Celebration of EvalYear 2015 in Cameroon by Cameroonian Community of Evaluators
I- ORIGIN ANF OBJECTIVES OF « EVALCAFE »
Under the initiative of the Former President of the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA), Mr Serge Eric Yakeu, EvalCafé was launched in May 2015 with the objectives to support and encourage the local dynamism in evaluation capacities development, strengthening the culture evaluation in Cameroon, Supporting evaluation networking between Cameroonian and international evaluators, and finally celebrating with the international community of evaluators the “EvalYear 2015”. This event was registered 43rd among the list of world evaluation events initiated in 2015 on EvalPartners website (http://mymande.org/evalyear/evaluationtorch2015 ). Under the label of « Cameroonian Communuty of Evaluators», targeted participants were: Students and Young Evaluators; National and international Experts ; Representatives of Development Support Institutions.
An organizing committee formed by key leaders such as Armand Nkwescheu, Pierre Foka, Arnoux Mouafo, Elvis Besingi Nassako, Thierry Tsou, Chi Fule Bemieh and Cecile Ebobisse under the leadership of Serge Eric Yakeu, had primary responsibility for defining the broad guidelines for the organization and definition of content of the EvalCafé. A Secretariat led the operationalization of the overall activities decided by the Organizing Committee. Material and financial resources of this first edition of EvalCafé are twofold: the registration fees of participants, and individual contributions in kind and property of some members of the organizing committee. The pooled inputs enhance the quality of the event.
II- EVALCAFE Yaounde 2015 : A celebration day of EvalYear 2015
The meeting began with the projection and presentation of the "EvalYear torch" by Serge Eric Yakeu, who acted as keynote speaker. Forty-seven participants (47) attent the event with 45% of female. A brief history of the International Year of evaluation was done in French and in English. It was retained that “EvalYear 2015” derived from the need to assess the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ending in December 2015 with the transition phase to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 2015 was declared international Year of evaluation in 2013 by the United Nations in Brazil (city of SAO PAOLO). The EvalYear 2015 was proclaimed by participants in French and in English as follows:
In French: Nous, communauté des évaluateurs Camerounais, reconnaissons l’évaluation comme un outil essentiel d’appréciation des progrès du développement, de concert avec la communauté internationale des évaluateurs, déclarons 2015 Année Internationale de l’Evaluation !
In English: We, the Cameroonian community of evaluators, acknowledge evaluation as an essential tool for progress assessment, agree with the International community of evaluators to declare 2015 the International Year of Evaluation!
A training workshop was held on the theme "Evaluation in Practice: Approaches, Challenges and Opportunities". Moreover, participants were introduced to evaluation networking and the development of evaluation capability opportunities (trainings, workshops, employment and employability at the national and international level). Finally, the post-EvalCafé and future prospects were developed in brainstorming.
III- EVALUATION OF THE EVENT BY PARTICIPANTS
This first edition of the EvalCafé was evaluated by participants using an evaluation sheet that was given to each. The results are presented in three parts including participation, preparation, content / learning (training workshop and networking), and suggestions / recommendations (see annex 3).
Among the forty-seven (47) participants received, 45% are women. They were gathered largely from public sector (64%), private sector, NGOs / associations and 8% were individual consultants. The majority (85%) of participants were very satisfied by the content and the learning materials of the workshop session. Twenty-five, 24, 23 and 22% were satisfied by the electronic process, the quality and pertinence of the theme, and by the diversity of networks shared during the networking session.
However, participants raised the future prospects as follows: the need to develop more EvalCafé events with practical aspects of evaluation with case studies; the distribution of certificates to participants during such event; the call for EvalCafé in other regions of Cameroon and in several days; the call for coaching young evaluators; the need to have internet connection during future EvalCafé; the call for capacity building on how to deal with evaluation networking; the need to produce hard copy of documents; the necessity to relaunch the evaluation dynamics within the Cameroon Development Evaluation Association (CaDEA).
The first edition of EvalCafé was a success. The quality of participation and the interest of participants informed about local demand for evaluation capacities development (ECD). The recommendations of participants provide an enabling starting steps to the organizing committee to refine the local initiatives including strengthening reflection to meet the expressed needs in order to support the local evaluation capacities.
Serge Eric Yakeu
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