Towards defining and advancing ‘Made in Africa Evaluation’

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AOSIS Publishing


Background: Most evaluation in Africa is rooted in dominant neoliberal Western approaches. Imported Western evaluation frames may lack multicultural validity and can lead to wrong conclusions and poor development outcomes. They may also reinforce subjugation and cultural hegemony through neo-imperialism and colonisation of the imaginations of those concerned. The Made in Africa Evaluation (MAE) concept has received attention in recent years as a way to address this challenge. As a relatively nascent construct, however, interested scholars and professionals continue to seek to define and operationalise MAE more effectively.

Objective: The objective of this study is to provide a working definition of MAE.

Methods: We used the Delphi technique to solicit informed views from expert evaluators working in Africa. We interviewed two additional experts to triangulate and test the validity of those findings. We also tested the Delphi derived definition of MAE through the analysis of six illustrative evaluation reports. Finally, we asked the same panel of experts to complete a survey aimed at clarifying next key steps to advance the construct.

Results: The results of our efforts to elucidate a concise definition of MAE yielded the following definition: Evaluation that is conducted based on African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) standards, using localised methods or approaches with the aim of aligning all evaluations to the lifestyles and needs of affected African peoples whilst also promoting African values.

Conclusion: We posit that this working definition, however tentative, has the potential to influence the practice, study, and teaching of evaluation in Africa.



Made in Africa evaluation, Indigenous evaluation, Culturally responsive evaluation, African evaluation, culture-centered evaluation


Omosa, O., Archibald, T., Niewolny, K., Stephenson, M. & Anderson, J., 2021, ‘Towards defining and advancing “Made in Africa Evaluation”’, African Evaluation Journal 9(1), a564. v9i1.564