African Evaluation Journal - latest Issue
Volume 4, Issue 1, 2016
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 researchSource: African Evaluation Journal 4, pp 1 –11 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/aej.v4i1.158More Less
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 researchSource: African Evaluation Journal 4, pp 1 –9 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/aej.v4i1.118More Less
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 researchSource: African Evaluation Journal 4, pp 1 –5 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/aej.v3i2.122More Less
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 researchSource: African Evaluation Journal 4, pp 1 –6 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/aej.v4i1.125More Less
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.
Source: African Evaluation Journal 4, pp 1 –7 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/aej.v4i1.106More Less
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 researchSource: African Evaluation Journal 4, pp 1 –11 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/aej.v4i1.71More Less
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.
Impact of Dupoto-e-Maa education project on dropout rate and academic performance : original researchSource: African Evaluation Journal 4, pp 1 –10 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/aej.v4i1.131More Less
Background: A study conducted in the Kajiado Central District of Kenya in 2006 showed that there was a high dropout rate among primary schoolgoing children and that their academic performance was poor. The Dupoto-e-Maa education project was implemented in 2007 to address issues related to drop out rate and academic performance.
Objectives: The evaluation therefore investigated the extent to which the project had influenced dropout rate and academic performance in the public primary schools in Kajiado Central District.
Method: The evaluation adopted a mixed methods approach: cross-sectional survey and case study designs. The benefit of the approach is the richness of information obtained through triangulation. The respondents included head teachers, school management committees, teachers, pupils, quality assurance and standards officer and project staff. A sample size of 183 respondents was selected using purposive sampling and stratified random sampling procedures. Head teachers of the sampled schools participated as key informants. The instruments of data collection included questionnaires, an interview guide, a document analysis guide, a focus group discussion guide and an observation guide.
Results: The findings indicate that the Dupoto-e-Maa education project had influenced dropout rates. The direction of the findings seems to suggest that academic performance trends are unpredictable since fluctuations are evident, though the programme could have encountered some challenges that may have limited its achievement on this variable.
Conclusion: The study recommended that there is need to increase the number of non-governmental organisations modelled around the Dupoto-e-Maa education project so as to reduce dropout rate and improve pupil academic performance. The findings could also inform government policy in terms of recruitment and placement of teachers in schools in arid and semi-arid lands. Project funding could be increased to improve visibility and sustainability of project activities.
Source: African Evaluation Journal 4, pp 1 –11 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/aej.v4i1.178More Less
Background: For some years, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society have become increasingly involved in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. But even though their role is well appreciated, their actions are perceived as ineffective because of a lack of monitoring and evaluation capacity.
Objective: This paper aims to describe local HIV/AIDS NGOs’ involvement in evaluation and the characteristics of this involvement.
Method: Descriptive analysis of data collected in questionnaires completed by 34 NGO executives (one per NGO).
Results: Most NGOs do not have the minimal conditions required for positive and effective involvement in evaluations. In addition, funding agencies’ expectations for evaluations, total human resources as well as experience as NGO are contextual factors that explain most aspects of their involvement in evaluations.
Conclusion: This study provides funding agencies, NGO leaders and all those interested in developing evaluation capacity in these NGOs to understand the extent of the task in this area. They must keep in mind that there is no solution for all, but that solutions must be adapted to the developmental level of each organisation.
Source: African Evaluation Journal 4, pp 1 –10 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/aej.v4i1.120More Less
Background: Many young people in South Africa are in the process of actively changing their country. To positively contribute to the development agenda, young people need the skills and capacity to initiate and sustain change and set themselves apart as leaders.
Objectives: This article provides insight into multi-level mechanisms that allow young South Africans opportunities to grow personally and to take action on issues of concern to themselves and their communities.
Method: The enke: Trailblazer programme works with high school learners to foster noncognitive skills through self-directed social action projects. A retrospective, mixed-method evaluation was completed to assess changes in non-cognitive skills in enke: Trailblazer alumni from 2011 to 2014 and to compare their results across years and social action projects.
Results: Results show that three non-cognitive competencies (grit, growth mindset and self-efficacy) were integral to starting (and finishing) a social action project. Social support, social capital and teamwork were also critical for project success – whilst school location, socioeconomic status and gender were not. Non-cognitive competency development is integral to this programme as there is evidence that building these skills promotes leadership, which creates a bias to action and life-long learning.
Conclusion: This article reflects on the implications of non-cognitive competencies for effective youth development programme design and the youth leadership sector in general.
UN Women’s experience with strengthening evaluation systems in Africa : enhancing quantity, quality and use of evaluationsAuthor Caspar MerkleSource: African Evaluation Journal 4, pp 1 –8 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/aej.v4i1.127More Less
Background: Following the adoption of the Women Evaluation Policy in 2012, a series of systems and mechanisms were introduced in the organisation to strengthen the evaluation function at both central and decentralised levels. They were based on a systemic approach and a Theory of Change for building an enabling environment for evaluation in UN Women.
Objectives: The purpose of this article was to analyse progress made and challenges with respect to establishing evaluation systems and institutionalising an evaluation culture in the UN Women Africa region.
Method: The article draws on UN Women evaluation performance data collected over the past five years, discussions and practical experience by the author of working on evaluation with UN Women since 2009. It also analyses UN Women documents and the broader literature on the topic.
Results: The findings illustrate that the different mechanisms to strengthen the evaluation function in UN Women show progress in the Africa region on four out of the five selected evaluation performance indicators. The Theory of Change to strengthen the UN Women evaluation function is largely validated by the wider literature on evaluation use. External assessments confirm that the UN Women evaluation function is sound overall.
Conclusion: The article concludes that evaluation performance indicators only provide a partial snapshot of the many different factors that help or undermine evaluative thinking and a learning culture within an organisation. Institutional systems and mechanisms are necessary but not sufficient for nurturing an evaluation culture and ensuring utilisation of evaluation for better development effectiveness.