You are here

The role of Zambian civil society in evaluation

John Njovu

Without active civil society and their evaluations, Zambia would still be a colonised nation. It is the welfare societies and cultural groups of indigenous Africans that were the foundation for the political movements that fought for its independence from the British. After political independence, civil society grew because of the 1970s global oil and financial crises. This was to mitigate the adverse effects on ordinary citizens of the conditionality of borrowing from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and developed nations. The increase in foreign development assistance led to an increase in development projects and programmes along with their associated internal management requirements for monitoring and evaluation (M&E). Government, during this time, also started to formulate plans and programmes that required components of M&E (for example, poverty reduction strategies). After the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, M&E rose to prominence in Zambia’s national development processes.
Civil society played a major role in the return to multi-party democracy politics of Zambia in 1991. Post 1991, it began to also play a major role in M&E governance and ensuring that the democratic gains of 1991 were protected. Part of the demand for external M&E capacity development was to enhance its watchdog role over the Zambian government. Though the government recognises civil society as a partner in national democratic processes, it is sometimes mistrustful and hostile to evaluation revelations that are critical of government. There remains a need to strengthen this partnership to ensure that national evaluation capacities are developed. Improved capacities will in turn lead to good governance and public service delivery in Zambia. In this way, sustainable development goals will be attained, and no one will be left behind.

Free full text: 

Purchase the full text of this article