Strategic Focus Areas in 2024
EEs, Capacity Building, Professionalisation and Competencies

Part of SAMEA`s core mandate is to promote the development of monitoring and evaluation capacities and build the professionalism of practitioners. SAMEA implements multiple capacity-building and professional development initiatives, including capacity-building workshops, webinars, and conferences. All are tailored to meet the evolving needs of our members and the broader monitoring and evaluation community.

A cornerstone of our efforts lies in nurturing the next generation of evaluators through our esteemed Emerging Evaluators programme(link to EE page)and participation in EE activities such as the Young Emerging Evaluators (YEE) 12 month immersion programme, short term work opportunities and the Topical Interest Group (TIG)(link to communities of practice).This initiative catalyzes aspiring professionals, equipping them with invaluable M&E experience and providing them with platforms for growth and contribution within the field.

For 2024-2025 this portfolio aims to see Emerging Evaluators who have gained M&E experience through the EE programme and facilitated opportunities. Moreover, we are committed to ensuring that SAMEA members and the broader M&E community benefit from enhanced professional capacities through active engagement with the South African Evaluation Competency Framework and participation in our highly anticipated 9th biennial SAMEA Conference and pre-conference workshops.

M&E for Just Transition

The portfolio on M&E for Just Transition focuses on the role of monitoring and evaluation in contributing to a more equitable and environmentally sustainable South Africa. The portfolio aims to see issues of equity and climate and ecosystems health mainstreamed into monitoring and evaluation systems, thereby contributing to the transformation of policies and programmes to better address these systemic crises.

This portfolio aims to achieve this vision through continued advocacy and capacity development on the two new evaluation criteria and guidelines, Climate and Ecosystems Health (CEH) and Transformative Equity, which were developed through the SAMEA evaluation Hackathon.

If you are interested in learning morejoin our M&E for Just Transition Community of Practice

M&E for continuous adaptive management, reflection and learning

Traditional monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is critiqued for being too slow to respond in crisis situations - which require an agile response - and too slow in providing timely evidence to aid adaptive decision making in situations of uncertainty and complexity. M&E needs to find ways to support learning, in more rapid and responsive ways, so that the evidence produced better feeds into planning, management and decision-making processes. Adaptive management implies M&E is part of ongoing learning cycles, where monitoring feeds into reflection and action, evaluation is done before and during interventions, not only at end, and a range of evaluative practices are used to be responsive to the needs of planning, management and implementation.

In 2024-2025, our focus expands to include equipping emerging evaluators with practical skills in conducting virtual evaluations, responding to the need for agile and responsive approaches in crises, and ensuring timely evidence for informed decision-making. Through these efforts, SAMEA promotes evaluative thinking and adaptive management practices, leading the way in innovative monitoring and evaluation. This portfolio will also continue to build awareness and capacities for conducting rapid and virtual evaluations, and promoting evaluative thinking and adaptive approaches to support programme management.

Made in Africa Evaluation

Mainstream approaches currently being used in evaluations in Africa marginalise African knowledge systems as well as African evaluators. Achieving ‘Made in Africa Evaluation’ (MAE) implies deconstructing many centuries of Western/European epistemological dominance over African indigenous knowledge systems. Within the monitoring and evaluation space, the institutionalised approaches and value-systems from the Global North need to be critically examined and Africa’s own endogenous and indigenous paradigms need to be recognised.

Reconstructing and repositioning the value of Made in Africa Evaluation is essential. It is against this background that SAMEA through the MAE thematic area seeks to deepen its work on Made in Africa and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) in monitoring and evaluation at programmatic and systems level.

Tech-Enabled MERL

Through the Tech-Enabled MERL CoP portfolio focuses on building a space where professionals from different backgrounds can come together to explore the role technology plays in MERL. Through the Tech-Enable MERL CoP, we hope to see professionals come together to share knowledge, learn, create a safe space to talk about hard tech topics, and support proactive responses to digital futures.

In 2024-2025, we plan to run a data innovation challenge, continue to hold Tech-Enabled MERL CoP meetings, hold ongoing spaces for practical workshops and use case demonstrations, and collaborate with M&E for Adaptive Management on building awareness and capacities among M&E practitioners and users on new methodologies and technologies like AI. We hope to see you at our next CoP meeting

Link to Communities of Practice

M&E for Investing in Impact

M&E for Investing in Impact is a form of investment that can bring about social and financial returns for investors. The social return is classified as "impact" and is central to the development of the investment thesis and measurement of fund performance. Impact measurement forms an increasingly critical role in decision-making, in both private and public spaces. Over the last few years, several frameworks for the measurement and management of this "impact" have been developed (IMM); however, these approaches and tools, while having much in common with Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), have been developed independently of M&E and are thus generally not linked or aligned to the activities of M&E bodies, professionals and discussions.

This thematic area primarily seeks to bring together those in the social investment sector and the SAMEA membership base to develop networking opportunities and to provide an opportunity for the SAMEA constituency to contribute to discussions relating to IMM practices. It also seeks to provide a platform for capacity building and knowledge sharing amongst stakeholders.

Interested in learning more about monitoring and evaluation and Impact investing? Connect with the IMM Community of Practice, which holds quarterly virtual meetings.

Link to Communities of Practice

SAMEA-DPME Local Government Community of Practice

Within the South African public sector, the establishment of DPME in 2009 and the publication of the National Evaluation Policy Framework in 2011 prompted a “first wave” of institutionalisation of evaluations. This first wave took place primarily among national and provincial departments, with some notable exceptions within metros (e.g. an M&E framework and some evaluations commissioned by the City of Joburg, eThekwini Metro). The second edition of the NEPF in 2019 announced the intention to build evaluation capacity in local government and public entities.

However, there appears to be limited interaction between local government M&E practitioners, particularly for sharing experience and learning. While the above-mentioned metro M&E learning network fills a critical gap, it does not speak to the entire need as it consists only of city officials and caters to metros’ specific needs and interests. In order to address these gaps, a LG CoP was formed in 2023 with the following main objectives:

1. To create a regular space for discussion of local government M&E related issues;

2. To complement intergovernmental M&E forums and committees, by facilitating interaction between not only government officials, but also researchers, think tanks, consultants and students who have an interest in this field;

3. To build reciprocal interpersonal relationships within which relevant events/news, critical discussion, resource sharing, and mutual learning can take place.

The CoP meets bi-monthly and the average number of participants per session is 110 stakeholders spread out across the country and with some attendees from neighbouring SADC countries.

Join the listserv for more information

Link to the 2024 Summary Strategic Plan