Enhancing collaboration to strengthen implementation and use of government M&E systems.
In many African countries, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) play a crucial role in improving the use of evidence – from evaluations at the national and subnational levels, to data collection and research. Compared to governments, CSOs have a longer history of using evaluations for strengthening their programmes. However, their involvement formally or informally in a country’s national evaluation system varies. The changing socio-economic and socio-political history of each country influences the roles that CSOs have, and continue to, play. The constituencies of civil society are broad and hence their agendas for use of M&E and collaboration with government are varied.
Recognising the role CSOs play in promoting greater accountability in governments, Twende commissioned a study to identify possible areas for enhanced collaboration between civil society and government in M&E systems.
We found that CSOs and government can support national M&E systems in positive complementary relationships.
– building evaluation capacity of government staff documenting processes in parliament (SA’s Parliamentary Monitoring Group) and monitoring budgets;
– expanding the role of CSOs in the national M&E so they contribute their expertise in service delivery reality to government evaluations;
– collaborate on designing and undertaking evaluations, as well as participating in steering committees and in the dissemination and utilisation of results.
There is considerable scope for collaboration in M&E between African governments and civil society but these opportunities are not optimally taken advantage of; often as a result of mutual suspicion.
To ameliorate this, Twende – in partnership with CLEAR AA – have run training workshops to devise a Theory of Change for an ideal situation of government/CSO collaboration, and are currently undertaking two projects:
1. Work in Ghana is looking at how CSOs can foster a collaborative platform in the water and sanitation sector, starting with urban sewerage indicators.
2. In Uganda, the health sector is coming together with government to co-create a sector-wide evaluation agenda.