The AfrEA membership cuts across all spheres of the development community. Members are practitioners ranging from donors to academia, government officers, consultants, CSO and NGO staff. One of AfrEA’s main goals is to build the capacity of its members. In addition AfrEA seeks to raise the profile of evaluators and make evaluation an integral part of all national development in Africa while entrenching evaluation that is rooted in the culture and context of Africa. This goal can be met with the institutionalization of evaluation training on the continent. AfrEA has already developed guidelines on evaluation which will be a foundation to be built on.
Over the years, a number of AfrEA partners such as Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR), UNICEF, African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), EvalPartnerts, etc. have implemented capacity building programs for evaluators on the continent. However, these have not been far reaching. The AfrEA School of Evaluation harnesses all the available resources across the continent within its membership and partnership to ensure that evaluators on the continent have access to the pool of knowledge and skills on the continent. The AfrEA School of Evaluation also focuses on evaluation practice rooted in the African culture, context and practice to enable practitioners to identify with the new trends applicable to their individual context, countries and practice.
In addition, it is increasingly becoming obvious that a number of the capacity building efforts are geared towards general evaluation practice. As members grow in experience, it is imperative that specialized evaluation skills are introduced to African practitioners. Increasingly, development partners and governments are seeking for specialized practitioners in areas like education, health, humanitarian, gender and SDGs evaluation. These sectors all demand and expect of practitioners to increase their knowledge in their various sectors to be able to apply the evaluation techniques and methodology. These sectors while utilizing the general evaluation methods are increasingly applying new trends suited to current research in generating program outcomes and outputs. Moreover, donors and governments have peaked interest in accountability for results and return on investment in development.
The School of Evaluation
The School of Evaluation will utilise a combination of online and face to face tutorials over a period. Successful completion of the entire package and related attachment/mentorship gives one certification as a professional evaluator. The intention is to affiliate the school with a number of universities on the continent. This will also encourage young and aspiring evaluators to take evaluation as a professional course and gradually instill the culture of evaluation in the development agenda of countries.
Once seen as a predominantly donor expected requirement, evaluation is emerging as a distinct management discipline, recognized internationally and can be controlled and maintained by a professional body and through professional certification by AfrEA. Increasingly, governments, donors and private companies are turning to evaluation approaches to encourage innovation, improve efficiency, solve problems and manage scarce resources. Across board and sectors, evaluation has become integral to the project management cycle.
The professional discipline of evaluation includes the knowledge, skills and tools to ensure the delivery of projects because of and despite their complexity and uncertainties and the demand for accountability for results. Evaluation is now integral to the Project Charter which describes the project at a high level of detail; formally authorizes a project; links to the ongoing work of an organization; gives the project manager the authority to proceed and apply resources to a project and serve as a record of changes and approval processes.