At the invitation of the Senegalese Evaluation Network (SenEval), 50 people gathered at the regional office of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Dakar, Senegal, on October 6, 2011. They discussed how to evaluate the influence of research on public policies, evaluation processes in countries torn by violence, the culture and professionalization of evaluation, and ethical issues related to its practice. According to the network co-founder, Abdou Karim Lo of the Delegation for State Reform and Technical Assistance (DREAT) of Senegal, evaluation is important to improving public policy and is even a democratic responsibility.
Fred Carden and Colleen Duggan of IDRC's Evaluation Unit shared findings from recent studies. The results of one are already published in Knowledge to Policy, Making the Most of Development Research. They also announced that the Evaluation Unit will host a clinic on ethical issues related to the practice of evaluation at the 6th biennial international conference of the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) in Accra,,Ghana January 9-13, 2012. See the SenEval study (2008, 13 pages in French) on evaluation capacities in Senegal.
About half of the participants -- university lecturers and researchers, independent evaluators, government authorities, and representatives of nongovernmental organizations, of bilateral cooperation agencies and of UN agencies -- were at IDRC’s Dakar office for the first time. They appreciated the discussion, information, access to documentation, and networking opportunity.