Original Research

Strengthening Anglophone Africa M&E systems: A CLEAR-AA perspective on guiding principles, challenges and emerging lessons

Takunda Chirau, Ayabulela Dlakavu, Banele Masilela
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 10, No 1 | a601 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v10i1.601 | © 2022 Takunda Chirau, Ayabulela Dlakavu, Banele Masilela | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2021 | Published: 28 April 2022

About the author(s)

Takunda Chirau, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results – Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA), Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Ayabulela Dlakavu, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results – Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA), Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; and, Department of Politics and International Relations, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Banele Masilela, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results – Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA), Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; and, Department of Social Development, Gauteng Provincial Government, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Evaluation capacity development (ECD) is evolving to adapt to 21st century governance and development contexts across the world. Consequently, the ECD community is seized with processes of developing, implementing and sharing best ECD practices that are able to build strong and resilient individual and institutional M&E capacities.

Objectives: The article seeks to contribute to the on-going discourse and practice regarding evaluation capacity development (ECD) approaches and interventions in Anglophone Africa, Africa, the Global South and global best practice.

Method: The article’s methodology is essentially centred on action research pursued during the course of co-planning and designing ECD interventions across English-speaking African countries, empirical data as well as the authors’ experiences and insights gained from leading ECD interventions across African countries.

Results: The Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results – Anglophone Africa’s (CLEAR-AA) principle of partnering and engaging governments and development partners throughout the life cycle of ECD interventions is paramount to cultivating country-owned and led national monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems that are sustainable and are able to facilitate a shift towards evidence-based decision-making.

Conclusion: The value of this CLEAR-AA mission is that it offers the possibility of improving decision-making, policymaking and implementation and better service delivery and development outcomes in English-speaking Africa. While noting well-known M&E challenges that impact the success of ECD interventions in Africa, the article highlights forward-looking CLEAR-AA strategies that seek to improve the success and impact of its ECD interventions in Anglophone Africa. Such strategies include the identification and use of M&E champions in each country; working to integrate the M&E function within public sector decision-making, development planning, implementation and budgeting processes; and building ECD partnerships with governments, non-governmental institutions and development partners who have intricate knowledge of country M&E systems.


Keywords

national evaluation systems; monitoring; evaluation; ownership; evidence; outcomes and development

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