Let’s discuss Responsible Data in M&E at the Africa Evaluation Indaba!

Indaba is an isiZulu and isiXhosa word for an important meeting held by leaders in South Africa to discuss critical matters. This past week, I’ve been listening in at the Africa Evaluation Indaba, organized by The University of the Witwatersrand and CLEAR Anglophone Africa. Critical matters have indeed been discussed!

We will delve into one such topic on Tuesday, 24 November, 12-13.30 Central African Time during the launch of the Responsible Data in Monitoring and Evaluation (RDiME) Alliance.

The RDiME Alliance is a community of practice that will work on data governance in the African context, with a focus on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). It is part of a CLEAR-AA and MERL Tech initiative to convene a group of interested M&E professionals and data governance experts in order to dig deeper into this topic and to work together on guidance for evaluators related to responsible data governance and management. It builds on discussions that CLEAR-AA and MERL Tech hosted in June about responsible data, remote monitoring, and use of administrative data during COVID.

At the upcoming session, we will discuss ways that M&E practitioners can improve data management and how they can play a role in improving data governance practices at the institutional and national levels. We will open the floor for discussion and consultation on priority areas and gaps in the practical aspects of responsible data management as well as in data governance processes that improve accountability.

Following the Indaba, will draft up a plan that lays out how we can best offer training, guidance and support for the M&E community with relation to responsible data management and data governance.  We also plan to develop a set of guidance documents on responsible data governance and M&E together with the RDiME Working Group, which is made up of a group of experts who have data governance, data protection, and evaluation-related expertise and experience. We hope the RDiME Alliance’s work will support government evaluation efforts as well as civil society organizations and evaluation firms.

Register here to attend the RDiME Launch and Discussion at the Indaba!

What makes the Africa Indaba Evaluation conversations so exciting (for me, at least!) is that they are framed within a lens of decolonization and transformation. This past week, topics included:

  • “Transforming Evaluation: The Race, Power, Gender and Class Struggle,” with speakers covering questions like: how do we locate evaluation within the historical context of asymmetrical global power relations and aid dependency? What needs to be done to dismantle systems and structures so that evaluation does not become complicit in entrenching existing inequalities? (Monday 16 November)
  • The Made in Africa (MAE) Evaluation approach which arose out of the quest for contextually relevant approaches, methods that emphasize the centrality of contextual relevance and place importance on indigenous knowledge systems. (Tuesday 17 November)
  • The launch of the Global Evaluation Initiative, (GEI) which aims to offer better coordination of evaluation resources and to support local and international organizations working in the area of evaluation. (Wednesday 18 November)

(Recordings of these sessions will be available soon).

Join in this coming week (November 23-26, 2020) for more sessions!

  • Monday you can find out more about AfrED, an increasingly comprehensive database on evaluation projects, studies, agencies and actors in Africa.
  • Tuesday, as noted, is our RDiME Alliance Launch and discussion
  • Wednesday will cover Adaptive Management and Climate Change
  • Thursday will be a wrap-up session to discuss the long-term road ahead for evaluation in the African context.

Register for the RDiME Alliance discussion and launch on Tuesday, November 24! (This same link will allow you to join in any of the sessions)

See the full Africa Evaluation Indaba agenda for sessions, timings and speaker names.

About Linda Raftree

Linda Raftree supports strategy, program design, research, and technology in international development initiatives. She co-founded MERLTech in 2014 and Kurante in 2013. Linda advises Girl Effect on digital safety, security and privacy and supports the organization with research and strategy. She is involved in developing responsible data policies for both Catholic Relief Services and USAID. Since 2011, she has been advising The Rockefeller Foundation’s Evaluation Office on the use of ICTs in monitoring and evaluation. Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Linda worked for 16 years with Plan International. Linda runs Technology Salons in New York City and advocates for ethical approaches for using ICTs and digital data in the humanitarian and development space. She is the co-author of several publications on technology and development, including Emerging Opportunities: Monitoring and Evaluation in a Tech-Enabled World with Michael Bamberger. Linda blogs at Wait… What? and tweets as @meowtree. See Linda’s full bio on LInkedIn.

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