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April 2005

S&T appoints a new CEO

S&T appoints a new CEO imageS&T is proud to announce that we have appointed our colleague and partner, Nobayethi (Nobi) Dube, as our new CEO.

Nobi is that rare researcher who can undertake all phases of a study, from design through fieldwork to analysis and project management, with no ‘research gap’ created by translation or distance. Her involvement in the research arena began when she joined a research NGO as a temporary receptionist. Her capacity, skills and drive were soon recognised and Nobi moved out of administration and into research; complemented by years of part-time studying after hours, which saw Nobi gain several university degrees, she became a pivotal member of senior management responsible for setting up and running the data collection unit. Nobi joined S&T in 1999 as a partner, and has continued to grow in stature and skills. Nobi is on the brink of completing her Masters Degree in Research Methodology with the University of Stellenbosch.

Anyone who has worked with Nobi can testify to her commitment, drive and determination. Her research and managerial skills are complemented by her warmth and humour, necessary attributes for an S&T CEO!

With S&T now working regularly throughout southern and East Africa on multiple simultaneous projects, we decided to appoint a CEO to ensure we remained focussed on achieving our vision, namely to transform the lives of people living in poverty in Africa. Moreover, in line with our long-term commitment to black empowerment and gender equality, Nobi is ideally suited to lead S&T.

Linked to the appointment of our new CEO, we thought it fitting to critically reflect on our mission statement to make sure it reflects our new CEO’s vision for S&T. The statement has been adapted accordingly and it now reads:

To develop innovative solutions to development challenges in Africa through high quality research, designing monitoring systems, undertaking evaluations, programme design, facilitation, and support services. We are committed to producing quality, ethical work and to adding value by working in partnership with clients.

Nobi can be contacted at nobi@s-and-t.co.za

 

Governance, Justice, Law & Order Sector Reform Programme: Kenya

S&T partner David Everatt is the Team leader for the Advisory Team of Kenya’s massive Governance, Justice, Law & Order Sector Reform programme (GJLOS-RP), and will be leading bi-annual Review teams through to 2009. In this, S&T is continuing our highly successful partnership with South Consulting (Nairobi), which stretches back to 1999.

The first Review meeting for GJLOS-RP took place on 7-9 December 2004 in Mombasa. The meeting was opened by the vice-President of Kenya, followed by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Thereafter, some 200 delegates debated the 200+ recommendations submitted by our Review team in order to enhance the impact of GJLOS-RP.

GJLOS in context

The Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs (MoJCA) was created by a new, reform-minded government, and has grown and developed in parallel with GJLOS-RP. GJLO-RPS is a highly strategic vehicle for the new Ministry, allowing MoJCA to focus on sectoral linkages, building alliances and sourcing resources, thereby deflecting any possible ‘turf war’ that may have followed its creation. GJLOS-RP was one among many priorities facing the new Ministry, and may have suffered as a result. But MoJCA leadership of the programme has grown over time and is now firmly entrenched.

GJLOS-RP in its current form (the Short-Term Priority Programme) focuses mainly on supply-side delivery – easy but important victories that help diminish hostility, create allies, and prepare the ground for reform. This is important in its own right, given the systematic under-resourcing suffered by the sector for decades. But it is also a strategic choice, reflecting the need to ‘walk a narrow path’ between the need for creating infrastructure for reform and the limitations imposed by political imperatives. This helps explain the nature and purpose of the STPP but also requires that in the next phase of GJLOS-RP, sustainable reformist interventions must be more evident.

The programme started in November 2003, although funds only became available in mid-2004. All departments finalised workplans with a schedule of activities and budgets, and procurement of goods and services, training, workshops and conferences have already begun. Almost 50% of basket fund monies have been committed. Some key achievements thus far include the following:

  • GJLOS-RP is Kenya’s first sector-wide programme (SWAP): if it works well, it could lead to wide replication, but failure could have very negative consequences
  • GJLOS-RP is internationally path-breaking in its combination of Governance and Justice under a single, ambitious SWAP.
  • Government leadership of the programme is firmly entrenched.
  • The Programme Co-ordinating Office has been established, with expertise in communication, M&E, strategic planning and budgeting.
  • Once the lengthy design process gave way to implementation, scepticism was replaced with enthusiasm and support for the programme among implementing departments.
  • A culture of monitoring and evaluating performance is slowly forming; many departments have established M&E mechanisms and want to focus on quality and impact. This is a sharp contrast with the past.
  • Sharing of information among government departments has increased significantly.
  • Transparency has grown significantly. Budgets and workplans are widely shared where previously they were regarded as confidential.
  • GJLOS-RP provides opportunities for government/civil society partnership, another major break with the past, although an area still requiring some hard work.

Some important weaknesses are also evident:

  • Cross-cutting rights issues appear to have been late add-ons to the programme
  • Integration of HIV/AIDS and environmental issues is almost non-existent
  • There is widespread unhappiness with the FMA balanced by acceptance that all actors have been on a steep learning curve
  • While government is widely seen as leading GJLOS-RP, there is also a perception that the programme is overly influenced by donors
  • The absence of linkages with MTEF or broader public sector reform

It is too early to measure impact in any meaningful way. Simply getting GJLOR-RP up and running is widely regarded as a major achievement, given the long history of failed programmes. Respondents identified the following as milestones for the programme:

  • Co-operation between different departments in identifying areas of core competence and avoiding duplication of effort
  • The high profile focus on anti-corruption, justice and good governance
  • The involvement of sectors and departments traditionally seen as conservative and exclusive
  • Technical assistance
  • Donor co-operation and co-ordination
  • Reduction of bureaucracy
  • Consistent and active participation of high-level GoK officials

GJLOS-RP as a sector-wide programme

The Review noted the very positive conditions that exist for GJLOS-RP to succeed as a SWAP, the important successes it has already scored, and clear indications of movement in a positive direction within GoK and among donors, CSOs and others.

Measured against indicators for a successful SWAP, GJLOS-RP performs very well. GJLOS-RP emerges as flexible and responsive to challenges, reflecting well on the programme management team. Donors have also been flexible, streamlining their reporting requirements, enhancing co-ordination and some are examining the provision of direct support to government.

Examining GJLOS-RP in comparative context highlighted some important gaps as well as gains. The Advisory Team made recommendations in the following areas:

  • The need for comprehensive baseline data to inform indicator design and to ensure that impact is measurable.
  • The need to explore harmonisation between GJLOS-RP and the Medium Term Expenditure Framework.
  • The need to build alliances with the legislative arm of government.
 

Success indicators of community participation in development projects (Part 1)

Success indicators of community participation in development projects (Part 1) imageOur new CEO, Nobi, describes how to involve the community in developing success indicators for development projects.

Community participation has become the ‘buzz’ word in development projects, many of which (both government and private) advocate involving communities in one way or the other.

Examples of such government programmes in South Africa are the Community Based Public Works Programme (CBPWP), Working for Water and Zivuseni to name just a few. In all these programmes participation of communities happens, in a variety of ways; with communities offering their labour and getting paid for it, or their participation in the process from design to implementation.

A number of studies have touched on community participation, hinting at what contributes to community participation being a success and what may contribute to community participation being a failure.

The literature on community participation suggests that there is no comprehensive list of success or failure indicators. Moreover, the literature also suggests that some confusion exists over whether to classify these indicators as either qualitative or quantitative. To add to the confusion some authors simply don’t classify the indicators at all, whilst for others one author’s qualitative indicator is another’s quantitative indicator.

While there are no standardised success indicators, literature does provide guidelines that can be used to measure the success of community participation in projects. In this article we focus on quantitative indicators using various project examples from previous research. This article critically discusses quantitative indicators. These measures are drawn from projects that have been visited for research purposes. Readers of this article should also note that indicators discussed in the article may not all be present for a project to qualify as successful. 

Quantitative indicators

Economic indicators

Economic indicators look at measurable economic benefits of a project. For example, a project that has employed participants who benefit economically from it. This indicator is relatively easy to measure as in most cases government programmes commit to, and spell out, what they intend to pay out to participants and whether there is an accounting system in place. Therefore, if the project has been able to employ a number of beneficiaries who are paid the project would be considered successful.

Organisational growth

Organisational growth relates to the knowledge possessed by project members of the organisation that is assisting them, for example a community based organisation or a non-governmental organisation. So, for example, a project would have to be informed about these organisations’ activities, how far they can assist them and so on.

Various studies indicate that the ability of project members to have knowledge about organisations assisting them is limited. Usually, project leaders and steering committee members are more likely to possess the information.

Participation in project activities

Measuring participation in project activities has a number of components.  For example it looks at the associations that the project has formed, attendance rates at meetings, the attendance rate at project meetings, the number of members actively involved in project group meetings and so on. It also looks at the change in size of membership over the project period.

Research studies conducted show that it is not easy for projects to form associations even if they may be offering the same services as each other. There are a number of reasons for this. The fact that some of the projects are in rural areas and may not have the necessary resources, for example, things like telephones, the ability to network and so forth. Another reason may be that projects normally compete for funds and may not see the benefit of forming associations with each other. It is easy, however to measure things like attendance at project meetings since projects are likely to keep a register of members who attend and so on. Most projects do have monthly project meetings.

The size of membership is an interesting indicator to measure. Research studies indicate that it is rare that the size of membership stay constant. An evaluation conducted by S&T of a vegetable garden in Limpopo found that in 2000 the number of the project members was seventy-nine and four years later (2004) the number of project members had decreased to half. The community initiated the vegetable garden in 1994. Interestingly, this project is still viewed as successful since it was still operational after having faced a number of challenges.

There are a number of factors that influence the increase or decrease of project members. In this Limpopo project, for example, during interviews respondents mentioned that the project had faced a number of challenges and some members were disheartened, the work was quite physical and those who are seen as ‘lazy’ tend to leave the project.

Development momentum

This relates to the developmental aspects of project members as they participate in the process. For example, project members obtaining training, establishing links with formal organisations and the projects’ ability to identify gaps in skills within their project and address them.

The success of project members obtaining training differs from project to project. In some projects skills development forms part of the process whilst in other projects training may take place shortly after the project has been completed.  Project members then possess a skill which they are able to utilise beyond project implementation. This is easy to measure because researchers can get information on how many people were trained, what they were trained in and so forth. A project is considered successful if it has achieved these objectives.

Providing skills also relates to the quality of skills that are provided by the project. It is not easy to measure quality of training and it can only be done over time. This measure also relates to the ability of project members to identify the skills gap within their project and to address them as they progress.

We note that quantitative indicators are easy to measure. Qualitative indicators of success on the other hand are not easily verifiable and may take lengthy periods to establish. We will discuss these in an article to appear in the next issue of Phatlalatsa.

 

My poetic expression

I am sure people are going to say that maybe we are running out of ideas when they read and/or look at what I have in particular included as my contribution for this edition of Phatlalatsa. I must confess though that my colleagues asked me to write a ‘think- piece’ (I was flattered to be told that I am good in doing so,) but I kept on scratching my head for the think-piece until I thought the best way out is to be creative.

In my creative thinking I thought about a personal experience three years ago when almost my entire study burnt down, and thought painfully about some of the material that I had written over years and never shared with any one and that I lost in that accident. Then I thought of some of the materials I had managed to save – I mean poems that I scribbled years ago. I have been thinking of publishing these, and I have now seriously decided to do so. But, before that I thought let me just put two into our latest edition of this publication.  Please let’s share these two, I have done some editing lest I get accused of being stuck too much in the past. By the way, do not ask me what I was thinking then, just read, critique, analyse and interpret.

A blank Cheque

I grew to respect
I grew with this humanism
I was always there to cheer and support, even to put my life on the block
I read their writing; visions.
 
I never came to agree with this one
I never cherished the principle:  Blank cheques never!
They taught me to be wary, words of wisdom I assimilated
I endured and cherished these teachings
 
Expect no one; none!
Expect no blank cheque
Why should you be an exception?
Why behave like them?
 
We criticised them:  Illegitimacy!
They accounted to their race
We, hungry; we owners of poverty
They; with some obscure mandate
 
You enjoy legitimacy
Why blank cheques while I am underdeveloped and poor
Account; Review; Listen; Deliver
Forget it, forget blank cheques - Never!

Cultural renaissance

I sat in silence and fright
I sit in darkness while you were portrayed as evil and backward
I sat, I confused, no sense of identity
I scared to own you
 
Africa you knew
Africa you had and still have lessons
Africa you are rich in your resources; you No poor Africa
Africa, culture is indeed one of these resources
 
That there can be no people without culture
There can be know people without civilisation
No imposed civilisation, nor interruption of it
Since there is not people without an organised way of life.
 
Culture is the expression of a collective social life
Why deny her this?
Why instead corrupt her?
Why strip her naked?
 
Africa’s intellectuals I call you
Why oriented your thinking against her
Why is her culture all of a sudden foreign to you?
African intellectuals, the human basis of your cultural wealth are threatened.
 
Peasants, villagers all over continent
Shall we all say it:  “Re a leboga” Your will and commitment of this renaissance Africa
Let her pride flourish-grow
Your social behaviours are the authentic foundation of this humanism
 
You too should use culture to combat inferiority
Save the coming generation
Escape them from this cultural confusion
Be free from all the evil moral, intellectual and cultural consequences
 
Teachers and intellectuals all over Africa
If you do not know
Join villagers
Join Peasants
Join, sing along, and join custodians of her pride.
I said it; I say it
The reign of cultural domination is doomed
There can no longer be reasons to subject you to foreign practices
Africa give the world your message
Bring to humanity with pride, fruits of your experience
 
Africa you are culturally rich
Let your artists help us
Manage this apparent cultural confusion.
 
Your music will be better appreciated in its original form
Original form from villagers
Original form; uncontaminated by unknown sophistry
Uncontaminated by some chauvinistic cultural tendencies.
 
Led me plead
Please continue to feed me, and allow me to be fed from your breast
I am not only your child but your student too
Albeit my deep, indeed painful disturbance
Help me avoid this confusion
I am scared, where will I love.
 

Evaluating the learnership programme

Evaluating the learnership programme imageStrategy & Tactics were commissioned to undertake a baseline evaluation of the learnership programme, focusing mainly on an assessment of beneficiary (enterprise and individual) perspectives of learnerships.

Following on the first democratic elections in 1994, the African National Congress-led government inherited a country characterised by high levels of poverty and unemployment. A declining economy served only to compound this situation. The last decade has seen the government respond to this situation on a multitude of levels employing a range of strategies and approaches. One such strategy has been the Human Resource Development Strategy.

An important aspect of this strategy focuses on transforming workplace education and training and seeks to encourage increased investment by employers in the skills of their workforce. The Skills Development Act of 1998 situates a national strategy for skills development within the Department of Labour, with the vehicle for operationalising this strategy known as the Labour Market Skills Development Programme (LMSDP) and its main elements include:

  • Introduction of a skills development levy.
  • Introduction of learnerships and skills programmes.
  • Systematic skills development planning requirements at national, sectoral and workplace levels.
  • Creation of a new sector/industry training infrastructure.

Purpose of the evaluation

At an operational level, the LMSDP is divided into a number of projects that are being implemented in parallel to each other. Tasked with a number of activities, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of the LMSDP is a key activity. The overall objective of the M&E activities is to enhance the capacity for strategic decision-making in the labour market with a view to improvements in skills development, job opportunities and economic performance.
Methodology
A pilot study was undertaken during the latter part of 2003, leading to the refinement of instruments for the broader baseline study in 2004. The activities undertaken during 2004 included both qualitative and quantitative methods. On the qualitative side of things, we conducted in-depth interviews with all available SETAs and with a selection of supervisors from the companies involved in the programme. We also conducted focus groups with completed learners. On the quantitative front, we undertook a survey of 1 207 completed learners and 201 employers.

Main findings from the evaluation

The learnership programme has achieved the following:

  • 77% of 18.2 learners were employed on a full-time or part-time basis when interviewed
  • 73% of all 18.2 learners on learnerships with the employers interviewed, had been employed by those employers on completion
  • 40% of learners stated that their expectations of the learnerships had been exceeded, 56% said they had been met and only 4% said they had not been met
  • Completed learners are generally very positive about the efficiency of the recruitment and selection process
  • Over half of employers agreed that recruitment was influenced by the incentives for recruiting unemployed learners; incentives are achieving their purpose 
  • Most learners were positive about the overall organisation and objectives of the training, reflecting well on the training providers
  • The vast majority of learners claimed that the theoretical training gave them the right skills to do their job, a very positive finding for the programme
  • Almost all learners pointed to the positive impact of the learnership on the various aspects of their job
  • Almost all employers felt that the impact of the programme on their company’s performance had been positive

The main challenges that are still facing the programme are as follows:

  • The lower incidence of recognition of prior learning and learning plans is a concern, especially among socially marginalised groups including women, youth and others
  • Labour Centres should be key in helping employers identify unemployed recruits but only 4% of employers gave them a positive score, rising slightly for Skills Development Facilitators (SDFs) and SETAs
  • A worrying proportion of employers felt they had a limited choice of training providers and that they were not aware of the nature of the training to be provided at the outset
  • 13% of learners did not have a supervisor appointed, with higher proportions of 18.2 learners and those at NQF levels 1-3 without supervision
  • Three fifths of learners did not have a mentor appointed
  • On completion of the programme, only 13% of learners claimed any follow-up from SETAs as did 63% of employers
  • Few SETAs reported that they were monitoring against set targets or milestones
  • Almost no SETAs have identified the organisational arrangements for M&E
  • SETAs also mentioned that they receive very little feedback on the reports they submit to the DoL

Conclusion

Learnerships are a key weapon in government’s battle to enhance sustainable economic growth while redressing some of the ills inherited from the past. The results of this longitudinal evaluation of learnerships are extremely positive: learnerships are working, and working well, according to surveys among learners and among employers.
 
Many challenges of course remain: this is to be expected of a national intervention of this scale and complexity. Learnerships have generated so much positive sentiment among those currently in them, those who have completed learnerships and among employers, that the challenges seem certain to be met.
 
[Acknowledgement: This study was done under the auspices of the Department of Labour and we acknowledge their support in conducting this study. A full copy of the report is available from the Department, contact Mr P. Tela, email address: Pat.Telela@labour.gov.za]
 

Equity development programmes (part 1): "Just as you start to grow they cut you down"

Equity development programmes (part 1): "Just as you start to grow they cut you down" imageFor the past three years S&T have been tracking the progress participants have been making in equity development programmes (EDPs) at four South African higher education institutions. The EDPs have taken many different forms, but they typically have the central objective of developing a new generation of female and black academics. Programmes differ significantly in terms of duration, management, funding and focus although they tend to recruit participants who are either at the post-graduate or post-doctoral level and the programme usually supports the participant for the first couple of years of their academic career to ensure they are retained (Cloete & Galant, 2004).

This article provides a short summary of the participants' overall impressions of the EDP experience. In the next edition we will focus in more detail on the following aspects of EDPs – Planning; Institutional Co-ordination and Administration; Recruitment and Selection; Supervision and Mentoring; Teaching and Research; Studying Overseas; Future Plans. In so doing we will share several lessons gleaned from our observations of these programmes.

Overall Impressions of the EDP Experience 1

A key objective of EDPs is to develop new academics from disadvantaged backgrounds. It would appear that this objective may well be met: the participants in these programmes are predominantly from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, and the vast majority of participants indicated that establishing an academic career was the primary reason for applying to these programmes.

By and large, participants have enjoyed the experience, found it stimulating and were likely to remain in academia in the foreseeable future. Strong relationships had developed between supervisors and supervisee which were typically seen as positive and had therefore heightened the supervisees' enjoyment of the experience. Other common positive aspects of EDPs included the time spent overseas.

However, most of the participants were mystified about the aims and objectives of their EDPs. Moreover, they were puzzled as to how their EDP fitted into their institution's vision, and they were equally confused as to the relationship between the aims and objectives of their departments and the vision of their institution.

Participants were largely convinced that there was a substantial gap between the mission and vision of their department and those of their institution. In addition, there was a feeling amongst some participants that the racism problems they encountered on a daily basis on campus 2 were largely the result of institutional leadership failing to communicate clearly the institution's vision, in particular the institution's commitment to non-racialism.

Nevertheless, participants' experiences on the respective campuses appear to have been different. For some, being on the campus ‘is a challenge in itself every day', whereas others felt their institutions had made considerable effort in dealing with issues of racism:

Every institution has an office where we can raise concerns about racism or sexism on campus, so people know they must not call us names….for this reason I think I have been welcomed onto this campus and I have not had any problems with people

For those who were not treated as well, they spoke of how they faced race-based challenges on a daily basis:

I could see that people resented me being there….one minute I was a student and the next thing I was a member of staff. They felt threatened and they think I am here to take their job away from them… You face a lot of rejection from the department.

A few participants did speak of ‘being treated differently' by colleagues. In some instances this was seen to be supportive, in other instances this treatment was seen to be problematic:

In my Department, yes. I think, honestly, my Director was very supportive in recommending that I apply for the PhD. He was already grooming me to fit into the Centre, so he already had a little spot for me. Other fellows were not really wanted in their Department. One of the Fellows graduated last year and she unfortunately had to seek employment somewhere else as there was no space for her in her department.

I'm probably the exception. When have meetings with others, they have expressed their concerns, that they are not getting the support that they desire or that they should be getting from their supervisor. So yes, like I'm saying, I'm from the fortunate ones if I compare myself to the others. They have had a lot of problems not getting the proper supervision, … which I think is also mainly a lack of an understanding of the programme, what it entails, what the supervisors'/mentors' responsibilities are. They have absolutely no idea what is expected of them... They [the supervisors/mentors] should undergo some sort of training or course on what the foundation expects from them and their responsibilities.

Based on the overall impression participants have of their respective EDPs two observations can be made:

  • One, there is a perception amongst many participants in their respective EDPs that entry into the programme guarantees an academic post. If this is not the intention of these programmes then the expectations of participants needs to be better managed in order to ensure that the aspirations of these new academics is not dashed prematurely.
  • Two, a number of participants felt that the support they are receiving is not optimal. It is essential that participants have support from both their supervisor and from the institution. Linked to this is the need to establish a ‘critical mass' of participants who can provide support to each other in order for them to share and discuss common experiences.

1 This section is adapted from a paper by Smith, MJ (2004), incorporated into Cloete, N & Galant, J. (2004). Capacity Building for the Next Generation of Academics: Review Report for Carnegie Corporation. Unpublished Report, CHET.

 

Snippets

David chairs and Matthew presents at the launch of the Development Bank of South Africa’s Knowledge Management Africa initiative

The launch of the Development Bank of South Africa’s Knowledge Management Africa initiative in March saw David chairing a session and Matthew presenting a paper entitled ‘Outputs, Outcomes and Objective Based Monitoring: Enhancing Knowledge Systems To Improve Service Delivery’.

Ross and Bonny's new addition

Earlier this year Ross and Bonny produced yet another son, who they have named Jez. They are now well on their way to producing a 5-a-side soccer team and Ross has already taught Jez how to play the vuvuzela in preparation for 2010.

Nobi and Moagi conducting a Citizen Satisfaction Study for the Office of the Premier

Nobi and Moagi are currently conducting a Citizen Satisfaction Study on behalf of the Office of the Premier, North West Province. The study encompases a sample of services provided by the 11 provincial departments in the province.

Matthew presents at the conference ‘A New Decade of Criminal Justice in South Africa – Consolidating Transformation’.

Matthew in conjunction with Iole Matthews (Independent Projects Trust) recently presented a paper entitled ‘A Balanced Approach to Evaluating a Criminal Justice Project’ at the conference ‘A New Decade of Criminal Justice in South Africa – Consolidating Transformation’.

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