Original Research

A review of the growth of monitoring and evaluation in South Africa: Monitoring and evaluation as a profession, an industry and a governance tool

Mark A. Abrahams
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 3, No 1 | a142 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v3i1.142 | © 2015 Mark A. Abrahams | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 April 2015 | Published: 23 September 2015

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Mark A. Abrahams, Division for lifelong Learning, University of the Western Cape, South Africa


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Abstract

South Africa is one several African countries with an official ministry responsible for monitoring and evaluation (M&E). Some of the other countries include Ghana, Kenya, Benin and Uganda. The development of M&E in South Africa has been stymied in part by its interdisciplinary nature, trying to find roots within historically a very discipline-based higher education system. Over the last ten years, however, there has been a huge increase in the number, scope and quality of evaluations conducted in this country. Government agencies and Non-government organisations (NGOs) often using international donor funds for their own projects, have been engaged in outsourcing evaluation studies, and currently all government departments have established their own M&E units. There are statutory bodies such as the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Department for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) with the responsibility to monitor and evaluate the government’s service delivery and performance. The South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association (SAMEA), established in 2005, draws together M&E practitioners, trainers in M&E, development agencies as well as government officials at its biennial conferences and sustains a vibrant community via its listserv – SAMEATalk. This article reviews the growth of monitoring and evaluation in South Africa and reflects on the current or prominent nature of M&E in this country. It deliberates about M&E developing into a profession, its growth as an industry or businessand its increasing adoption as a governance tool for development in South Africa. The paper concludes with some critical reflections on the growth of M&E in South Africa.


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