Original Research - Special Collection: Addressing Knowledge Asymmetries

Embedding evaluation theory on African philosophies: An asset to evaluation transformation

Bagele M. Chilisa
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 12, No 2 | a735 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v12i2.735 | © 2024 Bagele M. Chilisa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 January 2024 | Published: 21 June 2024

About the author(s)

Bagele M. Chilisa, Department of Education Foundations, Faculty of Education, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana


Background: The article is in honour of Sulley Gariba, an advocate for a Made in Africa Evaluation (MAE), who encouraged, promoted and mobilised African thinkers to write about African-based ontologies, epistemologies and axiologies and their contribution to knowledge production.

Objectives: To map out the application of MAE concept in evaluation projects in Africa. It will be argued that in Africa, although there is remarkable progress conceptually on MAE partly because of Gariba’s influence, there is less application of the concept in evaluation projects.

Method: It is based on a commissioned report on the evaluation landscape in Africa and the progress made in implementing MAE funded by Evalpartners. The results are based on a review of literature and an online survey on selected evaluators’ views.

Results: African philosophies and indigenous philosophies from the Global South are increasingly being embraced to inform the discourse on evaluation. Spiritual reality and relational existence, which are common features of indigenous evaluation, have become powerful tools for ‘inventiveness’, abstract thinking, theory building and development of models and tools unique to Africa and other parts of the Global South and inform an evolving fifth research and evaluation paradigm.

Conclusion: The reluctance of Western-trained evaluators to embrace a spiritual reality and a relational existence, funder colonialism, methodological colonialism and myths and misconceptions about MAE are major obstacles to its application to evaluation practice.

Contribution: Sulley Gariba’s contribution was in his articulation of the value of African Philosophies, Values and culture in evaluation, theory and practice in Africa.


fifth research; evaluation paradigm; myth; misconceptions; MAE; African philosophies; evaluation

JEL Codes

D04: Microeconomic Policy: Formulation, Implementation, and Evaluation; D63: Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement; O55: Africa

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities


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Total article views: 291


Crossref Citations

1. Editorial: Addressing knowledge asymmetries in memory of Dr Sulley Gariba
Mark Abrahams, Florence Etta, Mjiba Frehiwot, Eddah Kanini, Jean P. Nzabonimpa, Nicola Theunissen
African Evaluation Journal  vol: 12  issue: 2  year: 2024  
doi: 10.4102/aej.v12i2.762