The Evaluation Society of Kenya (ESK), a member of the African Evaluation Association (AFREA) http://www.afrea.org/ is a growing network of professionals and organizations in M&E. Its overall objective is to promote through a multi-stakeholder approach a sustainable and quality monitoring and evaluation culture and practice in Kenya.
The Society was established in 2008, under the stewardship of the current chair and founder, Jennifer Mutua, with the support of the government’s Monitoring and Evaluation Department (MED). The efforts were a follow-up action on the recommendations of a meeting held by African representatives at the 2008 International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) in Canada, which Ms Mutua attended. Other people who supported the efforts were: Julius Nyangaga (ILRI); James Mwanzia (MED); Samuel Norgah (Plan International); Dr.Florence Etta (former AFREA President); Daudi Sumba (African Wild Life Foundation );Hon. Dr Makali Mulu ( Consultant and now Member of Parliament);Rose Muchiri (UNDP); Jan Reilaender ( then UNICEF); Steve Mogere (JICA); Rekha Shori (Consultant); Charles Warria (Deloite) and Peter Kimani (Maseno University.
Initial efforts for a vibrant Evaluation Society focused on revamping and strengthening the dormant Kenya Evaluation Association (KEA), formed in 1999 and which hosted the first African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) conference. Globally, ESK is one of founder partners of the EvalPartners Movement that is spearheading the evaluation global agenda http://mymande.org/evalpartners.
ESK’s existence comes against a backdrop of weak national culture and practice for M&E. It is also within an environment of a relatively new devolved development agenda structure, the rebasing of Kenya’s economy to middle-income status and promising GDP rates. All these, among other positive developments have brought a lot of hope and expectations for improved welfare on the citizenry, including towards the redress of historical regional inequities and gender imbalances.
However, diminishing purchasing power for the majority of citizens, increasing youth unemployment and reported high levels of corruption in public resource management are among issues of great concern. An increasingly informed citizenry by a vibrant Media and a competitive global village economy is exerting pressure on government more than ever before for more prudent management of public resources.
Against this backdrop, we believe that evaluation if nationally owned has the potential to revolutionanize Kenya’s development execution – including contribution towards the redress of the current challenges.
Towards this end, ESK’s strategy includes strengthening its members’ professional capacities and rallying around the multi-stakeholder efforts of strengthening the National Integrated Monitoring & Evaluation System (NIMES). The NIMES tracks and provides feedback on the implementation of the Vision 2030. For more on ESK read UNICEF’s P2P learning and experience sharing global publication – pg.191 (http://www.mymande.org/selected-books).