This research explores (i) the conditions under which demand is generated for evidence; and (ii) the areas in which supply can be strengthened in relation to evaluation in Rwanda. The research shows that there are currently active, latent and potential demands for evaluation. The latent and potential demands are nested within the requests for evidence from principals and government agents in Rwanda (for example, supporting a research symposium with Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)). This demand is not conditioned by development partners, but is driven from the government based on their development objectives. Supply could in the short-term be strengthened through work with the Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR) and the National University.
The research suggests that there is a stronger demand for evidence than for evaluation in Rwanda. Evaluation activities in country are seen as a tool to support accountability to management or politicians or sometimes to investigate poor performance. Evaluation supply is very limited in the country. International consultants usually lead evidence gathering or evaluation exercises. If evaluation is to become a useful tool to assist development, efforts to develop capacity need to support learning that enables programme managers to understand how public investments could be improved. The supply of expertise to undertake evaluations in Rwanda is generally limited and or disengaged from country-led demand, with some islands of legitimate, good practice. There are examples of evidence being applied to inform strategy and, on occasion, policy.
There are a number of interconnected entry points for improving evaluation capacities in Rwanda with the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy 2 as a potential nodal point. The existence of functional sector working groups is a resource that can be used to enhance the governance of evaluations in this regard. Rwanda’s central government is sovereign in its decision-making processes and although the state utilises a large array of international technical assistance to supply evaluation expertise, demand is endogenous and evidence does feed into decision-making. This means that even with the withdrawal of funding, the Government will find ways to identify other supply opportunities (as it did with J-PAL). In undertaking evaluation capacity development (ECD), the challenge will be to ensure genuine transfer of skills and in strengthening the University Sector, as this is a more sustainable option.
Gasana, C.; Porter, S. Study on the demand for and supply of evaluation in Rwanda. Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results Anglophone Africa (CLEAR-AA), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa (2013) iv + 39 pp.