker Schoer –AMERU (African Microeconomic Research Unit).
CLEAR-AA will continue to host DETPA as an open-enrolment course on an annual basis, and there are plans to collaborate with universities and centres across East and West Africa to co-host programmes of similar nature. DETPA will be an entry-point for new entrants into the M&E field, and provide continuous professional development opportunities for mid- career and senior evaluators and practitioners.