Strengthening and measuring monitoring and evaluation capacity in selected African programmes

Masvaure, Steven and Fish, Tebogo
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African Evaluation Journal
Strengthening the capacities of countries and organisations to perform monitoring and evaluation (M&E) functions is gaining momentum in the Global South. However, there is limited literature on the effectiveness and impact of these capacity strengthening initiatives in Africa. Across the continent, there has been a global push to strengthen M&E capacity both within the state and non-state sector. The rationale for the push and investments is based on the premise that M&E capacity is critical for assisting public officials, non-state sector development managers, non-governmental organisations, and donors to improve the design and implementation of their projects, improve progress, increase impact, and enhance learning. Despite considerable investments to build M&E capacity in the African context, literature shows that the measurement of these initiatives is non-existent. To explore M&E capacity strengthening initiatives and how their effectiveness is being measured. The study adopted a qualitative research approach, specifically using semi-structured interviews to gain an in-depth understanding of capacity-strengthening approaches and how capacity strengthening activities are measured. A sample was drawn from Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Results: This study found that M&E capacity strengthening in the selected countries is ad hoc, indiscriminate, haphazard and mainly focuses on developing individual skills and abilities. The significance of strengthening M&E system capacity in Anglophone Africa has been strongly supported by this study, considering the critical impact that effective M&E systems have in enabling countries to reach their development goals.
The article reflects on the fact that while the increased demand for skilled M&E specialists in Africa resulted in increased M&E capacity strengthening initiatives, the measurement of the impact of these initiatives is lacking. Measurement is critical for ensuring that government and non-governmental actors are effectively capacitated to conduct evaluations and manage and use M&E systems and evidence.
Masvaure, S. & Fish, T.E., 2022, ‘Strengthening and measuring monitoring and evaluation capacity in selected African programmes’, African Evaluation Journal 10(1), a635. https://doi. org/10.4102/aej.v10i1.635