Monitoring and Evaluation
A five-year external evaluation of ASADI has been conducted over the first phase of the project, with principal focus on the three science-academy partners in Nigeria, Uganda, and South Africa. Two small companies -- Washington, DC-based Encompass and South Africa-based Otherwise are working in partnership to carry out the evaluation, which has included baseline observation and inquiry sessions at all affiliated academies, annual visits to each of the three intensive partners, periodic meetings with U.S. National Academies staff, and regular review of evaluation-relevant materials shared by program participants. Members of the evaluation team also participate in the annual conferences and joint learning sessions to gather data and facilitate discussions on evaluation.
Two overarching principles characterize the ASADI evaluation approach: participation and capacity building. The evaluation has engaged, through a participatory process, a broad range of US and African stakeholders in the design, monitoring, and assessment components of the evaluation. A diverse core group of program participants at each academy has also been established to ensure continuity in evaluation design, implementation, and results analysis. A participatory approach to evaluation has helped to make more explicit the goals, assumptions, and expectations of the overall initiative; to develop a theory of change of the initiative; to clarify the users of evaluation; and to identify performance measures to be used across and within institutions. The evaluation is also itself a capacity-building exercise. The evaluation team has provided training in evaluation theory, design, and implementation for U.S. National Academies staff and for members and staff of all participating African academies.
The evaluation of ASADI has included both qualitative and quantitative measures and has tracked both processes and outcomes of the program. The evaluation involves the analysis and monitoring of change in attitudes, behaviors, and skills at the individual and organizational levels and the extent to which evidence-based decision-making in partner countries may be developing as a result of the initiative.
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The African Science Academy Development Initiative is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Photos provided by Peter Arnold Inc., U.S. Agency for International Development, World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases.