RE: Racism in the field of evaluation | Eval Forward

Thank you for this conversation. In fact, the same discussion had been started on Twitter by Tom Archibald ( with very fascinating points coming out. He also shared this.

Well, in evaluation, unfortunately, racism is present.

Looking at the Evaluations conducted in African countries, you realize most consultancies are given to a consultant from the global north even one with less experience or one just starting. The more experienced evaluator from the south is given an opportunity as a data collector (in some instances), and this is only because of existing protocols, or language barrier and terrain challenges. And this goes for Evaluations conducted in the global North too, the opportunity is still given to the same evaluators again, hence very minimal chances of the global south evaluators.

Payment is also not the same. If we hold all factors constant, the consultant from the global North is highly remunerated as opposed to one from the south. This is in addition to the already incurred expenses, of bringing them into the country, expensive accommodation, and DSAs.

Some of the donor-funded programs and international NGOs, bring in the consultants from their own country to conduct evaluations for the projects in the global South.

As an evaluator, I once looked at an Evaluation report of a program conducted by a consultant from the global North and was surprised. The report did not highlight any Evaluation criteria or methodology. Some of the contents in the report included complains about an officer who arrived late and another who got sick during the evaluation process and also expressed anger that at a certain point, an FGD Interviewee mentioned the word mzungu (Mzungu is a Swahili name for a “white person”).

On another instance, the organization simply brought a photographer from the global North, to take pictures to include in the report, but the person ended submitting our pictures taken via our smartphones, which we were sharing on the WhatsApp group that we had created to communicate when in the field for data collection. And to make it worse, he labeled his name. 

I could go on and on but racism in Evaluation is present and it’s deep too, but those most affected are the Evaluators in the global South.