Date: January 12, 2021

It’s that time of the year again… We make new plans for exercise, sign up for Veganary and vow to reduce plastic use.

No matter what anyone tells you, new years’ resolutions are great for you! By setting an intention, we can all make the world a little better.

That goes for M&E as well. So, here is our list of ten things Khulisa and other M&E professionals can aspire to in 2021:

1. Communicate M&E findings more effectively. We vow to use more visuals and new formats, like this way to use PowerPoint to make videos (#EvalTuesdayTip: Transforming PowerPoint presentations to versatile video messaging).  Without visuals data is dry, and misunderstood.  This year we’ll continue to make our reports concise, supporting them with great data visualisations and infographics

2. Collect already cleaned data. If you are like us, collecting data is not straight forward and we often spend an inordinate amount of time cleaning our impact and performance evaluation data.  We are actively following these hints to ensure data collected is already “clean” and recently started using Python and Tableau Pred to to clean data.

Learn more here: Data Cleaning in Python

3. Improve our ability to evaluate complex programs with adaptive management. We are engaging with this very useful ODI working paper entitled “Supporting Adaptive Management: Monitoring and evaluation tools and approaches” by Tiina Pasanen and Inka Barnett  These tools and approaches help with evaluating programs that 1) are innovative; (2) have uncertain pathways for change; or (3) operate in uncertain or unstable environments (e.g. post-conflict and fragile settings).

4. Participate in your local evaluation associations or start one! Most evaluation associations are holding virtual events such as remote training and webinars – teach a course , attend a webinar or become an advisor to a new evaluation associate, like Khulisa Senior Associate Leticia Taimo.

5. Create a virtual #evaluation book club: this was a 2020 resolution that was overtaken by the pandemic! In 2021, we plan to start a virtual evaluation book club to discuss classic and new books about evaluation like Michael Quinn-Patton’s Blue Marble Evaluation

6. Reduce your impact on the planet. Our new normal, working from home, has meant less travel (both locally and internationally) which means less carbon.  Khulisa has harvested rain water for many years, but this year we will be installing an extensive solar system in our Johannesburg office reducing our use of carbon based fuels.

7. Collect internal data consistently and continuously. Last year’s resolution was to “Apply metrics, indicators and principles internally. ”  We did this but discovered what our clients already know, that metrics are only as strong as the quality of data.  We need to practice what we preach and ensure our internal data is accurate and continuously updated so we can display it for our own adaptive management practices.  We love using Tableau for displaying our data.

Find what could work for you: Top 25 Business Intelligence Tools Of 2020 And How To Decide

8. Build and share knowledge. We have improved our output of knowledge products (Read 150+ #EvalTuesdayTips and counting – we celebrate & take stock! and #EvalTuesdayTip: Looking back at our 2020 Thought Leadership) but we resolve to share more widely and not just through traditional social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter @khulisams).  We would like to contribute to (including and are currently writing a chapter on a Khulisa impact evaluation which will be published in a Series on Research in Education in Africa, Caribbean, and the Middle East to be published by Information Age Publishing in 2022.  Let’s all get into the habit of writing up our learnings and documenting our challenges so that we can share them with our peers.

9. Be nice to yourself AND those around you. 2020 was tough and it’s easy to be hard on yourself and others in 2021.  Remember failure leads to learning and growth see Evaluation failures blog. So, if you don’t get these resolutions right this year, there is always 2022!

10. Manage both your time and your energy. Working from home is not the same as working in the office. When working from home, monitor your energy levels and listen to your body. Take breaks at the right time. Be mindful of what fuels and drains your energy, recharge accordingly. Whether you talk to your friend, connect with family or an activity that recharges you.

The holidays are behind us. Here is Khulisa’s happy holidays & 2020 message to all staff, partners and clients, in case you’ve missed it.