Putting the Focus on Strengthening SA’s Evaluation Culture and Capacity this October

Originally published on NGOPulse.org:

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) practices are integral to the policy-making, corporate social investment (CSI) and development industries in South Africa because they improve performance and development impact, foster accountability, inform and guide decision-making, and widen our knowledge base.

In 2015, the United Nations’ (UN) International Year of Evaluation, South Africa placed our focus on the ways we can use evaluation to improve people’s lives. Now that we know why it is useful, the question is how we can improve our capacity to use M&E effectively. The South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association (SAMEA)’s capacity building workshop series is happening in Cape Town in October.

Creative Consulting & Development Works shares SAMEA’s decision and passion to take a more active role in building a community of practice within the M&E community. This is why we’ll be holding a two-day workshop on the ‘biorhythm’ and life cycle of programme evaluation, as part of SAMEA’s series.

The workshop will take place from 6-7 October and will be of specific interest to M&E practitioners, project and programme officers, and managers who have no prior or limited experience of M&E. There are no special expertise required by participants in order to benefit from the workshop, which will be offered at a level suitable for both beginners and intermediates.
What does it involve?

With this event, we aim to provide participants with a detailed overview of the life-cycle of a programme evaluation. This means we will work through the information needed to understand and learn about programme evaluation and M&E concepts, as well as knowledge on and practical examples of commissioning, managing and conducting evaluation studies and building on and enhancing participants’ understanding of evaluation studies, in a participatory, round-table fashion.

© Creative Consulting & Development Works`

Why is evaluation important for our work?

The term ‘evidence-based policy making’ is widely used these days, but what does it actually mean? Governments are constantly making policy decisions that have significant long-term impacts. According to Ian Sanderson in his paper ‘Evaluation, Policy Learning and Evidence-Based Policy Making’, “The logic underlying ‘evidence-based policy making’ is that, if these decisions are informed by robust evidence on what works, this will allow for better policy making and implementation (i.e. more strategic and effective policy and budget choices). Essentially, it is about basing policy decisions on rigorous evidence.”

M&E can therefore play a significant strategic role in evidence-based policy making. UNICEF proposes five key ways in which evidence obtained through M&E can contribute towards policy-making:

  • Achieve recognition of a policy issue;
  • Inform the design and choice of policy;
  • Forecast the future;
  • Monitor policy implementation; and
  • Evaluate policy impact.

The contribution of evaluation to policy making is also about good governance in terms of increasing the accountability of government to citizens.

M&E practices also ensure purposeful development, which translates into CSI and development industry money being invested (not spent) in initiatives that have meaning, established aims and ultimately achieves strong social impact.

Using our extensive experience in monitoring, evaluation, research and learning, our team of professional evaluators and researchers will showcase a variety of skills that can be shared to develop capacity and empower students, new professionals, programme managers, M&E practitioners, academics, consultants and more.

How to take part

Come and join our workshop and the active SAMEA community of practice by registering today -> samea2016.co.za

For more information on the workshop, get in touch with us on +27 21 448 2058 or monica@developmentworks.co.za.

For more about the Creative Consulting & Development Works, refer to www.developmentworks.co.za.

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