Original Research - Special Collection: Made in Africa Evaluation

Reshaping how we think about evaluation: A made in Africa evaluation perspective

Steven Masvaure, Sonny M. Motlanthe
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 10, No 1 | a618 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v10i1.618 | © 2022 Steven Masvaure, Sonny M. Motlanthe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 February 2022 | Published: 25 August 2022

About the author(s)

Steven Masvaure, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results - Anglophone Africa, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sonny M. Motlanthe, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results - Anglophone Africa, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The African development space is dominated by the Western hegemony that shapes the structural funding model, knowledge transfer and aid. Western hegemony defines the Western countries or development funders as superior to the aid receivers, without necessarily acknowledging the role of colonial history and racism that defined and influenced the underdevelopment of African countries. In the African context, the Global North uses liberalism as a tool to maintain hegemony; hence, there is no need to use colonial coercion as liberalism is self-reinforcing, self-legitimising and self-perpetuating. It absorbs counter-hegemony via its international institutions, economic interdependence and democracy.

Objectives: This article examines how evaluation as a tool has perpetuated Western hegemony on the epistemological, axiological and ontological understanding of development in sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods: The approach adopted in this article involved a traditional review of literature, analysis of tacit knowledge and personal experiences on evaluation practice in Africa.

Results: Firstly, the article demonstrates that the theories and practice behind international development are based on colonial thinking and subjugation that permeate themselves throughout the conceptualisation, design and implementation and how results of development interventions are evaluated and viewed. Secondly, the article provides practical steps on how to decolonise international development and evaluations in Africa. The findings also show that evaluations should not be treated separately from the dominant forces that define international development. The evaluation field is a microcosm and an appendage of Western hegemonic influence on international development.

Conclusion: The article concludes by advocating for the need to change the approach to international development and evaluation practice and emphasising the centrality of the worldviews and values of targeted populations by development interventions.


Keywords

decolonisation; hegemony; made in Africa Evaluation; international development; coloniality of power; white gaze

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