Original Research

Transforming voluntary organisations for professional evaluation into central pillars of national evaluation systems

Tebogo Fish, Ayabulela Dlakavu, Matodzi Amisi, Steven Masvaure
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 10, No 1 | a608 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v10i1.608 | © 2022 Tebogo Fish, Ayabulela Dlakavu, Matodzi Amisi, Steven Masvaure | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 January 2022 | Published: 12 July 2022

About the author(s)

Tebogo Fish, 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
Matodzi Amisi, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results – Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA), Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Steven Masvaure, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results – Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA), Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Voluntary organisations for professional evaluation (VOPEs) have proliferated across the African continent, seeking to contribute to building effective national evaluation systems (NESs) that enhance development planning, implementation and appraisal.

Objectives: A study commissioned by the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results - Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA) and the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) in 2021 highlights key strengths and challenges faced by African VOPEs in their quest to help strengthen NESs across the continent.

Method: The study was qualitative by design, employing document analysis, key informant interviews and focus group discussions with selected VOPEs across Africa.

Results: While African VOPEs have proliferated in number, they take different forms, and their focus tends to be shaped by their respective national contexts. A key challenge for African VOPEs is internal human and financial capacities, while the external environment within which these national evaluation associations operate also presents risks such as co-optation and opportunities such as networking and resources.

Conclusion: This article argues for the need for African VOPEs to improve their internal financial and human capacity, thereby enabling these professional associations to endeavour to contribute to strengthening the supply and demand sides of NESs, as well as refining their advocacy to reflect Africa-centred evaluation approaches and criteria.


Keywords

VOPEs; Africa; capacity building; evaluation systems; capacity development

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