Sustaining the Momentum in Evaluation Capacity Development: Working with Parliamentary Staff in Evaluation and Mentoring the Young and Emerging Evaluators (YEEs).

The Africa Gender and Development Evaluators Network (AGDEN) and the International Development Evaluation Association (IDEAS) with funding from the International Organisation for Collaboration in Evaluation (IOCE) and EvalPartners, through the Innovation Challenge 2019, organised a workshop for Parliamentary Staff from the Kenyan Parliament as a follow up to an earlier training session with the Parliamentarians. The workshop ran from 5th to 6th of September 2019. The overall Workshop Objective was to train the Parliamentary Staff on evidence-informed decision-making with a gender-lens and to monitor gender equality in Parliamentary activities in line with the Kenyan National blueprints the Vision 2030 as well as achievement of the Big 4 through evaluation.

Sande Marale, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Parliamentary Research Services (PRS) in her speech, outlined the provisions of the Strategic Objectives of the PRS. These included inter alia, mainstreaming M&E in legislation and oversight, as well as strengthening knowledge and decision-making. She hinted that gender and equity-focus has been missing from their analysis as PRS. The development of an M&E Framework is in the Strategic Objective of the PRS. This therefore makes this training very critical for PRS as a Department of Parliament. Sande reiterated the need to for creating greater partnerships and networks to compliment the work already being done by the PRS. She also stressed on the need for sensitisation of members of staff at the PRS on how to enhance their M&E capacities.

George Kimani from the National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) in his speech, highlighted the birth of NGEC and how it is entrenched in the Commission, citing the articles. He itemised the roles of NGEC including the extended mandate of working with the marginalised categories like Women, Persons with Disabilities, Youth and Minority communities. He also emphasised on the oversight role of the NGEC. He emphasised that it is the role of NGEC to encourage Counties and other partners on the need to promote gender equality in their operations. He also appreciated the good working relationships between AGDEN with NGEC, especially at the top leadership.

Hon. Dr. Susan Musyoka, the Founder of the Parliamentary Caucus on Evidence-Informed Decision-Making (PC-EIDM), highlighted some of her roles in enhancing evidence-informed decision-making. She has been actively involved with the African Parliamentarians’ Network on Development Evaluation (APNODE). She has also been a Member of the Global Parliamentarians Forum on Evaluation (GPFE). She played a key role in the establishment of the PC-EIDM. She stressed on the need for actors to agitate for space and rights and not leaving anyone behind in line with the SDGs Agenda 2030.

Picture 1: Grace Okonji taking participants through a Session during the Training

During the actual training on Gender-Responsiveness and Equity-Focus in Evaluation, Eddah Kanini Karijo, the Project Co-Coordinator, stressed on the fact that data and information gathered through M&E efforts are critical only if they can be put into use. She poked the participants to identify some of the challenges faced in getting evidence to inform decision-making in Parliament. Some of the challenges identified included lack of disaggregated data; the use of logic models appear too theoretical and abstract to be applied by Parliamentarians; Parliamentary staff find it very difficult to challenge the positions of their Bosses – the Parliamentarians; and lastly, it was noted that in Parliament, they do not have M&E practitioners as such, but they do monitor legislation though, through tracking of bills. 

On Gender and Equity [Human Rights] Responsive M&E, Dr. Florence Etta and Grace Okonji emphasised on the No one left out in Development interventions. If we are not sensitive to exclusion, development will not work for everyone. Dr. Etta shared the historical development of AGDEN dating back to 2002 as well as the contribution of AGDEN to M&E. These included:

  • Development of a Gender Diagnostic Matrix with CLEAR – AA;
  • Development of a culturally responsive and gender-responsive M&E Curriculum;
  • Development of the AGDEN approach for Gender and Equity Responsive Evaluation.

Dr. Etta observed that Feminism has given us an opportunity to speak about power dynamics at the household level. She gave a summary of the AGDEN approach encompassing the key Notions / Principles. These included: Empowerment; Participation; Inclusion; Non-discrimination; Accountability; and Sustainability.

Picture 2: A section of the Participants attentive during the Training

A presentation was made of the comparison and key areas of similarity between the Human Rights based Approach to Planning and Evaluation with the Gender and Development approach. The operational propositions of the approach consist of 4 principles and 1 law. The principles are applicable to planning, monitoring and evaluation; while the law guides general evaluation. The Principles are:

  • Include gender and power analysis
  • Understand local laws that frame the project and human rights
  • Identify and address relevant duty-bearers
  • Engage, involve and strengthen/educate the rights-holders or claim-holders.

The law is: Use AGDEN OECD DAC Evaluation criteria in all programmes, projects and policy evaluations; and Use participatory and mixed methods and techniques in all evaluations.

Dr. K’Odhiambo Bosco Okumu, a Senior Economist with the Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate (MED) made a presentation on the Vision 2030 with the overall goal of making Kenya a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030. He shared on the three Pillars of Vision 2030 – which are anchored on foundations of the key sectors for socio-Economic and political development – Social Pillar, Political Pillar and the Economic Pillar. He also stressed on why Equity matters in evaluation and in decision-making as it has a significant positive impact on reducing poverty.

During the Practical Session, stress was made on the need to make Evaluation Commissioners sensitive to the need for gender-responsiveness and equity-focus to evaluation approaches. Independent Evaluators need to start negotiating the space, especially during the inception process.

Picture 3: Participants pose for a group photo after the Official opening of the Workshop

On the second day of the event, the Participants were taken through a practical session on why and how Parliamentarians and Parliamentary staff should be interested in implementation of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs 2030.

Picture 4: The Young and Emerging Evaluators posing for a picture with a Mentor

The key learning point for the whole Workshop was that we cannot achieve development that is durable and sustainable unless we achieve gender-equality.

“Gender-mainstreaming was a deliberate political ploy at further disorienting and disenfranchising women. Structures have been created to support equality, but these are not reflected in legislation. We have not seen the results to show that gender mainstreaming is working. We cannot continue to do the same thing the same way over time and expect different results. This is why we must shift our focus from gender mainstreaming to gender integration.” – Dr. Florence Etta.

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