School of Graduate Studies, Research and Extension graduates the 1st cohort of the Results-Based Practical Approaches to Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Executive Short Course.

By Jennifer Nyakinya

In February 2022, the School of Graduate Studies Research and Extension launched an executive short course on practical approaches to Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning (MERL). The course equips participants with knowledge and skills in MERL and is unique in that it bridges the gap between theory and practice and connects to the policy ecosystem. The course is conducted at the Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels. It offers flexibility to learners as it is conducted virtually over the weekend. The course also appreciates prior learning and therefore flexes the entry points to allow learners to build on the knowledge they already have.

Specifically, participants in the beginner’s class are exposed to the basic concepts of M&E, definitions, terms and frameworks useful in understanding different functions. The intermediate class focuses on the practical application of frameworks, theory of change, developing collaborative learning agendas, dissemination plans and data analysis using MS Excel and SPSS. The outcome of the advanced level (masterclass) ensures participants are able develop evaluation proposals that consider impact evaluation methodologies, critiquing different pathways to results, framing evaluation questions using globally accepted methodologies and using results of evaluations to inform program design, implementation and evidence based decision making.

The first cohort completed the course in December 2022 and were awarded their certificates on 27th January, 2023 in a colourful ceremony at the School of Science and Technology. In attendance were the course instructors – Ms. Jennifer Nyakinya, Program Manager of the Network of Impact Evaluation Researchers in Africa (NIERA), Mr. Carol Yogo, Senior Research Officer, Graduate School, Ms. Sylvia Murungaru, M&E Specialist, Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program and Prof. Amos Njuguna, Dean, School of Graduate Studies, Research and Extension. Also in attendance were Dr. Jon Bonyo, Principal Research Officer and Ms. Salome Asena, Senior Research Officer from the Graduate School.

The ceremony was graced by Dr. Juliana Namada, an accomplished researcher and Chair of the USIU-Africa’s Institutional Ethical Review Committee. Her remarks emphasized the need for researchers and evaluators to apply ethical procedures in their work and obtain research permits from the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI). Dr. Namada singled out critical ethical procedures in research such as including informed consent for respondents, confidentiality, having exit strategies and debriefs.

Prof Njuguna, highlighted the schools work in impacting the community through its various donor-funded projects. He singled out the M&E course as a pathway to ensuring credibility in processes and systems in the development space. Prof Njuguna noted that a fundamental outcome for this and subsequent cohorts would be the establishment of a community of practice of evaluators where we envision the deeper application of the knowledge and skills acquired in class.

The Masterclass is currently ongoing and recruitment for the second cohort to join the beginner and intermediate class is underway through this link.

Social Media