Towards Defining

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

As part of the neoliberal 'development project' and the spread of capitalism across Africa, most evaluation in Africa is rooted in dominant Western paradigms and approaches. This creates a two-pronged problem. First, imported Western evaluation methods and approaches may in fact lack validity, and thus be leading to wrong conclusions and bad development outcomes. Second, Western evaluation approaches may reinforce subjugation and cultural hegemony through neo-imperialism and the 'colonization of the mind.' This problem has been addressed in recent years through development of the concept of Made in Africa Evaluation (MAE). As a relatively nascent concept, there remains a need to define better and operationalize MAE. Chilisa's (2015) synthesis paper moved the field towards conceptualizing MAE to prevent it from becoming an empty buzzword. However, Chilisa's efforts fell short of offering a concise definition around which some consensus may arise. Given the current state of development of this increasingly influential concept, the purpose of this study is to contribute further to the conceptualization of MAE. Theoretically, this study is informed by the literature on a postcolonial critique of the neoliberal development project, along with literature on decolonizing and indigenous methodologies. Methodologically, I used the Delphi technique to solicit informed opinions from expert evaluators working in Africa systematically. I interviewed an additional two experts to provide an extra layer of validity to the findings. Further, through a document analysis of six illustrative evaluation reports, I pilot test the newly developed definition of MAE, and finally, through a survey filled out by the same experts, I prioritize the next steps that are important and feasible in advancing the concept. I posit that MAE is Africa developed approach to evaluation, using African worldviews and methods in the evaluation process.

Made in Africa Evaluation, MAE, Culturally Responsive Evaluation