There is growing recognition of the critical role of evaluations to generate relevant information to guide the decisions and actions of policy makers and project managers. Yet, there is poor understanding of the demand and supply of evaluations in many African countries. This study seeks to bridge this knowledge gap by generating deeper insights on the demand and supply of evaluations in Ghana, as one of the five country cases conducted by the regional Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results for Anglophone Africa (CLEAR AA). Ghana was selected based on an assessment as having a high potential to develop evaluation capacity.
The objectives of the study were to understand the conditions under which demand is generated for evaluation evidence and the areas in which evaluation supply can be strengthened to meet and foster this demand. To achieve these objectives assessments were undertaken of: (a) the development context for evaluations in Ghana; (b) the demand for evaluation; (c) the various entities supplying evaluations and their capacities; (d) the areas in which supply can be strengthened to meet and foster this demand; and (e) pathways to develop evaluation capacities both on the demand and supply side, involving government, civil society, Parliament and voluntary organisations for professional evaluation (VOPE).
This study was carried out through a combination of desk review, including an analysis of existing evaluation products, and direct semi-structured interviews with a selection of key informants from across critical stakeholder groupings.
Key findings include the following: (a) practically all of the evaluation work done in Ghana so far has been development partner led, with little involvement of Ghanaian organisations and professionals; (b) the demand and supply of evaluations is greatly influenced by the socio-political context; (c) there is an enabling environment for evaluation capacity development in Ghana, given its deepening democratic culture as well as an emerging vibrant VOPE.
Based on the findings, the possible areas of interventions include: (a) using the Joint Assessment for Strengthening Monitoring and Evaluation and Statistics (JASMES) as a platform for evaluation capacity development; (b) supporting the development of evaluation policy in Ghana; and (c) supporting the capacity development of Parliament to demand evaluations as part of their mandate.
The paper also recommends that whatever actions are to be taken, it is important that the political economy of the country is taken into consideration. The key argument here is that the development of monitoring and evaluation must be rooted in the sociocultural context of the Ghanaian people. As noted by Levi (2011) and Leftwich (2006), the way forward in promoting effective monitoring and evaluation, and for that matter, development is to focus on an approach that is best suited to the local social and political context.
Adams, S.; Amoatey, C.; Taabazuing, J.; Feinstein, O. Study on the demand for and supply of evaluation in Ghana. Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (2013) vi + 35 pp.