The growing prominence of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) in Africa’s development sector stems not only from the need to assure accountability and learning but also from the “political recognition of the utility of evaluation to good governance” (Basheka, 2015). Indeed, M&E is recognized as the main instrument for assessing the extent to which the government has done what it pledged to do in its national policy statements and development plans (National M&E Manual). In other words, there is an intrinsic relationship between M&E and good governance, be it at the national or local level. That said, M&E is still lagging in practice when it comes to the African development sector.
In an effort to improve the M&E landscape in Ghana and raise the next generation of evaluators for the country, PDA – in partnership with the Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies (SDD-UBIDS), the Ghana Monitoring and Evaluation Forum, Mobile Web Ghana, and the Mastercard Foundation – launched the Young Impact Associates (YIA) programme on 30th June 2022 at the SDD-UBIDS campus (Wa, U/W Region). The much-anticipated event was graced with dignitaries including the Vice Chancellor, Deans and Departmental heads of SDD-UBIDS, officials from the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council, and representatives from partner organisations. The launch of the programme was preceded by an orientation session for the 13-member 2022 cohort, who had been selected after a rigorous 5-stage process that assessed their capability and commitment to a career in monitoring and evaluation.
Giving the opening remarks at the ceremony, Prof. Philip Duku Osei, the Vice-Chancellor of SDD-UBIDS, noted that while there have been a host of methodologies that have helped in delivering useful information and actionable recommendations for assessing governmental policies and programmes, the utilization of results and findings has been a serious challenge. He however assured event attendees that SDD-UBIDS has the skills and acumen to efficiently manage the programme to result in the inculcation and acquisition of applicable skills and capacities that will help the Associates to find specific niches within the public and private sectors to launch themselves into practice in a career path that will be worthwhile.
Marilyn Aniwa, the Impact Lead of the Mastercard Foundation, explained that the Mastercard Foundation undertook profound shifts in its strategy and operating model in 2018, with the singular focus on youth-enhancing and enabling youth voices and agency to fully participate in managing their present circumstances and shaping the future of their communities. She counselled the Associates to apply themselves throughout the process as they are the torchbearers for the next generation of African evaluators who will contribute to knowledge in improving African-Led MEL practice.
Speaking on behalf of the Regional Coordinating Director of the Upper West region, Mr. Alhassan Tonsuglo expressed the commitment of the government to the promotion of tertiary education as a vital tool for young people for national development, helping young people to acquire capacity-building skills and competency-based training for decent jobs that enhance their livelihoods.
A video highlight of the event can be watched here.
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management.
About Young Africa Works
Young Africa Works is the Mastercard Foundation’s strategy to enable 30 million young people, particularly young women, across Africa to access dignified work. Africa will be home to the world’s largest workforce, with 375 million young people entering the job market by 2030. With the right skills, these young people will contribute to Africa’s global competitiveness and improve their lives and those of their communities. The Mastercard Foundation will implement Young Africa Works in 10 African countries in collaboration with governments, the private sector, entrepreneurs, educators, and young people. The first phase of countries identified by the Mastercard Foundation are Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Nigeria.
About the Young Impact Associates Programme
The Young Impact Associates programme is part of the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works (YAW) strategy. It aims to develop a network of highly skilled young African evaluation professionals who will be positioned to drive evaluation practices on the continent of Africa and influence development trajectories in their communities.
13 young people (Young Impact Associates) were recruited after a rigorous and highly competitive selection process to be trained for one year, receiving both theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and experiences for contextually-relevant and responsive M&E practices needed to amplify impact and lead the next generation of African evaluators. YIA programme activities will include blended training and on-field experiential learning, mentorship, boot camps, exchange programs, connections to other M&E networks, and participation in relevant conferences
This training will be facilitated by the Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies (SDD-UBIDS) in the Upper West Region, a consortium member of the Impact Partner Organization overseeing the measurement of the impact of the Mastercard Foundation’s projects in Ghana. The consortium is led by PDA, and comprises SDD-UBIDS, Mobile Web Ghana, and the Ghana Monitoring and Evaluation Forum (GMEF).