The African-German Youth Initiative (AGYI) aims to promote quality approaches in doing exchanges between young people in African countries and Germany, and thereby increase and strengthen global partnerships at different levels. Yet, how can the AGYI make sure that its activities contribute towards achieving this overall goal? How can partner organisations in Germany as well as the implementing organisations in the pilot countries monitor and evaluate their activities in order to reach the initiative’s objectives?
Finding answers to these questions was the objective of a three-day workshop in Berlin from 25th to 27th April 2018. Stakeholders of volunteer and youth organisations in Germany, alumni of exchanges and volunteer services, staff of Engagement Global and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), as well as representatives from the three African pilot countries came together to envision a common monitoring and evaluation structure for the initiative during its pilot phase.
In addition to interest representatives from voluntary and youth organisations in Germany, former members of exchange and voluntary services, employees of Engagement Global and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the implementation partners WESSA, the Tanzania Youth Coalition and the Young Beninese Leaders Association were also present.
First, the AGYI's implementation partners in South Africa, Tanzania and Benin presented their organisation-specific framework plans with which they will review and evaluate the impact of their AGYI activities in the future. In addition, a series of jointly developed goals, formulated by the AGYI Steering Committee in Addis Ababa in October 2017, served as a guidepost. In this context, Maria Zandt of GIZ Addis Ababa stressed the value of developing a shared framework in terms of accountability and learning effects within the AGYI. Only through a common roof of objectives and indicators could all actors recognise how the activities of the pilot phase might need to be adapted to achieve the desired impact. "Our common goals must be realistic and achievable," added Joyce Rupia-Bergstermann of Engagement Global.
Building on this, the participants shared their experiences and needs to develop the common framework for monitoring and evaluation for the initiative as a whole. They looked at linking the AGYI's goals with the 17 sustainable development goals and shared their views on good pedagogy in youth exchanges. They also dealt with the role of the AGYI in supporting alumni engagement.
The further formulation of the workshop results should serve as an orientation aid for all participants - without replacing goal definitions or monitoring and evaluation structures on a pan-African, national and organisation-specific level.
The last day of the workshop was dedicated to the presentation of the concept of a future AGYI Sounding Board for stakeholders of the African-German youth exchange and international youth organisations on the German side. The Sounding Board should enrich the initiative with its recommendations and diverse perspectives and have a monitoring function with regard to the achievement of objectives. The concept also envisages that the structure of the Sounding Board will ensure a close exchange with the Steering committee of the African partner structure. The appointment of the committee is to take place in the course of the year with the close participation of all partners.