The interest in M&E has augmented in the country as demonstrated by the creation of an M&E Ministry in the Presidency. The new President came to power in January 2017 on a platform for change and his new M&E’s primary mandate is to track the performance of the ten ministries responsible for driving seven Presidential priority projects going forward. This function is predominantly to monitor the performance of the ministries in fulfilling these presidential priorities.
The interest in evaluation beyond the Executive is a broader belief that auditing and monitoring are insufficient for program improvement. Parliament in particular is very keen to get better quality evaluative information on program performance to assist in its oversight role.
Two issues pose a great challenge to the strengthening of the M&E system in Ghana. The first is the absence of a national evaluation policy. The second is the lack of capacity around M&E. The absence of a policy on M&E significantly impacts the quality of the M&E system, as a national evaluation policy provides guidance on all matters pertaining to M&E.
The changes in governments and realignment of priorities is to blame for the its absence. The lack of capacity is a pressing issue as it has a direct impact on the day to day work of M&E duties. Because there has only recently been one university course or degrees on M&E, the assessment of skills required of M&E officials is unknown. Although there are strong links between national, regional and district levels of government, there is a disconnect in the data collection systems. There are no established M&E competencies, limited capacity in evaluations as most evaluations are conducted through donor funded projects, delays in the monitoring systems and data collection tools are in short supply.
With the withdrawal of donors from Ghana, due to Ghana being deemed a lower middle income country, the lack of capacity on evaluations is going to become of great concern, as most evaluations are conducted through donors. This is where Twende Mbele wanted to partner with Ghana, in the strengthening of capacity around evaluations. And in October of 2017, Ghana became one of three new collaborating partner countries of Twende Mbele.
Key Players: National Development Planning Commission
The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) was established based on the 1992 Constitution, a National Development Planning Commission Act of 1994 (Act 479) and the National Development Planning Systems Act of 1994 (Act 480). It is the apex body responsible for planning and monitoring and evaluation.
The acting director of M&E is Nana Opare-Djan and the Director of Planning Coordination is Dr Isitite F Mensa-Bensu. The Commission has 54 staff, eight of which are focused on M&E and 14 on Planning Coordination. The NDPC is the custodian of the long term national development plan as well as the medium term development plans – currently the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA) II, 2014-2017. The NDPC receives the Annual Progress Reports from all MDAs and MDDAs, and uses them to produce an overall APR for the country against the GSGDA II (NDPC, 2016). NDPC has produced annual progress reports (APRs) since 2002 to review government performance. The system is based on four yearly Medium Term Development Policy Frameworks (MTDPFs), and there have been national M&E Plans linked to these.
Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation
Ghana took it upon itself to strengthen its M&E capacity through the establishment of two new ministries: The Ministry of Planning, and the Ministry of Monitoring and Evaluation. The establishment of these ministries assists tightening regulation (establishment of national evaluation policy) and development of capacity around M&E. The Ministry of M&E has already run training courses for high-level officials in 2017 and is planning for drafting the national evaluation policy in 2018.
Ghana Institute of Management & Public Administration (GIMPA)
GIMPA is an Institute to train public servants of the country and to provide education, training and services in the fields of leadership, management and public administration for the public sector, private sector and non-governmental organizations.
CLEAR AA and GIMPA have a long-term partnership to provide evaluation capacity development in the West African region. In 2017, GIMPA launched a Harmattan School, based on the CLEAR AA Winter School, with a foundation and advanced track for evaluation practitioners. Earlier in 2018, GIMPA – in partnership with the Ministry of Evaluation and CLEAR AA – also launched their Post-graduate Diploma in in Monitoring and Evaluation Programme.