Genesis contributes to evaluation for democracy debate in South Africa

Genesis has contributed to the debate on the role of evaluation in building democracy in South Africa with a chapter in a recently published anthology, Democratic Evaluation and Democracy: Exploring the Reality. 

Democratic Evaluation is an approach that aims to serve the whole community. It focuses on inclusive practices that foster collaboration between the evaluators and the beneficiaries of the interventions to ensure public accountability and transparency. 

Alyna Wyatt (Partner) and Mishkah Jakoet (Manager) of Genesis's Evaluation for Development practice co-authored a chapter entitled "Exploring Economic Development Initiatives and the Link to Democratic Outcomes".

Editor Donna Podems draws attention to the role of evaluation in society, particularly in strengthening social justice, and explores whether evaluation is furthering democracy in South Africa. 

The introductory chapters cover the rise of democracy in South Africa and the emergence of the evaluation profession. The book then explores the experiences of government (national and local) and civil society in evaluation as well as South African evaluators’ understanding of their contribution to strengthening democracy.

Chapter 9, authored by the Genesis team, focuses on our experience in designing and implementing an evaluation of the Land Restitution Programme in South Africa. We explore how democracy can be furthered and how historical inequalities can be redressed through the evaluation process.

Therefore, even if the evaluation itself cannot be fully classified as a Democratic Evaluation, evaluation is still essential to unlock value for evaluation users and for broader society. 

The book is available at IAP

From left: Alyna Wyatt and Mishkah Jakoet (both from Genesis), the editor Donna Podems (OtherWise and University of Johannesburg), Dugan Fraser (SAMEA Board, Raith Foundation), Ian Goldman (Dept of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency of SA), Mark Abrahams (Editor of the African Journal of Evaluation, Southern Hemisphere Consulting) and Benita Williams (Benita Williams Evaluation Consultants) at book launch of Democratic Evaluation and Democracy: Exploring the Reality at the AfrEA conference in Kampala in March 2007