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Measuring the effect of Evaluation Capacity Building Initiatives in Africa: A review

Candice Morkel, Mokgophana Ramasobana

African Evaluation Journal; Vol 5, No 1 (2017), 12 pages. doi: 10.4102/aej.v5i1.187

Submitted: 16 November 2016
Published:  26 April 2017


Background: The growing demand for evidence to support policy decisions, guide resource allocation and demonstrate results has elevated the need for expertise in monitoring and evaluation (M&E). Despite the mushrooming of short courses in M&E, their impact on improving the capacity to meet the demand has not been adequately and comprehensively measured or evaluated. The purpose of this article was to highlight the need for improving the measurement of evaluation capacity building (ECB) to better understand what works in building M&E capacity in Africa.
Objectives: This article provides important insights into the need for empirical and rigorous measurement of ECB interventions and their role in strengthening evaluation practice.
Method: The study was primarily a desktop review of existing literature, corroborated by a survey of a few senior representatives of organisations responsible for capacity building across the African continent.
Results: The review found that there remains little empirical evidence that indicates whether ECB processes, activities and outcomes are ultimately effective. There is also very little empirical evidence that helps to interpret how change happens, and how this may shape ECB efforts. Training is acknowledged as only one element of ECB, and there is a need for a multi-pronged approach to ECB.
Conclusion: Much more empirical and rigorous research is needed to build a clear understanding of what conditions are needed in ECB in Africa to strengthen evaluation practice. This article is useful for guiding further research into measuring the effect of ECB, as well as implementing more effective models of ECB towards strengthening evaluation practice in Africa.

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Author affiliations

Candice Morkel, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR), Wits School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Mokgophana Ramasobana, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR), Wits School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


Evaluation Capacity Building; Evaluation Capacity Development; Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E); M&E Training


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ISSN: 2310-4988 (print) | ISSN: 2306-5133 (online)

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