Two key evaluation actors namely the African Gender and Development Evaluators Network (AGDEN) and the International Development Evaluation Association (IDEAS) won a competitive award from the IOCE and EvalPartners on the Innovation Challenge Project 2019. The title of the project was “Expanding Democratic Spaces for more Inclusive and Equitable Governance: Integrating Gender-Responsiveness and Equity-Focus into Legislation through Evaluation”. The project implementation Team organised a Training Workshop for Parliamentarians on 9 August 2019, at the Boma Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose of the training workshop for the Parliamentarians was:
The first session of the event was the official launch of the Strategic Plan for the Parliamentary Caucus on Evidence-Informed Decision-Making. The session was coordinated and moderated by Hon. Senator Lokorio Petronila Were. Mr. Paul Ng’etich, the Director of Information, Research and Technology at the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), made the opening remarks. He reiterated the commitment of support from the Directorate to enhance the working relationship with the Partners.
The Head of Communications from the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP), Elizabeth Kahurani, stressed on the role of evidence in informing policy, and the need for transformation of Africa based on credible evidence. She stressed that Parliament has a critical role in utilisation of evidence for enhanced governance and accountability.
On her part, Dr. Florence Etta, representing the African Gender and Development Evaluators Network (AGDEN) and the project implementation team, stressed on the follow-up of the Colombo Declaration on the role of Parliaments on Evidence-Informed Decision-Making. She lauded the good working relationship with Parliament through Hon. Dr. Makali Mulu and the whole of the Parliamentary Caucus on Evidence-Informed Decision-Making (PC-EIDM) Team, which he Co-Chairs. She congratulated the Caucus for being the Champions of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) not only in Kenya, but the whole of Africa. She stressed on the need for M&E capacity development for Parliamentarians for enhanced governance and accountability.
The Acting Director of the Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate (MED), Mr. David Kiboi stressed on the leading role played by political leadership in enhancing evidence-informed decision-making. He intimated on the development of Monitoring and Evaluation guidelines and once again stressed on the role of partnership for the realisation of this. He noted that a draft M&E bill has been drafted to help move forward the M&E policy, which has taken long to approve. Mr. Kiboi also stated that the role of capacity building is indispensable and MED has been successful in spearheading this through the annual M&E week every November. In response to Mr. Kiboi, the MPs recommended that there is need to lobby the Members of Parliament to pass the M&E policy and introduce the M&E bill as a private members bill so that it moves forward. The members of parliament will put a question in the house on the status of the M&E policy. The participants, led by the Session moderator, Senator Hon. Lokorio Petronila Were, welcomed the development of the M&E Guidelines.
The Chairperson of the PC-EIDM, Hon. Dr. Makali Mulu, also reiterated the commitment of the Caucus in working with the partnership. He appreciated the role of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) in facilitating their work as a Caucus. He highlighted the role of Parliament and how this aligns with evidence. The first role is that of parliament is that of legislation and for this, it is important to conduct research to generate evidence on what gaps exist. The second role is that of representation and for this, we need to share information about the numbers accessing development projects or interventions – there is need for data to inform effective representation. The third role of parliament is oversight and information as evidence is equally critical for this role. The last role is that of budget making and this involves the use of figures for evidence. All the roles mentioned cannot be done without evidence. The role of the Caucus was therefore to create champions for evidence and the utilisation of the same to inform policy.
Dr. Jared Ichwara from the Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate (MED), highlighted some of the measures that the National Integrated Monitoring and Evaluation System (NIMES) has put in place to ensure that the Counties are using the systems through the County Integrated Monitoring and Evaluation System (CIMES). He also highlighted the working relationships between the core Government agencies charged with evidence generation and utilisation namely the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) which produces the data; the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA), which is an agency in the State Department for Planning charged with the responsibility of research and policy analysis; then we have the Parliamentary Research Office (PRO) and the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) which consume what KIPPRA has done. Finally, it is the mandate of MED to bring together the evidence producers and users (who include the Legislators).
During the Training on Integrating Gender-Responsiveness and Equity-Focus into Legislation through Evaluation, Dr. Florence Etta shared the AGDEN Approach with an emphasis on the conceptual propositions on integration of norms, standards and key concepts namely: Empowerment, Participation, Inclusion, Non-discrimination, Accountability and Sustainability. She stressed on the need to include gender and power analysis; understand local laws; identify and address relevant duty bearers; engage, involve and strengthen/educate the rights-holders or claim-holders. In general, for this approach to be successful there is need to use the AGDEN/OECD DAC evaluation criteria in all programmes, projects and policy evaluations; we should also use participatory and mixed methods and techniques in all evaluations. The presentation by Dr. Etta also brought in the linkages between the SDGs, Agenda 2030 with its indicators and reporting mechanism and AU Agenda 2063 with a lack of reporting mechanism. In response to Dr. Etta’s presentation, participants felt that Parliament is more on equity responsiveness than gender responsiveness, yet both need attention. An example is gender-responsive budgeting is hardly taken on-board in discussions. It is about equity in budgeting. Part of the reason is that gender responsive budgeting does not link up with the planning stage.
Eddah Kanini made a presentation on Championing Gender-responsiveness and Equity-focus in Legislation through Evaluations, in which she introduced the legislators to the basics of Monitoring and Evaluation, the key evaluation concepts and why evaluation function is important for the Legislators and Parliament as a whole. The discussion also centered on the challenges faced by the Parliamentary Oversight in the gathering of evidence/evaluation data and utilisation. She also talked about the Power of Evaluation and how Parliament could Power Evaluation.
Picture 1: Participants pose for a Group Picture during the Training Workshop
Finally, the participants discussed how the project could support the PC-EIDM in ensuring gender-responsiveness and equity-focus in evidence generation and utilisation. They emphasised on the role and responsibilities of the legislators; sharing of information by the partners with the Parliamentary Research Office (PRO) so as to be able to reach the Parliamentarians; and lastly, the proper analysis of the problem or context, to be able to generate context-specific evidence.
Picture 2: Members of the Project Implementation Team pose for a picture after a job well done.
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