The state of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) as a discipline in Africa : from infancy to adulthood?

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 5
  • Abstract:

    Since the early 1990s, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) has seen a steep climb within Africa–in terms of practice, profession and academic study. As a field of practice, specialised departments housing the practitioners now exist and the demand for evaluation of policies, projects, programmes and interventions remains on the increase. Legal and institutional frameworks for the practices of M&E are still weak. As a profession, over 30 national evaluation associations under the umbrella body – the African Evaluation Association (AFREA) are in existence. As an academic field of study several universities now offer programmes in M&E; notwithstanding the focus and locus dilemma regarding the discipline. Scholarship regarding the state of the field is thus of utmost importance to coherently describe the ‘ups and downs’ of the new field which has become a ‘grown up child’ having jumped the infancy stage. This article examines four interrelated questions: How has the M&E field evolved in Africa and what local and global forces have been behind this evolution? Is M&E a discipline of study? What precisely is the state of the M&E discipline in African universities? What is the future of M&E in Africa? Answers to these questions will provide useful insights into the muddy waters of the new discipline which has persistently been claimed by several other disciplines within public discourses.