The African Evaluation Association (AFREA), a professional monitoring body, was on Wednesday introduced into the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana to develop and improve a strong and connected African evaluation community.
The programme which was held in Accra also sought to evaluate developmental projects, interventions and policies of African countries to ensure transparency and accountability.
Dr Florence Etta, President of AFREA, said the association was founded in 1999 in response to a growing demand for information sharing, advocacy and advanced capacity building in evaluation in Africa.
She said the association was an umbrella organization for more than 20 national associations and networks in Africa and a resource for individuals in countries where national bodies do not exist.
Dr Etta said AFREA has held five continent-wide conferences; the fifth and most recent one took place in Egypt in March and April 2009, to facilitate the development of African Evaluation Guidelines in enhancing the quality and utilization of evaluation on the continent.
She said Ghana would host the 6th AFREA Conference on January 9-13, 2012, at the Accra International Conference Centre, under the theme: “Rights and Responsibilities in Development Evaluation”.
She said the association mission was to work in collaboration with Universities, training institutions and initiatives within and outside the continent to enhance and improve the skills and capacities of evaluators throughout Africa.
Dr Etta said the association would work with research institutions in the public and community service in supporting the development and growth of national evaluation associations.
She stressed that the association as a Non-Governmental Organization has developed a strategic plan with support from the Rockefeller Foundation between 2010 and 2011 with priorities in increasing the provision, demand for and the use of quality evaluations in Africa.
Dr Etta noted that membership of AFREA is open to persons or organizations committed to its missions and goals and are accepted upon submission and receipt of 50 dollars for individuals and 200 dollars for an association and a completed application form.
She said interested group could visit its website www.afrea.org for more information.
Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Director at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, welcomed the initiative and encouraged institutions in the country to join the association in building a strong evaluation body for development.
She noted that the association would help create awareness to the public on the importance of evaluation on developmental projects in the African continent.
Dr Sulley Gariba, Adviser on development policy at the office of the President, said evaluation is a periodic process of gathering data and analyzing resulting information which would be used to determine whether an organization’s programme is effectively carrying out its planned activities, and the extent to which it is achieving its stated objectives and anticipated results.
According to him, evaluation of programmes help policy makers to use systematic evidence to comment on facts about the performance of government programmes and in the process pass good judgment.
He said government spent huge money on social programmes and therefore evaluation would help ascertain which of the programmes worked or not.
Dr Gariba said the Auditor General Report is a financial evaluation which informed the public about the state of the country’s economy with the quest of ensuring transparency in governance.