Call for Proposals
Introduction / Background
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) has awarded a three-year grant to the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA). Among others, the grant is to support AfrEA and members VOPEs to ensure that democracy and human rights policies and programs are informed by systematic evaluation and evidence, ensuring accountability to stakeholders and improving the relevance and impact for beneficiaries. A key component is rigorous Africa-based research into Made in Africa Evaluation practices and approaches. Applications are invited from qualified AfrEA member VOPES interested in participating in this project.
DRL’s objective is to support locally-driven forms of applied research and evaluation, as the inclusion of local voices and local practice can contribute to more effective and sustainable foreign assistance outcomes, especially in the area of democracy and human rights. The program invests in building an environment where local researchers and evaluators have the skills and space to present data, the ability to advocate for encouraging research and evaluation approaches that are rooted in the realities and experiences of local populations, and the opportunity to inform policies and programs through the generation of sound evidence.
Program activities could include, but are not limited to peer-to-peer learning exchanges, workshops, or conferences to support interaction among evaluation practitioners from different countries or regions, with the aim of sharing and documenting contextualized approaches; exchanges organizing local evaluation practitioners and experts in other fields (e.g. data science, social impact) to encourage sharing of promising practices; researching and documenting how local organizations or evaluators have contextualized evaluation or are conducting effective evaluations; advocating for the use of locally-driven theories and practices to better inform national and international agendas on foreign assistance and human rights; organizing learning exchanges between advocates and members of voluntary organizations for professional evaluation (VOPEs), where evaluation practitioners build advocacy skills and advocates build skills to interpret and use data.
The DRL/ AfrEA project will focus on building an environment for contextualized (e.g., locally rooted, culturally responsive, indigenous) forms of applied research and evaluation. The project seeks to: (i) expand the forms of knowledge and values that contribute to the process and development of applied research and evaluation, and/or (ii) frame applied research and evaluation as a means to democratize knowledge and learning in foreign assistance policy and programming.
Over the past two decades, countries and citizens of the Global South have demanded and, to some extent, achieved greater control over country development agendas. But similar progress in evaluation has lagged far behind. The vast majority of development investments, evaluation theories, and practices worldwide are based on the worldviews and values, authority, and resource systems of powerful institutions, primarily in the Global North. Decisions about what is evaluated, how, and for whom, remain largely the prerogative of the Global North despite impressive indigenous knowledge assets and capacities in the Global South.
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