Asgar Bhikoo - Deputy Operations
I was part of the previous Board Team that had:
• Revamped the website
• Introduced TIGs
• Introduced the Partnership with Bridge Education of Practice
• Introduced the YEE Stream at the conference (and was assigned as a Mentor)
• Introduced Webinars
• Introduced the Investing in Impact Strand
I would like to continue with some of these initiatives and elevate them, as well as that which the current Board has created. The organisation has evolved over the past seven years, and would like to be part of this journey once more.
I currently work for E Squared Investments as an Impact Investment Lead. I have worked in an M&E capacity for the past 10 years. I have also worked in the Private Sector for the same period. In my experience of being part of the conference planning process as well as website content curation processes, I have come to realise that the Private Sector (namely Corporate Foundations, Impact Investors, Development Finance Institutions and Public Private Partnerships) perspective is missing from the SAMEA events, discussions and content. I feel that this perspective is important as M&E is prominent in this sector but is labelled as Impact Management and Measurement (IMM). Furthermore, a lot of the discussions that require the professional oversight of a membership body like SAMEA are not taking place. By that I mean, discussions about standardised measures, requisite skillsets for conducting IMM and the ethics around IMM practice. I would say that the dominant voice is that of the financing agencies, who tend to use IMM to showcase their ability to be responsible stewards of finances rather than communicating what materially changes on the ground when making investing decisions. As important is the impact washing phenomena where impact is claimed, but the rigor that exists in documenting and evaluating impact does not exist. I therefore feel, that SAMEA as an institution can provide an oversight role, grow its knowledge base in this sector, but also serve as an advocate for change by introducing the robust discussions that are usually had at SAMEA conferences where Private Sector players are present. By trying to bridge the impact articulation and professionalisation gap with the Private Sector, SAMEA will also strengthen its own presence as an agency and contribute to change.