Mr. Sipanela – and Mozambique – are not alone in their efforts. GEI Implementing Partner, the Center for Learning on Evaluation and Results for Lusophone Africa and Brazil (CLEAR-LAB), in collaboration with UNICEF-Mozambique, are working closely with government partners to support the institutionalization of evaluation and the use of evidence for decision-making and learning in Mozambique.
As part of an Africa-wide conference on evaluation of public policies held in Ghana in 2019, CLEAR-LAB hosted a smaller meeting for Portuguese-speaking countries to share experiences and create opportunities for networking and collaboration. CLEAR-LAB brought with it extensive experience supporting public policy evaluation in Brazil and was ready to share their expertise with other Portuguese-speaking countries. This meeting led to an ongoing working relationship with Mozambique, with collaborative activities starting in earnest in 2020, initially through remote collaboration due to the COVID pandemic.
Mr. Sipanela’s efforts have clearly benefited from CLEAR-LAB’s support, “The diagnostic [that CLEAR-LAB supported] was extremely important for us because it allowed us to identify where things were going wrong, what the potentials are, and to see the challenges. It allowed us to conclude what were the priorities from our capacities standpoint and to see what had to be done to create and strengthen capacities in the evaluation area.”
The diagnostic that Mr. Sipanela mentions is GEI’s Monitoring and Evaluation Systems Analysis (MESA), a tool that is an important part of GEI’s systems-based strategy, implemented in most of the countries where the Initiative works.
CLEAR-LAB worked closely with Mr. Sipanela’s office on the MESA in 2020, mapping public sector institutions and stakeholders and developing a Capacity Development Plan to guide further activities to strengthen the national M&E system. In 2021, another stakeholder mapping was conducted, mapping over 59 additional stakeholders and their contributions to the Mozambican M&E ecosystem.
As a result of the MESA findings, CLEAR-LAB, in partnership with UNICEF, has focused on three areas of support in Mozambique: 1) providing advisory services to support development of the country’s legal and policy framework for a national M&E system; 2) building the capacity of stakeholders around M&E; and 3) supporting a multisectoral team with piloting the first-ever rapid policy evaluation in Mozambique.
An important initial step was the organization of a MEF Working Group to discuss the instruments, governance, and processes necessary to implement the M&E subsystem under the SISTAFE. Empowering local decision-makers with the information they need to build their national monitoring and evaluation systems ensures that these efforts are always country-led and country-owned - a key tenet of GEI’s approach. This also allows for localized solutions to be developed – informed by GEI’s global network of partner expertise, CLEAR-LAB is able to suggest best practices that are then tailored to Mozambique’s context and culture in consultation with in-country partners.
Between October 2021 and January 2022, CLEAR-LAB facilitated Working Group meetings around the following main themes:
- Exploration of a series of international cases studies (prepared by CLEAR-LAB) on other countries’ experiences building and strengthening national M&E systems. The content of this document was suggested by CLEAR-LAB as a prerequisite for participants of the Working Group.
- Discussion of governance, demand and incentives needed for the generation and use of evidence in a national M&E system.
- Definition of system components, including M&E tools (examples: ex ante evaluation, impact evaluation, rapid evaluation), the Capacity Development Plan and necessary efforts to build an internal culture supportive of monitoring, evaluation and evidence use.
- Preparation of a preliminary version of the national M&E subsystem framework (in a more detailed way than was presented in the SISTAFE framework) and of a work plan for 2022 (training plan, guides, pilot evaluations, partnerships, etc.).
This working group process resulted in several important actions such as the development of an M&E Manual, for which CLEAR-LAB provided support on the evaluation component. It is currently being revised to incorporate the inputs given by other Ministries. The Working Group also agreed to create a multiannual evaluation agenda mechanism, which in the context of Mozambique will be called the “National Evaluation Plan,” (a legal instrument that that will establish which programs will be evaluated on a regular basis), among other decisions.
Stakeholders in Mozambique have also been benefiting from CLEAR-LAB trainings on M&E conducted with participants from other Lusophone countries – an important aspect of building a network of support for countries working on similar issues. For example, the “Rapid Evaluation Training Online Course” included nearly 100 participants from Mozambique, Cape Verde, Brazil, Angola and Sao Tome and Principe. Other trainings included “Introduction to M&E,” and “Introduction to Impact Evaluations.” An “Evidence in the Public Policy Cycle” course was held specifically for participants from Mozambique.
In addition, as part of its efforts to build the capacities of local evaluation professionals, GEI funded an internship for a young evaluator from Mozambique as part of its “Hands-On Learning” Program for Young and Emerging Evaluators, who assisted CLEAR-LAB in 2022.
In support of Mozambique’s first multisectoral rapid evaluation, CLEAR-LAB is mentoring an Evaluation Committee to evaluate the National Water Policy. It is crucial to build evaluation capacities and to institutionalize evaluation “know-how” by Mozambican professionals and within governmental institutions. The Evaluation Committee is composed of approximately eight people, representing the National Directorate for Monitoring and Evaluation; National Directorate of Planning and Budget; National Directorate of Economic Policies and Development; Ministry of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources; and National Directorate of Water. Mozambique’s Evaluation Committee is receiving CLEAR-LAB’s support on evaluation planning, data collection, analysis, presentation of results and use of evidence. The final evaluation report on the National Water Policy will be the basis for an action plan to develop and implement the suggested recommendations and will serve as a model for future evaluations.
There is more on the horizon for Mozambique. Informed by the MESA diagnostic, CLEAR-LAB is supporting Mozambique’s efforts to further implement the Capacity Development Plan. For example, in 2023, CLEAR-LAB will support MEF in developing the government’s first National Evaluation Plan, will conduct additional training and capacity-building initiatives (which will be offered to line ministries and subnational governments), and will develop a methodological guide for evaluations. Additional activities will include supporting the government with building rapport with other governmental actors who will be involved in the process; helping to establish criteria for choosing programs to be evaluated; supporting the planning of evaluations, building evaluation teams, and undertaking evaluations; and, developing reporting structures, among other activities.
“We will continue counting on CLEAR-LAB and GEI's assistance to strengthen the system and to have more interaction among the several groups involved, the several evaluator networks GEI knows around the world, and also to see [CLEAR-LAB more involved] around the country to allow a better exchange of experience and strengthen together what are good practices in the area of monitoring and evaluation.” Mr. Sipanela concludes.
Mozambique has stepped solidly onto a path toward good governance, transparency, resilience, and better policymaking – letting evidence lead the way - with CLEAR-LAB and GEI right by its side.