Civic collaboration is in motion, just as the systems that govern responses to the complexity of global ‘grand challenges’ are perpetually in motion. On February 6, 2018, the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results – Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA) hosted a workshop, funded by the Twende Mbele project, to determine what collaborative space potentially exists between Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Government for strengthening of the National Evaluation System (NES) in South Africa. This workshop constituted one of a series of interventions, held in Benin and Uganda in 2017. A wide range of thought leaders in the South African (SA) Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) space contributed immensely to discussions centred on the entrenched epistemologies in the field of M&E. Central to these discussions was the critical question of what space there is, for ‘epistemological jailbreak 1 ’ in the way that practitioners think about Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). Clearly we are living in a time of unprecedented opportunity for CSOs and government to drive results-based development agendas to achieve sustainable change. In particular, the accelerating emergence of CSOs in areas that are central to the progressive realisation of countries’ national agendas, are a lodestar pointing to the fact that the relationship between government and CSOs can in fact run far deeper, at a systems level.
By Susan Lado