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Thursday, 06 September 2018

Management Studies Postdoctoral Fellow participates in panel discussion on decolonisation of the African Evaluation curriculum

On the 17th of August 2018, Dr Nombeko Mbava, a postdoctoral fellow specializing in Africa-centric evaluation approaches within the School of Management Studies, contributed to a stimulating event at the Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results, Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Dr Mbava joined a high level panel of experts convened to critically discuss the “decolonization of the African evaluation curriculum”, within the broader debate of the indigenisation of evaluation practice on the African continent.

Stakeholders interrogate pluralistic evaluation methods and knowledge that could potentially further our understanding of evaluating what (and how) social programmes and policies work in the African context.

The issue has resonated amongst evaluation and research practitioners for a number of years, albeit in the form of questioning the hegemony of the Global North in international development practice. The nexus of this discourse is around the decolonization of the taught higher education curriculum in general and monitoring and evaluation curriculum in particular. For some years now, practitioners and scholars alike have increasingly identified a need to introduce and entrench Africanised axiologies within Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB) that aligns with a more Africa-centric development agenda.

This was a robust public engagement with an audience that included the local evaluation community, decision-makers, and interested monitoring and evaluation stakeholders from government, civil society and the private sector in South Africa. Through contributions and discussions, the panel engaged with thoughtful and deep audience questions and comments on this important issue.

 Expert panellists engaging  with “decolonization of the African evaluation curriculum”

Professor Bagele Chilisa, University of Botswana and Dr Nombeko Mbava, postdoctoral fellow in the Section for Organisational Psychology at the University of Cape Town.

In addition to Dr Mbava, expert panelist included Professor Bagele Chilisa, University of Botswana, author of the African Evaluation Association (AFrEA) concept paper on a Made in Africa Evaluation Approach and an African thought leader driving the concept of African-rooted evaluation. Ms. Adeline Sibanda, African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) President, and Dr. Kambidima Wotela from the Wits School of Governance were also panel members.

Dr Mbava holds a PhD (Stellenbosch University) researching public sector programme evaluation in South Africa. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Smith College (Massachusetts USA) as well as Master of Business Management and Administration (MBA) from Stellenbosch University Business School. As a former senior South African public servant, she has a unique insight into government policies, systems and practical implementation issues at national and provincial level.

Dr Mbava began her work in researching into Africa-centric evaluation approaches following a special research enabling grant from the School of Management Studies in late 2017. In 2018 she became University Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship recipient. Dr Mbava will continue to work under the supervision of A/Prof Sarah Chapman on exploring innovative decolonised evaluation approaches emanating from the African continent through 2019. This project is a priority for the School of Management studies, given the leading role the school plays in academic teaching of Programme Monitoring and Evaluation through its MPhil and PhD offerings in Programme Evaluation. The School looks forward to future engagements and outputs on this issue in the months and years to follow.

Story By : Assoc Prof. Sarah Chapman and Dr. Nombeko Mbava