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

Scoping the impact evaluation capacity in sub-Saharan Africa

Yvonne Erasmus, Sunet Jordaan, Ruth Stewart
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 8, No 1 | a473 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v8i1.473 | © 2020 Yvonne Erasmus, Sunet Jordaan, Ruth Stewart | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 February 2020 | Published: 23 October 2020

About the author(s)

Yvonne Erasmus, Africa Centre for Evidence, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sunet Jordaan, Africa Centre for Evidence, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Ruth Stewart, Africa Centre for Evidence, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: There has long been an assumption that Africa has low levels of impact evaluation capacity and that when impact evaluations are conducted in the region, they need to be led and conducted by researchers from the North. The Africa Centre for Evidence at the University of Johannesburg conducted a scoping study on impact evaluation capacity in sub-Saharan Africa to test this assumption.

Methodology: We used a multicomponent design, which included a systematic author search, desk review, online survey (with 353 respondents) and key informant discussions.

Results: Contrary to previous assumptions, we found a large number of researchers with impact evaluation capacity across sub-Saharan Africa. We identified 490 impact evaluation publications, to which 1520 unique African researchers from 34 countries had contributed. South Africa had the most impact evaluation researchers who had published, followed by Kenya and Uganda, illustrating a concentration of capacity in Southern and Eastern Africa. Authors largely resided within schools of public health and health science faculties at universities. The study showed that modules and elements of impact evaluation training had been offered in 32 countries, indicating more training opportunities than anticipated, although formal, accredited training in impact evaluation was mostly presented outside Africa.

Conclusion: Contrary to previous assumptions, widespread capacity to conduct impact evaluations exists in sub-Saharan Africa, reducing the need for researcher capacity from the Global North to deliver impact evaluations in the region. However, our evidence suggests that capacity gaps exist in non-health sectors, creating an opportunity for further capacity support in these areas.


Keywords

Impact evaluation capacity; Sub-Saharan Africa; Evidence-informed decision making; Impact evaluation training; Impact evaluation publication; Survey; Research methods

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Crossref Citations

1. Turning ‘evidence for development’ on its head: A view from Africa
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