African Evaluation Journal
The journal publishes high quality peer-reviewed articles merit on any subject related to evaluation, and provide targeted information of professional interest to members of AfrEA and its national associations. This encompass the following aims: 1) To build a high quality, useful body of evaluation knowledge for development; 2) To develop a culture of peer-reviewed publication in African evaluation; 3) To stimulate Africa-oriented knowledge networks and collaborative efforts; 4) To strengthen the African voice in evaluation.
|Coverage||Vol 4 Issue 1 2016 - current|
Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)
Facing up to (online) fashion and fads ... Face-to-face contact is here to stay in M&E capacity building. Evidence from 35 National Evaluation Societies : original research
Background : Over the years, Communities of Practice have gained popularity as a capacity-building method among Monitoring and Evaluation practitioners. Yet, thus far, relatively little is known about their effectiveness.
Objectives : This article focuses on National Evaluation Societies as Communities of Practice that aim to contribute to the monitoring and evaluation capacity building of their members.
Method : Drawing upon a survey of 35 National Evaluation Societies in 33 low- and middle-income countries, we explore to what extent capacity building efforts have been successful and what factors explain the relative success or failure in capacity building. We rely upon Qualitative Comparative Analysis as we are particularly interested in different pathways to ensure successful National Evaluation Societies.
Results : Our findings highlight that regular face-to-face contact is a particularly important element. This does not entirely come as a surprise, as monitoring and evaluation capacity building often implies tacit knowledge that is most effectively shared face-to-face. Furthermore, capacity building in conducting and, particularly, using evaluations entails building networks among the monitoring and evaluation supply and demand side which can most easily be done through regular face-to-face interaction.
Conclusion : Our findings are not only theoretically interesting, they are also policy relevant; they hint at the fact that in an era of quick advances in technology, investing in face-to-face contact among members remains important.
Evaluating effectiveness and constraints of private sector agricultural extension services of the Green River Project in Imo and Rivers States, Nigeria : original research
Background : Oil exploration operations decreased the cultivable lands of rural people in the study area, leading to the establishment of the Green River Project (GRP). This study assessed the effectiveness and constraints of private sector extension services of GRP in Imo and Rivers States, Nigeria.
Objectives : To analyse the roles and effectiveness of, as well as constraints to, the GRP in the area.
Method : A multistage sampling technique was used to select 120 respondents. Descriptive statistics, factor analysis, chi square and t-test were used to analyse the data.
Results : Roles of GRP in farming technologies dissemination included training of farmers on fish pond construction technique and maintenance of good pH levels. There was significant improvement in standard of living (X2 = 15.7; p ≤ 0.05) and size of production (t = 6.398; p ≤ 0.05) of the respondents after participation. In terms of the effectiveness of private sector deliveries on public policies, the programme had effect on beneficiaries' access to credit, education of wards and poverty reduction. But it is worthy to note that the observed changes may not have been solely caused by the GRP, given that there could be many other factors affecting fish farming, either positively or negatively. Serious implementation constraints to effective performance of GRP included organisational, input and sustainability constraints.
Conclusion : It was recommended that there should be timely provision of sufficient inputs to farmers and measures to improve organisation of private sector extension services in the area in order to enhance development.
Policy issues for improving monitoring and evaluation of agricultural extension programmes in Nigeria : original research
Monitoring and evaluation are important, yet, frequently neglected functions in most organisations. In Nigeria, many programmes have been established over the years but only little monitoring and evaluation have been carried out because of many implementation problems and lack of realistic and/or stable policy framework. This paper was designed to X-ray policy issues for improving monitoring and evaluation of agricultural programmes in Nigeria. Inductive and deductive reasoning through a review of relevant literature was used in this philosophical paper. To improve the performance of agricultural extension programmes in Nigeria, the following policy issues must be addressed: The questions of what should be monitored or evaluated, when should monitoring and/or evaluation be carried out and who should monitor and/or evaluate; and the methodology to be adopted in any project should be included in any agricultural programmes and/or policies. Manpower and financial resources, effective communication and the issue of accountability must be properly considered. The tools for monitoring and evaluation are also very crucial. The paper concluded that planning a good agricultural programme is not a problem in Nigeria but poor implementation is, as a result of poor monitoring and evaluation. Therefore, attention should be on when, how and who should be involved in monitoring and evaluation.
Evaluating financial education initiatives in South Africa : the importance of multiple evaluation approaches : original research
Background : Given the low levels of financial literacy in South Africa, financial education projects have a significant role to play in reducing some of the demand side barriers to financial inclusion. Measuring the impact of a financial education project is important to assess whether the project achieves its ultimate objectives, for justifying scaling up and for policy design. However, impact evaluations alone are not sufficient in describing the success or failure of a project.
Objectives : This study aims to show that, particularly in a South African context, where investment in financial education interventions is mandated by the Financial Sector Codes, impact should not be the only criterion assessed when evaluating financial education projects.
Research method and design : This study was informed by a literature review, a synthesis of team experience on a range of financial education projects in South Africa and the development of case studies.
Results : Describing the success or failure of a project needs to go beyond impact and explore factors such as project relevance, design and quality. In order to verify these other factors, different types of evaluations are necessary at the various stages of the project's life-cycle.
Conclusion : Expanding the learning objective beyond the exclusive identification of whether financial behaviour was achieved is particularly important where financial education projects, and the monitoring and evaluation thereof, is mandated. In the African context, where resources are scarce, money for monitoring and evaluation should be selectively channelled into determining project relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and then only impact.
Research and evaluation are growing in Africa. All evaluators have an ethical responsibility to protect their research subjects from harm that could occur if sensitive data are revealed. In this article, we use a literature and document review to provide an overview of the protection of human subjects internationally and in Africa; we then use interviews with evaluators working in Africa to place human subjects protection principles and practice in an African context. We conclude that human subjects protection must be supported by improved guidelines tailored to the African context and local conditions; improved infrastructure for implementing and enforcing the guidelines; and increased training in awareness of human subjects principles and approaches. These efforts could stimulate increased research and evaluation and more confidence in results in the communities where research is conducted.
Stretching between learning and accountability : experiences of South African non-governmental organisations : original research
This article contributes to knowledge around organisational learning in relation to Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) processes of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
While learning and accountability are two fundamental purposes of M&E, in practice NGOs often perceive donor accountability as the only function of their organisation's M&E system. Learning through meaningful monitoring of actions is a necessary process to satisfy effective functioning of organisations working on social change.
The article is based on action research, which included qualitative methods such as case studies, focus group interview(s), semi-structured interviews and questionnaires with participating organisations from an 18-month Monitoring and Evaluation Capacity Development Programme of the Community Development Resource Association, which involved nine South African NGOs. Organisations benefited from the programme through peer learning, consulting and research linked to the programme.
The research revealed that NGOs have a perception of M&E as an accountability procedure that has been imposed on them by donor communities and are resistant to it as well as to rigid data collection. Organisations require specific capacities to realise their power and to be able to negotiate more developmental approaches to M&E within their organisations and with donors.The model is suggested that fosters learning in M&E systems and includes two interlinked processes: self-awareness (a sense of core organisational values and intuitive ability) and awareness about the outside world and the effects of organisations' work.
The model for M&E systems can be explored further and help those organisations who are working towards better balance between learning and accountability.