Original Research

Evaluation capacity development in Africa: Current landscape of international partners’ initiatives, lessons learned and the way forward

Michele Tarsilla
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 2, No 1 | a89 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v2i1.89 | © 2014 Michele Tarsilla | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 July 2014 | Published: 18 December 2014

About the author(s)

Michele Tarsilla, Evaluation Capacity Development Group, United States


Despite the copious resources allocated by international development partners to enhance African countries’ capacity to evaluate the performance and impact of development programmes and policies, most evaluation capacity building (ECB) efforts have not yielded the expected results. Time and energy have been focused on the measurement of short-term effects whilst long-term results have largely remained elusive. As a result, a variety of actors across the continent are calling for more innovative strategies. In particular, more efforts are currently being made to revitalise the evaluation function in international development at the global level and to enhance a shift from short-term training to more contextually relevant, systemic learning, equity and sustainability efforts. This article aims to provide a critical overview of ECB initiatives undertaken by international development partners in Africa over five years (2009–2014) that worked well and investigate how they could be improved. The common issues stress the need for harmonisation and collaboration between international partners and African institutions and more effective collaboration with in country institutions and organisations committed to evaluation capacity development (ECD). The analysis in this article is timely and relevant for both the strengthening of socalled made-in Africa evaluation methods and approaches and the roll-out of systemic and organic ECD strategies. The debate spurred by this article is likely to contribute to the current global debate on what strategies ought to be taken as part of the post-2015 agenda. This inturn will spur the debate on ECD to increase in importance and undoubtedly in intensity.


AfrEA, Functional Evaluation Capacity Building, F-ECB, Evaluation Capacity Building, ECB, Evaluation Capacity Development, ECD, Made-in-Africa Evaluation, Organic ECD, Transformative Evaluation.


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