Original Research - Special Collection: SAMEA 7th Biennial Conference 2019

Monitoring and evaluation in a changing world: A Southern African perspective on the skills needed for a new approach

Eureta Rosenberg, Karen Kotschy
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 8, No 1 | a472 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v8i1.472 | © 2020 Eureta Rosenberg, Karen Kotschy | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 February 2020 | Published: 23 October 2020

About the author(s)

Eureta Rosenberg, Environmental Learning Research Centre, Faculty of Education, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Karen Kotschy, Environmental Learning Research Centre, Faculty of Education, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa


Background:As science and modern technology have brought many advances, we have also come to overshoot planetary boundaries, while still falling short of development goals to eradicate poverty and inequality. A growing recognition of the complexity of development problems and contexts calls for new framings, including a new approach to monitoring and evaluation (M&E) as one of the mechanisms by which modern societies aim to steer towards a more sustainable future. New approaches to M&E mean new skills for the M&E practitioner.

Objectives: This article proposed a framing for M&E skills, comprising of technical, relational and transformational (T-R-T) competences.

Method: Adapted from the literature, this competence framework was tested in a broader learning needs assessment and then applied retrospectively to author’s experience in developmental evaluations in complex social–ecological contexts in southern Africa.

Results: The emerging insights were that not only technical competence is needed, but also relational competence that goes beyond interpersonal skills, to enable the production and uptake of evaluation findings. In addition, the limitations of mainstream M&E methods in the face of complexity seemed to create a need for ‘transformational’ competence, which included evaluators’ ability to develop credible M&E alternatives.

Conclusion: The T-R-T framework helped to advance the notions of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills and expanded on existing M&E competence frameworks. Recommendations included a call for innovative educational and professional development approaches to develop relational and transformational competencies, in addition to training for technical competence.


Evaluation; Skills; Competencies; Technical; Relational; Transformational; Training


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