Transition to democracy - The role of civic education in Kenya
Karuti Kanyinga and Carl Wesselink of South Consulting in Nairobi describe the evolution and impact of civic education in Kenya, and argue that the imminent election will be the true test of how effective civic education has been.
The National Civic Education Programme (NCEP) in Kenya provides a very
good case study for improving our understanding of civic education in
the context of political change. The NCEP is a large-scale programme supported
by 10 donors, which delivered civic education directly to about 4 million
Kenyans, mostly via face-to-face workshop methodologies. The authors are
directors of South Consulting, which was contracted to provide technical
assistance to the programme.
Political change and civic education
In Africa, countries that experienced different forms of dictatorship
in the past are slowly gravitating to multi-party democracy. In countries
such as Kenya, political space has expanded; there are many new political
actors in the field. Governments are no longer the autocratic gatekeepers
to the political space; they are checked both by groups of well informed
and organised citizens as well as organised political groups. Equipping
citizens with skills to effectively participate in public life and to
engage with the 'new political space' is thus important. Civic education
has become a key component of donor support to human rights, democracy
and governance (HRDG) programmes.
The goal of civic education has generally been to inform and empower
citizens to enable them make informed choices on issues that affect them
in their everyday lives. However, the impact of civic education activities
has not been closely explored. Civic education is little understood as
a subject or as a tool for facilitating social-political and economic
change in countries undergoing transition.
Political development in Kenya
Multi-party democracy was reintroduced in Kenya in December1991 after
several decades of one-party authoritarianism. Before then, government
had stifled civil society and gagged progressive groups. Open dissent
was punishable. Citizens could not question. Patronage ruled the day.
In order to secure a share, local leaders and whole communities prostrated
themselves to please those in power.
The steep and steady decline of the economy demanded even greater sycophantic
behaviour in order to access crumbs from the ever-shrinking pie. Culture
was turned political; social-cultural activities were turned into a medium
of expressing and demonstrating loyalty to the ruling elite and the President
in particular. Tunes from religious songs were introduced into songs hummed
in praise of the President. Those around the President declared him a
Life-President; his authority could not be challenged on earth. Civic
education could not be provided under these circumstances. Even development
programmes by churches and NGOs were regarded with suspicion and mistrust
by the government. Those critical of the government did not have it easy;
they were under regular police harassment; watched from morning to evening;
followed from place to place.
During the eighties, pressure for change built steadily. After over
100 people were killed in 1990 when attending a public rally in support
of multi-partyism, major donors froze all aid. Moi was forced to announce
reforms or risk massive instability. When multi-party politics was re-introduced
in late 1991, the political context changed dramatically. Suddenly, people
could discuss their political aspirations and the value of good governance.
The social space was inundated with new actors. The printed press started
speaking with an increasingly independent voice. Civil society, initially
gagged, became the training ground for a new group of political actors
interested in promoting change.
Growing role of civil society
This change, however, could not be sustained without the support of
ordinary citizens. People were required to participate in an effective
way in order to sustain the movement and shape its direction. To enable
citizens to do so, civic education increasingly became important. There
evolved many civil society organisations concerned with providing civic
education in both rural and urban areas. The number of such groups rapidly
increased as the country moved towards its first multi-party election
in 1992. From fewer than 10 organisations, the number grew to over 30
by December 1992 when the election was held. Between then and December
1997 when the second election was held, the number increased again to
over 70, and is almost triple this figure at the moment. Civic education
in Kenya has grown hand in hand with the gradual expansion of political
space and in particular growing freedom of expression and participation
that the country has witnessed in the last decade.
Civic education in the past
In spite of the growth in numbers of civic education providers in the
1990s, delivery remained uncoordinated. Providers used eclectic approaches
and delivered civic education in response to particular geographical,
social or political issues, in an ad hoc manner. Coverage of regions,
target groups, and issues was partial. Resources were not used optimally.
Donors supported these initiatives without reference to a common focus.
In most cases, partly because of the absence of a common framework and
curriculum, there was no clear distinction between civic education and
political advocacy. There was a limited number of people trained to deliver
civic education in non-partisan ways. The focus was on voter education;
civic education was not mainstreamed in the language or programming for
development or governance - it was regarded as a political function.
This resulted in increased opposition to civic education by the government
and the ruling party. The government criticised civic education providers,
arguing that they were opposition agents who did not use neutral language
but anti-government rhetoric.
At the same time, however, the dearth of credible government programmes
and absence of political will regarding governance reform, forced donors
to re-think their aid programmes. Increasingly, donors looked to support
civil society in forwarding the good governance agenda. Thinking anew:
a common approach to an integrated programme In 1999 civic education providers
and donors reviewed their past efforts in civic education. They underlined
the importance of collaboration in designing and implementing civic education
projects. The providers specifically agreed to deliver non-partisan, non-advocacy
and politically neutral civic education targeting the entire country.
This strategy marked the birth of the National Civic Education Programme
as an initiative of civil society groups in partnership with donors in
Kenya. South and S&T played a key role in designing the NCEP.
The long-term objective of NCEP was to consolidate a mature social-economic
and political culture in which citizens are aware of and exercise their
rights and responsibilities and participate effectively in broadening
democracy in the country.
NCEP is implemented by indigenous CSOs in Kenya. The CSOs organised
themselves into four consortia based on shared interests, experience,
focus and strategy. Each consortium comprised between 11 and 30 CSOs,
including religious organisations, human rights CSOs, gender rights CSOs
and organisations working with marginalised communities living in remote
parts of the country.
A number of donors set up a basket fund to support the programme. Contributors
include: the governments of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Denmark,
Sweden, Norway, Finland, Canada, Austria, the United States of America
and the European Union.
The reach of NCEP: An overview
Phased delivery of civic education under the programme began in July
2001. Over 70 civil society organisations were contracted to carry out
civic education using a variety of strategies including workshops, theatre,
song and dance, and camel caravans in arid areas among other strategies.
During the period, over 40 000 different activities were carried out reaching
about 4 million adults or 30% of total adult population. These activities
were carried out in over 87% of the country's administrative divisions;
the activities were widely spread in rural and urban Kenya. Although radio
usage is widespread in Kenya, using radio as a delivery mechanism was
impossible given government's monopoly control and its refusal to license
independent radio outside Nairobi.
Delivery was therefore largely through face to face workshops. A cadre
of 3 700 facilitators was trained and deployed in the area where they
are normally resident. This ensured local acceptability and sensitivity
to local customs and languages (there are over 40 in Kenya). It also ensured
the availability of a sustainable resource of credible information at
the local level. A common curriculum, handbook and training manual were
produced to ensure a common and credible content. Flip charts and other
IEC materials were produced to promote effective workshop facilitation
and highlighting of key messages.
In the past, the police were always at hand to disrupt civic education
activities, arguing that they were not licensed, or were illegal, or were
going to cause a breach of peace. Government was clearly opposed to the
delivery of civic education and was ready to stop it even through forceful
measures; on a number of occasions this resulted in violent confrontations
between the citizens and the police.
In the time of the NCEP, despite heavy rhetoric from President Moi including
scathing personal attacks by him on senior diplomats supporting the programme,
there were no such incidents. Out of 40 000+ activities, the police disrupted
just 10; and none on the grounds of advocacy or partisanship.
The NCEP principles of objectivity, non-partisanship and political neutrality,
the strategy of using local elders and chiefs as entry points and local
residents as facilitators, helped in creating a firm base of trust between
communities and civic education providers. In this context the police
and provincial administration were constrained from acting and for the
government the political price of interfering became one risk too many
in the lead up the elections in December 2002. Kenyans, starved of credible
sources of information, actively engaged in civic education sessions,
turning out in large numbers and exercising their right to freedom of
information. Future governments may have little alternative but to focus
on the positive and see civic education as a discourse to better its relations
What of impact?
A unique feature of NCEP is the amount of effort and resources that
have gone into assessing the impact of the programme. Firstly, a detailed
baseline survey was commissioned which provided the basis for defining
content, entry strategy and target groups as well as the mapping of service
providers and resources. The baseline, designed and analysed by S&T,
helped define benchmarks and informed indicators for the high-end objectives.
During the course of the programme, reports on each activity were captured
on a database, allowing analysis of performance by CSO, by region, by
delivery methodology and so on. As with the baseline survey, a GIS application
permits spatial analysis of results.
An extensive impact evaluation has been commissioned which will provide
a detailed assessment of NCEP using the following tools:
- A general survey comparing political attitudes, participation
and other governance indicators with the baseline study.
- A pre and post NCEP survey and control group to assess levels
of awareness of those participating in NCEP activities as against
those who have not.
- Analysis of the activity report database to compare regions,
methodologies, and target groups.
A final report is due in August 2003.
Impressions of impact and the imminent election
At the time that civic education activities were taking place, the Constitution
of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC) was carrying out public consultations.
The programme assisted in preparing members of the public to make informed
presentations to the Commission. Additionally, the Commission did not
have funds to carry out its own planned programme of civic education;
it had to depend on NCEP infrastructure including civic education materials.
Indeed there was increased collaboration between NCEP partners and the
CKRC co-ordinators. NCEP therefore made a significant contribution to
public participation in and ownership of the Constitutional Review Process.
This has raised the stakes for the political establishment should it fail
to enact the new Constitution once the review process is complete. An
encouraging sign for sustainable delivery has been the continued use of
community-based facilitators, trained under the programme, even after
funding has ended. Local CBOs, particularly women's groups, have been
mobilising their own resources and inviting facilitators to continue workshops.
Of particular promise is anecdotal evidence from implementing agencies
indicating that beneficiaries have taken the principles of constitutionalism
and good governance and applied them to their immediate environment. For
example, a number of "mini-revolutions" have been reported where
members of co-operative societies and agricultural co-ops have demanded
transparency and democratic process within their structures. Perhaps the
most interesting example of this is the demand from the congregation of
a Catholic Church (the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission was a major
implementing agency) to overhaul the "hierarchical, undemocratic
and secretive" decision-making structure in their church.
If media reports are anything to go by, ordinary Kenyans have been increasingly
informed through the programme. In the current pre-election fervour, civil
society groups have pointed to an improvement in the quality of debate
in both rural and urban areas. It also seems that bad habits are dying
out: expecting sycophantic respect merely because of political office
has gone, and President Moi has had to endure open defiance and even booing
by the public. This has occurred as Moi has travelled the country trying
to drum up support for his chosen successor whom he plucked from obscurity
- the son of his predecessor, Jomo Kenyatta, first post-independence President
Whether Kenyans will accept the imposition of a dynasty may be the true
measure of the success of civic education.
A glowing report card for S&T!
Prince Sifiso Zulu, one of S&T's Non-Executive Directors, evaluated S&T's performance by interviewing a number of former clients. This fed into our annual strategic breakaway, and the summary findings are set out below.
As part of the preparation for S&T's end of year review and planning process, I was given the responsibility of talking to former clients in order to evaluate the quality of service S&T provides. My colleague Dr Geetesh Solanki took responsibility for a rigorous examination of S&T internal procedures.
It was a privilege for me to speak to these very influential people, all of whom kindly made time available for the interview despite their hectic schedules - a number of interviews took place very late in the evening. The identity of the respondents is of course confidential, but they included a Judge, Chief Executive Officers of large institutions, a Director-General, a very senior businessman as well as senior NGO and government managers.
My discussion with them covered 5 areas:
- Overall quality rating and level of satisfaction with S&T's work
- Main strengths
- Main weaknesses
- Would they be willing to work with S&T in the future and why?
- How do they rate S&T with other companies in the same field?
I was overwhelmed by the unanimously positive responses to all my questions. All respondents were highly satisfied with the work produced by S&T: the feeling was that it was 'all quality work'.
High quality analysis, reporting and recommendations
The respondents highlighted a number of key strengths that give S&T competitive and comparative advantage. One of these is S&T's understanding, analysis and interpretation of socio-economic issues, and the way in which these are woven into reports and recommendations. This was important to them because for their report to make sense it had to be located within the broader context - the 'big picture' - and done so unobtrusively.
S&T's style of writing, presentation and recommendations also earned a host of accolades. The feeling was that our work was 'easy to read', 'clear' and 'very direct'. In particular, respondents stressed the value of the recommendations S&T produce, which are clear, realistic and grounded.
Very few weaknesses were identified by respondents. One weakness that S&T must work on is to raise its profile in two ways: to highlight the fact that it is now a black owned, managed and operated company, and to penetrate other sectors of the market.
Clients for life?
All respondents told me that they would definitely work with S&T in the future. Some went so far as to indicate that they always recommend S&T to other people as well as for their own needs. In addition to the points made above, respondents told me that S&T partners brought 'depth' and 'passion' to all projects, as well as 'professionalism' and 'commitment'.
Straight to the top
S&T is just four years old. The respondents I spoke to acknowledged that S&T was a young company, but they told me in S&T's case this was irrelevant since S&T out-performs many far older and larger companies and institutions. They all told me that S&T ranks amongst the very top research companies in the country.
Thank you to our clients
I was more than pleased to get answers like this, from people of very high standing and calibre, who do not make idle judgements.
All of us at S&T feel very proud about the feedback from clients. We are committed to making a difference to our world, reflected in our mission statement: "To undertake high quality research, design and implement monitoring systems and conduct evaluations, in order to improve the lives of the poor and contribute to the development of South Africa and Africa". The feedback suggests we are achieving our goals.
S&T wishes to express a big thank you to the respondents and all our other clients - you have helped us grow into the company we are now; there are many challenges ahead of us, and we hope to meet them as successfully as those behind us.
S&T's Cape Town office in 2002:another great year2002 has been a bumper year for S&T's Cape Town office - and not only because Sihaam is expecting her second child early in the New Year and has a very distinct bump!
The Cape Town office successfully completed a wide range of projects
both locally and internationally. During the year, Matthew could be found
working with Norwegians at the Norwegian Institute for Studies in Research
and Higher Education in Oslo and at the Christian Mickelson Institute
in Bergen; with higher education experts at the (Centre for Higher Education
Policy Studies based at the University of Twente in the Netherlands; with
researchers from UK outfits Information, Training and Development and
Agrisystems; with Business Development Services market assessment specialists
in Chiang Mai, Thailand; and closer to home with the WK Kellogg
Foundation in Botswana and Lesotho
Locally, the Cape Town office assessed spaza shop market potential for
the Triple Trust Organisation; worked on a recovery strategy for the EU-funded
Microproject Trust Programme in the Eastern Cape; assessed citizen satisfaction
in the Departments of Education, Health, Housing and Social Development
for the Public Services Commission; and also completed several studies
for the Department of Labour.
S&T: getting bigger and better
When we founded S&T in late 1998, we started from scratch. The company operated from one partner's study and used another's PO Box as its address. In just four years, the situation is very different. We work across southern and eastern Africa. The majority of our clients come back to us year after year. As Prince Sifiso Zulu explains in a related article, S&T has an exceptionally good reputation.
By the time S&T turned four in late 2002, our throughput had been
enormous. 2002 was an important year for S&T. With the appointment
of Jowie Mulaudzi as our sixth partner and appropriate allocation of share
ownership, S&T became a black owned, managed and operated company.
At the same time our work took us to Uganda, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and other
SADC states, as well as Russia, Norway and Holland. Partners were invited
to participate in United Nations expert meetings, and were elected as
office bearers in the
International Sociological Association.
We founded S&T in order to locate research closer to the point of
implementation in the development and anti-poverty fields. Analysing our
workload suggests that the approach has worked. The largest single type
of work we do is programme design, closely followed by social research
projects. Designing monitoring systems and conducting evaluations make
up a further third of our work. This is what we wanted to do: to use high-quality
research to improve development and anti-poverty programmes.
In just four years we have:
Conducted and analysed 1000 in-depth interviews
Conducted or commissioned 220 focus groups
Interviewed 33 000 survey respondents, and
Assessed 2300 projects
Baseline data for Integrated systems management in the department of JusticeS&T has a long-standing relationship with the e-Justice programme, and we were approached to help gather qualitative data from senior managers for the ISM, the unit that provides strategic management services to e-Justice. S&T partner Nobayethi Dube ran the project, which she describes here.Introduction
The Department of Justice (DoJ) is in the midst of implementing the
e-Justice programme, which aims to thoroughly modernise the judicial process
in South Africa through appropriate technology. This programme - a cornerstone
of the broader South African transformation - is made up of four projects,
namely the Court Process System (CPS), Financial Administration System
(FAS), Digital Nervous System (DNS) and Management of Information System
At the heart of the programme lies the Information Systems Management
(ISM), which supports all the other projects through the provision of
infrastructure and broader strategic management. The ISM itself comprises
two units, Strategic Management and Systems Management & Optimisation.
The ISM appointed Ms Kalyani Pillay as General Manager: Systems Optimization
in February this year. Buffeted by demands and requests for support, she
in turn commissioned S&T to conduct a fast turn-around research project
geared to providing strategic baseline data needed to prioritise tasks
and develop a rational and measurable approach to the work of the ISM
and her unit in particular.
S&T used qualitative methods (in the form of in-depth interviews).
Interviews were conducted with members of the ISM, Project Heads, and
Managing Directors. In total fifteen face to face in-depth interviews
were conducted. Interviews were recorded and later transcribed and analysed.
The ISM itself
The ISM is a new unit in the DoJ, tasked with transforming DoJ from
a paper-based to an automated department. Respondents felt that the ISM
faced a huge challenge in that it has to change peoples' mind-set. People
in the department are used to a manual system and fear change. Respondents
also believe that the ISM should carry out public relations functions
for the Department. Overall, it was felt that the ISM is a crucial component
of the DoJ that can provide the DoJ with a competitive advantage in the
Because the ISM is a new unit, it lacks capacity (at the time of the
fieldwork appointments were being made). Respondents told us that the
current ISM staff had good strategic skills, a very positive advantage
for the Department. Respondents argued that because the ISM is such an
important unit, it required the following skills:
- Strategic planning,
- Analytic and evaluative capacity,
- Understanding of maintenance needs, and
- Excellent interpersonal skills.
Among the major problems mentioned by respondents was that of financial
constraints. Respondents mentioned that the ISM had limited resources
with which to respond to unlimited needs. In light of their financial
constraints, respondents agreed with the ISM that it has to prioritise
and has to be honest about what it can and cannot deliver to business
Communication emerged as a key function of the ISM, in raising its own
profile, explaining what it can and cannot do for business units, and
helping everyone understand how e-Justice functions.
The project showed how the business units regard the ISM as a vital
component of the programme. There is a great deal of goodwill towards
the ISM, which must be nurtured. Finally, the baseline data must be regularly
updated in order to measure ISM progress against priorities identified
In the past year Matthew, with help from Jowie, participated in two higher
education studies commissioned by CHET. Both explored the challenges facing
institutions as they bring themselves in line with the vision of the Minister
of Education. Both studies have just been published by CHET. The first
book explains the transformation of two institutions - the University
of Port Elizabeth and Peninsula Technikon. The second focuses on all higher
education institutions in the Eastern Cape, to assist them with the merger
proposals made by the Ministry of Education.
Youth and voter registration in South Africa
The Independent Electoral Commission approached S&T to help understand what was limiting voter registration among youth, and design appropriate strategies for improving the situation. Jowie Mulaudzi describes the project.Declining numbers
Voter turnout for the 1994 general elections in South Africa was recorded
at 85%; subsequent elections have failed to get beyond 70%, and figures
for youth are far lower. This may be a world-wide trend - but it is also
a worrying one.
In the last election, the IEC had to embark on emergency campaigns to
encourage people in their later teens and early twenties to register.
Importantly, the IEC is now taking a more planned and long-term approach.
S&T was commissioned to help deepen the IEC understanding of factors
related to low voter registration and turnout amongst youth, and develop
appropriate strategies to deal with the problem.
Within their broader process, the IEC commissioned S&T to run focussed
discussion groups with young (16 - 21years old) black people in the previously
disadvantaged areas of Mdantsane and Noncampa in the eastern Cape, Seshego
and Mahwelereng in Limpopo, and KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal.
Acquiring an identity document
The hurdles facing voter registration start before the voters roll:
no one can register on the roll without a bar-coded identity document.
Young people in rural areas are least likely to have IDs. Unemployment
and poverty leave little disposable income for people to travel to towns;
and anyway they face limited service facilities for acquiring their ID.
Youth participants also cited the poor service they receive at the hands
of Home Affairs personnel, which makes acquiring IDs more unpleasant than
its value. Examples included lost applications requiring re-application
fees, being told to come back on particular dates only to be given yet
another date for collection, making the whole process time-consuming and
costly. A common complaint related to Home Affairs' requirement that young
people have to bring the ID documents of both their parents when applying;
or providing records from primary school. In both cases circumstances
effectively barred some young people from applying such as being raised
by relatives or a single parent and lack of proper record keeping by schools.
Young people were also put off by what they regard as government's failure
to deliver, especially in rural areas. We recruited youth who did not
belong to any political party or structure. As a result their level of
engagement with politics and development was minimal. This reflected points
made in the literature that civic and political engagement at an early
age improves local involvement and sustaining engagement through to later
Knowledge of the electoral process
We found a high level of confusion about the management of the voters
roll that impacted on those who are still at school but expect to move
out of their parental home when they complete secondary education. Some
participants believe it is futile to register in their home area, because
by the time an election occurs they will have moved to other areas in
search of better opportunities. They do not understand the transferability
of registration, which the IEC should address in its communication campaigns.
On its own, the IEC can do very little to address the challenges facing
young people regarding voter registration. However, through selected partnerships
with other players, a lot more can be achieved. The following are examples
of areas for effective partnerships:
- To improve the service quality (real and perceived) of the Department
of Home Affairs. A partnership with Home Affairs should also consider
sustainable mechanisms (i.e. not only during election time) for taking
their services to the people, via mobile ID application and voter registration
offices which could enable young people and others to apply for IDs
and register at the same place.
- The Department of Education is important for school-based application
and registration programmes.
- Working with Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS)
can facilitate concerted strategies to deal with the concerns of youth
and encourage them to register. They could come together at the Multi-Purpose
Community Centres, for example, which are provided by GCIS to ensure
that disadvantaged communities are provided with one-stop service points.
- Working with youth structures including National and Provincial Youth
Commissions, the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and youth NGOs. Effectively partnering
these and other structures working with youth will enable the IEC to
address the problem of low voter participation amongst youth both in
the short and long term. Short-term issues relate to improving youth
registration figures for the forthcoming elections; long-term measure
include the design and implementation of effective youth civic engagement
programmes that provide young people with practical experience of developmental
issues shown to increase political participation. "Letsema"
and the (long-awaited) national youth service are national programmes
that lend themselves to such partnerships.
Challenges in evaluating ANTI-POVERTY PROGRAMMES
S&T partner Ross Jennings has considerable experience in evaluating small development projects and large development programmes. In this article he outlines some of the key challenges he has encountered.
Tackling poverty and measuring impact
South Africa faced massive challenges in the 1990s; tackling the poverty
in which many citizens live was among the most important. Using a basic
needs approach, the African National Congress provided a national blueprint
(The Reconstruction and Development Programme) for integrated development.
Since 1994, significant policy and regulatory reviews have been undertaken.
The RDP was superceded by the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR)
financial strategy; commentators now tell us GEAR is dead, and we wait
for the next acronym to arrive.
We have a battery of tools and terms: integrated development and sustainable
development, poverty that is chronic or transitory, verifiable and key
performance indicators, and toolkits that claim to measure everything.
How effectively and efficiently has government tackled poverty? How
useful have these tools been? This article tries to shed some light on
these questions by looking at some of the challenges of evaluating government's
What is poverty?
One of the major challenges in evaluating government's anti-poverty
programmes relates to definitional issues. A recent study of the monitoring
and evaluation practises of national departments involved in anti-poverty
programmes (commissioned by the Department of Provincial and Local Government)
found multiple and varying definitions of poverty. Different interpretations
of the "poorest of the poor" resulted in programmes targeting
different geographical areas and groups of people. What do anti-poverty
The problem of definition is further compounded by the differing objectives
and goals of anti-poverty programmes. These objectives and goals commonly
mix deliverables and concepts - capacity building, empowerment, community
participation, sustainability, high social impact, economic growth, job
creation and so on. Many are differently understood and defined across
Definitional differences:do they matter?
So what is the problem with these different definitions, in the context
of evaluation? We need to remember that evaluations are meant to measure
programmes against their objectives, identify strengths and weaknesses,
and produce recommendations that are realistic and lead to an improvement
in delivery. One could argue that there is no problem with differing definitions
as long as each individual programme clearly states its objectives at
the outset against which it is then evaluated.
What to measure?
The problem, however, manifests at two levels. At the level of each
individual programme, the absence of shared definitions has hampered the
development of measurable indicators. This, in turn, restricts the ability
of any evaluation to comprehensively measure the programme against its
The second level is to be found in government as a whole. The different
definitions across programmes do not allow for consolidation of information
and findings. It becomes methodologically problematic (if not impossible)
to evaluate delivery by government as a whole.
What to do?
Given South Africa's history, the pressure on government to deliver
(especially through its anti-poverty programmes) is considerable. Recognising
this pressure, the government is looking to develop a comprehensive system
for performance and progress monitoring across its departments, directorates
and programmes. In the poverty arena, the Integrated Sustainable Rural
Development Programme (ISRDP) has been designed to provide an integrated
response to poverty.
The ISRDP, however, is not a programme but a strategy for co-ordinating
delivery of existing programmes around priorities set at local level through
Integrated Development Plans (IDPs). It is imperative that goals and objectives
are clearly defined and measurable indicators developed for each of the
key areas within these definitions. The various anti-poverty programmes
then need to ensure that their own goals and objectives are in line with
government's overall policy thrust.
It is important to remember that integrated delivery demands integrated
evaluation. Evaluations of individual programmes remain important. However,
given that many of the programmes work in the same areas often delivering
very similar services, some form of cross-over in evaluating delivery
will limit duplication and be more cost-effective.
This cross-over will also help address the fact that programmes do not
operate in a vacuum - methodologically, evaluations of individual programmes
are unable to conclusively tie any noted effect/impact to the actual programme
Furthermore, cross-over should allow resources to be allocated to longitudinal
studies, rather than the standard approach of only conducting summative
evaluations at the end of each funding cycle. This would allow richer,
more accurate data to be gathered on issues such as empowerment, sustainability
and impact, which can only be effectively measured over time.