Sharing M&E Knowledge in Nigeria
A discussion forum and a knowledge management workshop are among ways monitoring and evaluation professionals in Nigeria are sharing their successes and challenges. Such activities “will help us as a way of moving monitoring and evaluation forward in Nigeria,” says Samson Bamidele, MEASURE Evaluation’s senior resident advisor in Nigeria.
In April 2013, 551 people were part of a three-day online forum to discuss monitoring and evaluation (M&E) issues; and in February 2013, 28 participants took part in a one-day workshop on such M&E knowledge management concerns as how to disseminate research and evaluation findings effectively.
Obafemi Awolowo University in southwest Nigeria moderated the online forum. Participants included individuals from that university and from Ahmadu Bello University; MEASURE Evaluation staff in Nigeria; and M&E professionals from both within and outside the country who had attended MEASURE Evaluation-sponsored M&E training events. Out of the individuals with access to the forum, 101 users contributed 131 posts throughout the three days. The forum’s theme, the emergence of M&E practice in Nigeria, drew discussion on a variety of challenges facing M&E professionals related to that topic. Molly Cannon, a MEASURE Evaluation M&E specialist, helped coordinate the forum, which served as a sub-group for MEASURE Evaluation’s Monitoring and Evaluation Experiences Together (MEET) community of practice. MEASURE Evaluation’s Capacity Building and Training Team, which manages the MEET community of practice, also helped create the discussion forum’s listserv and provided technical support.
Forum participants were enthusiastic about the opportunity to discuss their M&E work with colleagues, and many sent informal messages to the listserv expressing their gratitude. To continue this work, Bamidele hopes Ahmadu Bello University, in northern Nigeria, can moderate a second online forum. Working with universities, he says, helps reach a wider range of M&E professionals in the country. Other plans include establishing a community of practice for M&E work in Nigeria, which would provide an ongoing way for professionals to discuss M&E concerns.
The knowledge management workshop also centered on the importance of sharing M&E experiences to help expand M&E use in Nigeria. Leah Gordon, a knowledge management specialist with MEASURE Evaluation, led the workshop attended by 28 people, including participants from the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA).
The workshop focused on building a basic understanding of knowledge management, or how organizations can effectively share their knowledge, information, and expertise. The workshop also taught how to develop a clear structure for disseminating and promoting information from research and evaluation studies. As a result of the workshop, says Bamidele, NACA plans to establish an M&E community of practice for its central and state-level affiliates.
Bamidele believes these kinds of opportunities are necessary for the growth of M&E practice in Nigeria. “For individuals to have M&E skills, they need M&E knowledge,” says Bamidele.