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Tikwiza Silubonde

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As a recipient of the SAMEA Emerging Evaluator Scholarship, I was able to attend the 7th Biennial SAMEA Conference in October 2019. Here I was exposed SAMEA’s convening power and the important role it has to guide and strengthen the development of M&E in South Africa. I contributed to a presentation in the M&E Skills parallel session on the South African Evaluator Education Landscape, and subsequently co-authored a paper submitted to the SAMEA special edition AEJ publication 2020.

I currently volunteer on the EduCOVID Topical Interest Group (TIG), a TIG launched by SAMEA for those working in the field of education, who are interested in cooperating around Covid-19 and Education in South Africa. As a Young and Emerging Evaluator (YEE) myself, I am also part of the YEE TIG.

What is the biggest challenge facing M&E in SA?

The lack of standardized evaluator competencies or set of standards to guide the strengthening of M&E is one of the biggest challenges facing M&E in SA. Strengthening capacity for evaluation as profession, a field of practice, and a discipline of study is critical for the growth of M&E in South Africa.

What should SAMEA achieve, in the next three years? Strengthening the development M&E as a discipline, profession, and tool for empowerment in South Africa should be the continued focus of SAMEA in the next three years. Specifically, this requires finalising and institutionalising the evaluator competencies that SAMEA is currently working on; ensuring that M&E capacity building initiatives adequately meet the current and future needs of the various stakeholders; and promoting and conducting research as well as other activities to foster the development of M&E as a discipline that reflects the context.

To achieve this, I believe SAMEA should build on the work that has been started in the following three areas: 1. Developing evaluator competencies – finalise the evaluator competencies in an inclusive manner 2. Implementing the Emerging Evaluators concept note – strengthening implementation of the 5 components outlined in the 2019 Emerging Evaluators Programme Concept note. 3. Supporting M&E research and scholarship – conduct research and produce opinion pieces, blogs, learning briefs and publications to share and document learning. In so doing contribute to knowledge production from within South Africa.

What major contribution will you bring to SAMEA and its membership? My experience in academia has exposed me to M&E research and teaching. I have insight into evaluation education offerings in South Africa, as well as the training needs of both emerging and experienced evaluators.

As a result, I can develop and initiate relevant capacity building initiatives that will contribute to 2 the development of M&E capacity of SAMEA members. Additionally, my M&E research experience and skills will enable me to take forward SAMEA’s research and scholarship work and foster the practice of documenting and sharing learning among M&E stakeholders.