Integrating participatory elements into evaluation strategies in South Africa

22 Jul 2016

This article notes the theoretical and conceptual applications of participatory evaluation with the intention of fi nding a deeper understanding of its meaning and praxis, with implications for future use in South Africa. Since the inception of democracy in 1994, the government issued several national policy guidelines and strategies to measure and improve government?s performance. The formulation and application of the national policy evaluation framework in South Africa has augmented understanding in the government strategy on monitoring and evaluation of public programmes. National governments can share experiences and lessons on diverse practices of participatory evaluation. The assumption of the study on which this article is based, was that, while the anticipated positive effects of the national policy evaluation framework have been widely heralded, there are criticisms levelled at its failure to engage broader society in its clarity and application. Postulations on participatory evaluation by scholars from different fi elds provide useful insights into the assumptions that the inclusion of participatory elements in the South African national policy evaluation framework is still at an incipient stage. The current study attempted to contribute towards the theory and praxis of participatory evaluation, with the intention to help evaluators and public administrators address the challenges in the evaluation and monitoring of public programmes in South Africa.