4 November 2016, goes down in the History of the Evaluation Profession in Rwanda as the day that gave birth to the Rwanda Monitoring and Evaluation Society. I am happy to have witnessed this great milestone in Africa’s Evaluation History as it unfolded at the Lemigo Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda. The process that finally culminated into the official launch of the Society traces its origins to the International Programme for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) through the inspiration of Dr. Linda Morra-Imas and Dr. Ray Rist. These two Evaluation greats conducted a mini-IPDET to a cross-section of Evaluation professionals in Rwanda a few years back.
In June 2015, a Rwanda Evaluation professional, Mr. Alex Mugabo Kashaija, presently working as the Regional Coordinator for Heifer International in Rwanda, attended the IPDET Training at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Inspired by this training, he came back home and compared notes with another IPDET Alumni, Ms. Judith Kaitesi Katabarwa, presently working with the National Capacity Building Secretariat (NCBS) of Rwanda as the Division Manager for Strategic Operations and Quality Assurance. Together they hatched the idea of coming up with a Monitoring and Evaluation Society for Rwanda. They teamed up with an IDEAS Board member, Mr. Awuor Ponge, who in January 2016, briefed the Evaluaton Professionals on the modalities of coming up with such a society. This joint effort climaxed with the official launch of the Society in Rwanda, which was witnessed by all the key stakeholders in Rwanda at the High Level event.
More than 90 High Profile Evaluation practitioners, Evaluation Commissioners and Evaluation Users graced this occasion. The occasion was catalysed by a High Profile Panel Session moderated by Mr. Ponge and addressed by Senior Officers in Rwanda, including: Mr. Dominique Habimana, the Director of Statistical Methods, Research and Publication at the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR); Mr. Godfrey Kabera, the Director General in-charge of National Development Planning and Research in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in Rwanda; Ms. Yumi Matsuda, the UNICEF Chief of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in Rwanda; Ms. Judith Kaitesi Katabarwa, the Division Manager for Strategic Operations and Quality Assurance at the National Capacity Building Secretariat (NCBS); and last but not least, Dr. Alfred R. Bizoza, the Director of Research at the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR-Rwanda).
The Panel Session addressed the role of Evaluation in the Development Agenda of Rwanda, how Rwanda is positioned to the implementation of its National Blueprint, the Vision 2020 as well as the global development blueprint, the SDGs. It also addressed how the International Community is positioned to work hand-in-hand with the Government of Rwanda and other key stakeholders to ensure that evaluation helps in establishing evidence that informs development interventions and policy in Rwanda. Lastly, the Panel discussed what the role of the Society for Professional Evaluators would be in the development arena in Rwanda.
This Society is supported by the Government of Rwanda, through the National Capacity Building Secretariat (NCBS), which has been so instrumental in the mobilisation of the key stakeholders in Rwanda. This event was jointly sponsored by the Government of the Republic of Rwanda, the United Nations through UNICEF Rwanda Country Office; and the Belgian Technical Cooperation agency (BTC).
Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in congratulating the Evaluation fraternity in Rwanda for this great milestone. We welcome the new Evaluation Society in the global community of evaluation practitioners.