Original Research - Special Collection: Addressing Knowledge Asymmetries

Swahili wisdom for shaping development evaluation practices

Almas F. Mazigo, Francis Mwaijande, Isaack M. Nguliki, Miriam Mkombozi
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 12, No 2 | a738 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v12i2.738 | © 2024 Almas F. Mazigo, Francis Mwaijande, Isaack M. Nguliki, Miriam Mkombozi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 January 2024 | Published: 20 June 2024

About the author(s)

Almas F. Mazigo, Department of History, Political Science and Development Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dar es Salaam University College of Education, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania
Francis Mwaijande, Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, Mzumbe University, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania
Isaack M. Nguliki, Department of History, Political Science and Development Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dar es Salaam University College of Education, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania
Miriam Mkombozi, Department of History, Political Science and Development Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dar es Salaam University College of Education, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania

Abstract

Background: African people demand the reformation of current development evaluation practices because they are less democratic and marginalise their ways of knowing and valuing.

Objectives: This article examined wisdom in Swahili proverbs that could inspire and guide efforts to reform development evaluation practices to make them more democratic and transformative.

Method: A total of 45 Swahili proverbs were analysed to uncover their wisdom and guidance on framing meanings and purposes of evaluation and the rights and duties of participants in the evaluation process. The appropriateness and feasibility of the framed meanings, purposes, rights and duties were tested in a survey involving 61 Swahili-speaking evaluators.

Results: Based on the uncovered wisdom, development evaluations are social activities initiated by and involving people to systematically inquire and assess aspects of ongoing or completed development projects and programmes to: (1) determine performances in keeping promises made, (2) determine preventive and corrective measures for possible and actual implementation challenges and (3) co-learn and co-produce histories of the completed development projects and programmes. Insights in these three development evaluation practices adequately guide respecting people’s rights and freedoms to initiate and lead the evaluations of their development projects and programmes and integrate their ways of knowing and valuing.

Conclusion: Swahili wisdom provides solid theoretical bases and numerous methodological strategies for supporting people in initiating, conducting and using evaluations.

Contribution: This research contributes to the proverb-based approach to developing African-rooted evaluation theories and methodologies by offering lessons on generating and applying proverbial wisdom to improve development evaluation practices.


Keywords

Swahili proverbs; African-rooted evaluation; people-centric evaluation; indigenous evaluation; development evaluation

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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