Enabling African youth evaluators to own their future

April 1, 2019

At Pact, we are committed to culturally responsive and empowering evaluation, which we believe is critical to sustainable development. As part of this commitment, Pact recently partnered with The Mastercard Foundation to fund scholarships for 19 youth evaluators from 11 countries to attend the 9th African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) International Conference. The scholarship awardees joined nearly 700 professional and aspiring evaluators who traveled from 60 countries to gather in Cote d’Ivoire for this year’s AfrEA conference. This biennial conference is Africa’s premier event in the evaluation sector, providing capacity building and thought leadership for the African and global development evaluation community.

The AfrEA organization was founded in 1999 to provide a platform for information sharing, advocacy and advanced capacity building in the evaluation sector in Africa. It has since worked to develop a strong African evaluation community. A subgrant provided to AfrEA through the Pact/ MCF partnership enabled AfrEA to award travel scholarships to young professionals and aspiring evaluators to expand their knowledge and networks in the field of monitoring and evaluation within the African context.

Four of the youth scholarship winners not only participated in the conference, but contributed significant thought leadership through leading round tables, practical workshops, and presentations. Pact’s own Hope Mezuwa, Senior Monitoring & Evaluation Officer at Pact Malawi, was among the presenters. Hope travelled from Malawi to share his work in a presentation titled, “Using Data to Improve Targeting: How Monthly Data Reviews Improve Outcomes for Fishermen Living with HIV in Malawi.” Fellow awardee, Vicent Ssenyondo, member of the Executive Committee of the Uganda Evaluation Association and Committee of the Young and Emerging Evaluators-Uganda, conducted a practical workshop entitled, “Qualitative M&E data management, Analysis and Visualization using NVIVO.” This heavily attended workshop drew participants from 25 African countries. 

“Attending AfrEA enabled me to advance more in the discipline, to learn more from the top M&E practitioners on the continent and to get abreast with the various new disciplines available in the dynamic M&E era.” -Vicent Ssenyondo, Uganda

This is the third time that Pact has worked with The Mastercard Foundation (MCF) to enable and inspire the next generation of African youth. As part of their Young Africa Works Strategy, MCF’s strategy for the next decade focuses on finding solutions to the youth employment challenge in Africa- the world’s youngest continent. MCF believes youth employment is a particularly important indicator of poverty reduction. Sponsoring young evaluators to participate in the AfrEA conference is one way the Foundation is helping to build employable expertise on the continent. Moreover, by supporting young African evaluators, Pact and MCF mobilized and inspired a cohort of emerging evaluators who will contribute to improving the quality of local evaluation capacity on the continent. 

“Africa’s young people are building a better future for the continent, but they cannot do it alone. We believe in their potential, and we are honored to accompany them on their journey.” -The Mastercard Foundation

Through this grant, Pact, in partnership with MCF, mobilized and inspired a cohort of emerging African evaluators who will contribute to improving the quality of local evaluation capacity on the continent, and made it possible for them to come together and engage meaningfully in discussions on the challenges and ways forward in strengthening evaluation in Africa. Scholarship awardees gained knowledge, a growing network, and lessons to take back to their home countries, holding true to and pressing forward in Pact’s vision of a world where everyone owns their future.