Amidst the rebuilding efforts to recoup the losses of the last two years on the development trajectory of the African Continent, one of the defining aspects of CLEAR-AA’s work over the last year has been the ramping up of its partnership approach to evaluation capacity and systems strengthening efforts.
For example, CLEAR-AA’s partnership with UNICEF has enabled it to work on initiatives across five countries, including co-creating the national Monitoring and Evaluation policies with the governments of Lesotho and Namibia and initiating the implementation of M&E Strategies with the governments of Malawi and Uganda. Working with the World Food Programme, SAMEA and UNICEF, six emerging evaluators have been placed with CLEAR-AA/WFP in a work immersion programme, addressing barriers to entry in M&E for young evaluators.
Evaluation Capacity Development has been acknowledged as an important component of improving Africa’s ability to produce and use evidence to accelerate the achievement of development results. CLEAR trained 56 participants through its flagship Development Evaluation Training in Africa course. Participants came from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Liberia, Tanzania and Botswana.
We believe that working with academic institutions to strengthen evaluation education will contribute significantly to strengthening the quality of M&E teaching, learning and practice across the continent. To this effect, the Centre completed the review of the M&E curriculum for the Malawi Assemblies of God University (MAGU), as well as the Post Graduate Diploma M&E curriculum at the University of Zambia.
CLEAR-AA contributed Monitoring and Evaluation knowledge generation in several ways. In 2021 CLEAR-AA published the first of two volumes of the book African Parliaments: Evidence Systems for Governance and Development. This collaborative effort by authors and parliaments across Africa contributes to understanding systems of evidence in African parliaments and provides comprehensive insights into how parliaments use evidence when executing their legal mandates. In addition to publishing numerous articles in accredited journals, book chapters, practice guides, policy briefs and learning notes, CLEAR-AA and partners have also published a Responsible data in Monitoring and Evaluation (RDiME) practice guide, which is the first of its kind for the African continent.
As such, CLEAR-AA continues its mission to strengthen Africa’s capacity to produce and use evidence, engaging in work that contributes to the Wits Strategic Vision 2033 to making “a positive impact on society through creating and advancing global knowledge, a catalyst for change in society, and a thought leader for change in public policy”. Looking back on the successful partnerships that helped us deliver on our mandate, we are inspired to look forward to many more strategic partnerships for even greater results, into 2022 and beyond.
Once again, I would like to thank the staff for their continuous work throughout the second year of the Covid lockdown. I am delighted to be writing this foreword at a time when the country is opening up, and I hope the return to campus is both psychologically and intellectually beneficial for all CLEAR staff so they can continue with this enormously important work.