SANTHE has been awarded £35,000 GBP in operational network funding from the Wellcome Trust to support the following aims over a 10-month period:
1. To create an operational network of four consortia that focuses on Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of capacity building programmes in Africa.
2. To facilitate group learning and development of innovative M&E approaches by sharing the network partners M&E experiences and strategies for overcoming the challenges they have faced in M&E.
3. To analyse the usefulness of our current M&E approaches in assessing impact and effectiveness of our capacity building activities and tools and develop new tool for evaluating for complex outcomes.
4. To develop ways of enhancing the utilisation and dissemination of the collective network M&E data to improve African-led scientific capacity building.
5. To identify opportunities for increased collaboration among network partners in the arena of monitoring and evaluation and capacity building.
This operational network will enable those involved to learn from each other about what works and what doesn’t work, and to reflect on challenges, share best practices and tools, discuss how best to assess impact, and move forward in a manner that will improve the impact of the capacity building interventions and ensure cost-effectiveness. It is anticipated that this will help SANTHE and other consortia in refining their M&E and learning approaches and designing new interventions.
Based on current funding and the time available, the network will initially focus on four current DELTAS Africa consortia: SANTHE, IDeAL, MUII and Afrique One-ASPIRE. The Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science (DELTAS) Africa programme is a $100 million USD initiative funded by the Wellcome Trust and Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK and lead by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) to support the Africa-led development of world-class researchers and scientific leaders in Africa. The SANTHE, IDeAL, MUII and Afrique One-ASPIRE consortia all have a common primary focus on infectious diseases while allowing geographic representation from east, west and southern Africa. Three consortia are in Anglophone countries and one network is based in a Francophone country. The network will ultimately be extended to the rest of the DELTAS consortia and other capacity building initiatives. SANTHE will initially be the lead site for operational and logistical purposes.
The expected outcomes include enhanced M&E capacity at all participating sites and having new tools for monitoring complex interventions. In the long run, the aim is for this initiative to contribute to best practice: enhanced, efficient and compelling approaches to M&E in capacity building optimising learning and dissemination of lessons learnt. “I’m looking forward to thinking about new tools to capture key monitoring and evaluation data to assess impact in key areas,” states Dr Victoria Kasprowicz, SANTHE’s Senior Strategic Advisor, who highlights that the current tools have a strong focus on quantitative data such as numbers of trainees.
Through this funding, however, the network will benefit both the partners and funders by providing better or novel approaches and tools for M&E and learning and by promoting more collaborative and cost-effective research capacity building approaches.