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AfrED: Working together to curate African evaluations

- Dr Angelita Kiwekete, Researcher

How we curate and use information in 21st century Africa can be disheartening. In the M&E arena for instance, African states hardly take into account the signals from evaluations to inform their policies and programmes. Why? One reason is that most M&E efforts are carried out with sector-specific development partners. Commendable M&E systems may develop, but they are cut off from national development plans and M&E data is not systematically fed into government data collection and reporting systems. Poor demand for evidence in policy and decision-making also plays a role limiting the curation of information. Another reason is the diversity of information and stakeholders involved in M&E in Africa.

How can we hope to embed evaluation into informing national, continental and global development imperatives without curated evaluations?

The African Evaluation Database (AfrED) is a growing, centralized repository of evaluation reports and journal articles on M&E, jointly developed and run by the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at Stellenbosch University, and CLEAR-AA at the University of Witwatersrand since 2017. Going forward, AfrED’s success will be evident in how it gets used. Will we see African governments, development partners and civil society drawing on AfrED to improve national evaluation systems? Will CLEAR-AA itself and the wider academic community use AfrED to build on existing research and write about M&E in Africa? Try out AfrED repository here.