ONGOING: Evaluation of the African Bank’s Engagement with Civil Society

Consultant involved from EvalChange team: Ibtissem Jouini as Senior Evaluator

First published by the Independent Development Evaluation (IDEV) African Development Bank


The evaluation of Civil Society Engagement (CSE) intends to unpack, consolidate, sharpen and deepen the existing knowledge, experiences and evidence related to the Bank’s civil society engagement. It will develop actionable recommendations related to the frequency, quality and inclusiveness of the interactions with civil society in the Bank’s processes.


This evaluation aims at identifying strategic opportunities and key levers for enhancing the Bank’s approach to CSE, also to inform the revision of the Bank’s Civil Society Engagement Framework/Strategy, scheduled for 2020.

The overarching purpose of the evaluation is twofold: learning and accountability, with the following specific objectives:

  1. Review the kind and extent of engagement between the Bank and civil society, including processes and outcomes, with an eye for strengths and weaknesses;
  2. Explore the nature, type and capacities of civil society partners, and their needs vis-à-vis the Bank’s priorities and capacities related to CSE;
  3. Generate strategic and operational lessons to inform the revision of the Bank’s Strategy for CSE.

The evaluation will be guided by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Principles for Evaluation of Development Assistance, the DAC Quality Standards for Development Evaluation, and the Good Practice Standards of the Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG). The following key evaluation criteria will be used: relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and catalytic effect. A Theory-of-Change for CSE will be reconstructed to reflect the commitments that the Bank has already made, and which the Bank has been expected to operationalize at all levels, as well as the foreseen outcomes and impacts of that engagement, including on the capacities of civil society actors. In addition, a literature review of internal and external evidence around CSE covering the period 2012-2019 will be conducted.

Five country case studies of CSE experiences by the AfDB will be developed, representative of the continent’s five regions and in line with other criteria. The development of case studies will be accompanied by a survey of civil society, complementing the learning capitalization exercise by the Bank’s civil society team, conducted in light of the 10th anniversary of the Bank’s CSO forum. To enhance uptake and encourage the use of findings, this evaluation will triangulate qualitative and quantitative data, to combine internal learning from within the Bank with external knowledge on good practice in CSE. The evaluation process will involve consultation with decision-makers and key stakeholders inside and outside the Bank, during inception and subsequently following each phase of the evaluation. A stakeholder mapping and dissemination plan will be developed and revised throughout the evaluation.

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