Creative Consulting & Development Works was pleased to attend, present and exhibit at the fourth biennial South African Monitoring & Evaluation Association (SAMEA) conference in Johannesburg, from 16-20 September 2013. Creative Consulting & Development Works attended the SAMEA Conference in 2011 and 2013, and has also supported the SAMEA-Western Cape chapter with facilitation and project management services.
Established in November 2005, SAMEA is the leading Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) association in South Africa, striving to “cultivate a vibrant community that will support, guide and strengthen the development of M&E as an important discipline, profession and instrument for empowerment and accountability in South Africa…used in a manner that adds significant value to effective, sustainable development in South Africa.”
According to Creative Consulting & Development Works director, Lindy Briginshaw, SAMEA is a valuable opportunity to inform potential clients and partners of our services and the breadth of our local, provincial, national and international experience. “The conference is also crucial to equip our team with new ideas, skills and approaches in the sector, engage with like minded individuals and equally benefit from the sharing of various evaluators experience and expertise in the sector,” she says. “SAMEA is the ideal conference to gain exposure to evaluation learning and experts in the field of M&E. The biennial conference not only provides a learning platform for evaluators to share their knowledge, work and progress within the arena of M&E, but also provides a strong networking stage for all those interested in M&E.”
“SAMEA has really done a tremendous job with this year’s conference. It really shows that the SAMEA brand is growing and they have put a great deal of effort into making sure that SAMEA emphasizes the current trends of different evaluation techniques,” says Creative Consulting & Development Works Research and Evaluation Manager Susannah Clarke.
The Creative Consulting & Development Works SAMEA delegation included our Research and Evaluation Manager Susannah Clarke; two Researchers, Paul Dube and Teri Richter; and our Business Development Manager Tsholofelo Khoza. All colleagues presented oral papers aligned to this year’s conference theme, Meaningful Evaluation: Improving Use & Results.
They each shared some of their insights gained from their research into the topic:
Researcher Teri Richter presented a paper on real world experiences of an evaluator – managing expectations. “Companies should always review a little bit of the theoretical part of evaluation and I strongly believe we can set more trends if we revise our theory as evaluators,” she says.
Researcher Paul Dube presented a paper on using process and project management skills to improve the uptake of evaluation recommendations and felt the conference was overall of great benefit to Creative Consulting & Development Works. “In celebrating 10 years of service as a team, we had an opportunity to showcase how the company has grown from strength to strength with the increased complexity of the types of evaluation projects undertaken for our clients (including government, donors, NGOs and corporates) over the years,” he says. “In essence the SAMEA conference was a value-add for both professional and business development, as we were awarded certificates for the training courses we attended and strengthened our networks and made new friends in the development sector.”
Business Development Manager Tsholofelo Khoza presented a paper on prioritising the use of monitoring systems for effective evaluation – a practical and strategic guide for Corporate Social Investment (CSI). Tsholofelo provided a step-by-step guide to developing a CSI strategy that makes business sense and is evaluated properly throughout the life of the programme, highlighting how M&E can play a larger role in CSI.
“While CSI offers many opportunities for a company to enhance its reputation, it should not be seen as an extension of the organisation’s marketing strategy. Instead, CSI should be viewed holistically, and real development imperatives such as improving the nutritional status of children in poor communities should be at the heart of CSI initiatives,” she says. “At Creative Consulting & Development Works we believe that using aCSI budget to extend the spend on marketing not only represents a missed opportunity to make a marked contribution to the development of a thriving South African Society; but can have a damaging effect on the communities that should benefit from Corporate donations as ‘marketers’ quickly get bored with one strategy or organisation, and move to the next trending social initiative without consideration for the sustainability of the organisations that suddenly lose funding. CSI should be seen by Corporates as an opportunity to partner with civil society and government in transforming society, and invitation of sorts to create a South Africa that is socially and economically prosperous. After all, what is good for society is good for business.”
Research & Evaluation Manager Susannah Clarke presented a paper on the identification and application of evaluation criteria specific to the Family Strengthening Sector. “Creative Consulting & Development Works has benefited from SAMEA this year because we were able to showcase our core business of research and evaluation and put more emphasis on being one of South Africa’s leading evaluators,” she says.
SAMEA was a great opportunity to showcase the work of Creative Consulting & Development Works. We shared real world evaluation experiences through our presentations, and put our best foot forward in terms of marketing at the exhibitor’s table. As one conference delegate commented, “Creative Consulting and Development Works has arrived in full force this year for the fourth Biennial Conference.”
Susannah Clarke, Research & Evaluation Manager
An Expedient Evaluation Approach: Identifying and Applying Evaluation Criteria specific to Family Strengthening Programmes
Tsholofelo Khoza, Business Development Manager
Prioritising the Use of Monitoring Systems for Effective Evaluation: A Strategic and Practical Guide for Corporate Social Investments
Teri Richter, Researcher
Managing Expectations to Maximise Utilisation: Real world experiences of an Evaluator
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