n African Evaluation Journal - Diagnosing monitoring and evaluation capacity in Africa - original research

Volume 6 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2310-4988
  • E-ISSN: 2306-5133
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Background: Since 2015, the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results-Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA) has implemented more than seven diagnostic tools to better understand monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems in the region. Through the process of adapting global tools to make them more appropriate to an African context, CLEAR-AA has learned several lessons about contextually relevant definitions and boundaries of M&E systems. 

Objectives: This article aims to share lessons learned from adapting and implementing a range of global tools in an African context, and puts forward certain key criteria for a ‘Made in Africa’ tool to better understand M&E systems in the region. 

Method: This article reviews CLEAR-AA’s diagnostic tools, as well as global good practice diagnostic tools, and compares the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. It further looks at the implementation of specific tools in context and proposes components on the basis of these lessons. 

Results: This review has found that most M&E tools have a heavy focus on the technical and contextual aspects of M&E but very few do a thorough job of accommodating the institutional factors. Furthermore, the relationship between the technical elements, the institutional elements and the organisational culture elements has not been made apparent.

  Conclusion: A contextually relevant diagnostic tool for M&E systems will balance technical considerations of capacity, institutional factors and issues of organisational culture. Drawing on approaches from organisational change may be of help to strengthen our tool development endeavours.

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