The history of programme evaluation in South Africa

Mouton, Charline (2010-12)

Thesis (MPhil (Sociology and Social Anthropology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study seeks to document the emergence of programme evaluation in South Africa. The value of the study lies in the fact that no extensive study on the history of programme evaluation in South Africa has been undertaken before. In order to locate the study within an international context, the study commences with a description of how programme evaluation developed as a sub discipline of the social sciences in other countries. In terms of the South African context, the NGO sector, public sector and professionalisation of programme evaluation is considered. Through this study, it is proposed that the emergence of programme evaluation in South Africa is directly linked to donor activities in the NPO sector. This leads to a discussion of the advancement of monitoring and evaluation in the public sector – specifically the role played by government in institutionalising monitoring and evaluation. Finally, the professionalisation of the evaluation field is also included. The study commenced with a thorough document analysis to gather data on both the international context as well as the South African context. In terms of gathering data on South Africa, data on certain aspects of the emergence of programme evaluation was very limited. To augment the limited data on the local front, face to face and telephonic interviews were conducted. Through these conversations, valuable additional non-published resources and archaic documents were discovered and could be included in the study to produce a comprehensive picture of the emergence of programme evaluation in South Africa. A number of salient points emerge from the thesis. Firstly, there are both similarities and differences between the United States and the UK when considering the emergence of programme evaluation internationally. Secondly, South Africa followed a different trajectory to the USA and UK, where programme evaluation originated within government structures and was consequently a top down occurrence. In South Africa, programme evaluation emerged through donor activity and therefore occurred from the bottom up. Thirdly, in comparison to the US and UK, the South African government did not initially play a significant role in the advancement of monitoring and evaluation (M&E). However, it is within this sector that M&E became institutionalised in South Africa. Finally, the professionalisation and development of programme evaluation in South Africa can be attributed to the first generation evaluators of the 1990s. It is the critical thinking and initiative taken by these individuals that stimulated the field. It is hoped that this study will constitute only the first step into the documentation of programme evaluation’s history in South Africa as there are many areas where further investigation is still required.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die opkoms van program evaluering in Suid-Afrika. Die waarde van die studie is gekoppel aan die feit dat daar nog nie vantevore so ‘n uitgebreide studie rondom die geskiedenis van program evaluering onderneem is nie. Ten einde die studie binne ‘n internasionale konteks te plaas, word ‘n beskrywing gegee van hoe program evaluasie as ‘n subdissipline van die sosiale wetenskappe in ander lande ontwikkel het. In terme van die plaaslike konteks word die NPO sektor, die publieke sektor en die professionalisering van program evaluering ondersoek. ‘n Hipotese word voorgelê dat die opkoms van program evaluering in Suid- Afrika direk verwant hou met internasionale skenkerorganisasies se aktiwiteite in Suid-Afrika. Daarna volg ‘n bespreking van die groei van monitering en evaluering in die publieke sektor. Laastens word die professionalisering van die evaluasie domein ook bespreek. Die beginpunt van die studie was ‘n deeglike dokumentêre analise ten einde inligting in te samel oor die internasionale sowel as plaaslike konteks. In die geval van Suid-Afrika was die data baie beperk in sommige areas, veral rondom die geskiedenis van program evaluering. Ten einde die data aan te vul, is telefoniese en persoonlike onderhoude gevoer met sleutelpersone in die betrokke sektore. Deur die gesprekke is toegang verkry tot waardevolle addisionele ongepubliseerde bronne en historiese dokumente. Die ontdekking en insluiting van die dokumente verseker dat ‘n volledige beeld geskets word rondom die opkoms van program evaluering in Suid- Afrika. ‘n Aantal betekenisvolle bevindings volg vanuit die studie. Eerstens, daar is beide ooreenkomste en verskille in die manier wat program evaluering in Amerika en die Verenigde Koninkryk tot stand gekom het. Tweedens, Suid-Afrika volg ‘n verskillende perogatief in vergelyking met Amerika en die Verenigde Koninkryk waar program evaluering sy ontstaan binne die regering gehad het en ook deur die regering “afgedwing is”. In Suid-Afrika, kan program evaluering se opkoms in teenstelling daarmee direk gekoppel word aan die betrokkenheid van ‘n skenker organisasie. Derdens, in vergelyking met Amerika en die Verenigde Koninkryk het die Suid-Afrikaanse regering aanvanklik nie ‘n betekenisvolle rol gespeel in die vooruitgang van monitering en evaluering nie. Dit is egter noemenswaardig dat die publieke sektor die institusionalisering van monitering en evaluering teweegebring het. Laastens, kan die professionalisering en groei van program evaluering in Suid-Afrika grootliks toegeskryf word aan die bydrae van die eerste generasie evalueerders van die 1990s. Dit is grootliks die persone se bydrae in die vorme van kritiese denke en inisiatief wat die veld gestimuleer en bevorder het. Dit is my hoop dat hierdie studie gevolg sal word deur die voortdurende dokumentasie van die geskiedenis en verloop van program evaluering in Suid-Afrika.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5413
This item appears in the following collections: