Syllabus for Executive Course – Evaluating Impact Investing in Africa

The impact investing field is defined as the range of products, services and actors that intentionally seek a social or environmental impact as well as a financial return in the deployment of capital. While impact investing in Africa today is characterized by much dynamism and innovation, its scale remains relatively modest, and locally-owed funds are still fewer and smaller than foreign ones.

Likewise, there is an array of methods and tools to assess the outputs of individual impact investments, but less in examining medium- and longer term outcomes and impacts, both intended and unintended. This course aims to enable participants to explore and understand these issues, as they build new skills and knowledge.

This is the syllabus for an executive course on evaluating impact investing in Africa. It is designed for professionals in finance and investment, business management and acceleration, social enterprise, social innovation, development, philanthropy, public policy, university research and program evaluation.

The modules for the course are organized around three broad themes—building the field of impact investing, measuring the success of impact investments, and understanding the special issues emanating from the African context—all of which can, and should, be mutually reinforcing processes.

The course was developed through a three-year collaborative project involving the CLEAR Centre for Anglophone Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand, GreaterCapital, the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, the Venture Capital Trust Fund, the Institute for Policy Alternatives, and E.T. Jackson and Associates. Funding for the project was provided by the Evaluation Office of The Rockefeller Foundation, the International Development Research Centre, and the CLEAR Centre.

It was my great honor to have chaired and moderated the executive training workshops in Johannesburg in 2015 and Accra in 2016 that piloted the modules for this course. Financial support of the workshops was provided by The Rockefeller Foundation, the CLEAR Centre for Anglophone Africa, the Venture Capital Trust Fund, and the International Development Research Centre.

Representatives of a wide range of stakeholders—including private equity funds, charitable foundations, non-profit funds, government ministries, universities and more—participated in these dynamic educational events, listening, presenting, learning together and co-creating new knowledge.

This knowledge creation process must continue. Impact investing and other forms of innovative finance are an important part of Africa’s future. We must ensure that these funds and vehicles actually hit their targets, generating new income and opportunities for households in need of improved well-being and sustainable livelihoods.

Evaluation and monitoring, or impact assessment, can and should be a driver in holding impact investors accountable and helping them become more effective, while, especially, strengthening African-owned funds and networks.

This course is an innovative tool for undertaking these crucial tasks. It is provided on an open-source basis. We encourage African educational and investment institutions to adapt and deliver it, and continue to build its content and constituency across the continent.

His Excellency Dr. Sulley Gariba
Founding Director, Institute for Policy Alternatives
Ghana’s High Commissioner to Canada

Funders and Partners
An Open Sourced Syllabus for African Institutions

This syllabus has been built by, and for, for African institutions and their partners as they build executive and graduate education for impact investing and impact measurement. The contributing organizations and funders hope that others institutions and educators will apply and adapt these materials, and also contribute new content, cases and publications. Please contact us with your suggestions and contributions.

This is the syllabus for an executive course on evaluating impact investing in Africa. It is designed for professionals in finance and investment, business management and acceleration, social enterprise, social innovation, development, philanthropy, public policy, university research and program evaluation.

The impact investing field is defined as the range of products, services and actors that intentionally seek a social or environmental impact as well as a financial return in the deployment of capital. This capital is used by investees – businesses, NGOs, co-operatives, and others – to deliver products and services to individuals, households and communities in order to improve their economic and social conditions.

The modules for the course are organized around three broad themes—building the field of impact investing, measuring the success of impact investments, and understanding the special issues emanating from the African context—all of which can, and should, be mutually reinforcing processes. While impact investing in Africa today is characterized by much dynamism and innovation, its scale remains relatively modest, and locally-owed funds are still fewer and smaller than foreign ones. Likewise, there is an array of methods and tools to assess the outputs of individual impact investments, but less in examining medium- and longer term outcomes and impacts, both intended and unintended. This course aims to enable participants to explore and understand these issues, as they build new skills and knowledge.

The course was developed through a three-year collaborative project involving the CLEAR Centre for Anglophone Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand, GreaterCapital, the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, the Venture Capital Trust Fund, the Institute for Policy Alternatives, and E.T. Jackson and Associates. Funding for the project was provided by the Evaluation Office of The Rockefeller Foundation, the International Development Research Centre, and the CLEAR Centre. The modules on which the course is based were tested in workshops in Johannesburg and Accra. Instructors and facilitators in these workshops included H.E. Dr. Sulley Gariba (Chair of both workshops), Dr. Edward Jackson, Mr. Karim Harji, Dr. Laila Smith, Ms. Hamdiya Ismaila, Mr. Godfred Amewu, Dr. Charles Amoatey, Mr. Neissan Besharati, Ms. Refilwe Mokoena and Dr. Martha Melesse.

The 24 modules of the course are organized in three parts. The first part of the course focuses on building the field of impact investing. This begins with consideration of the impact investing industry in sub-Saharan Africa in the context of the global industry, which currently manages nearly $80 billion in assets held by foundations, private equity funds, banks, development finance institutions and non- profits. Modules examine the various actors in the industry, the structure and strategies of impact- oriented funds and how to track their social performance, the importance of institutional investors for scaling the industry, investee businesses designed to generate social impact, and ways and means of building robust, African-owned ecosystems to promote the growth and effectiveness of impact investing.

The second part of the course focuses on the theme of measuring success, and examines strategies and tools for evaluating individual impact investments, portfolios and programs. Using a combination of international and African experiences, and drawing on the work of development evaluators and impact analysts alike, modules cover the broad menu of methods and tools available, the use of theory of change, the application of standards in the evaluation process, and the issue of assessing and reporting on additionality.

The third part of the course focuses on special topics. These topics include modules on gender equality, development impact bonds, managing negative and unintended outcomes, initiatives for conflict settings and emergencies, a case study of impact evaluation, job quality, mission preservation at exit, tools for assessing household impacts, and the link between impact investing and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The educational approach taken in this course is first, to provide participants with best-practice international knowledge on field-building and evaluation in impact investing. Second, local instructors and speakers present leading-edge analysis and experiences from Africa. And third, through small-group work, participants own ideas are mobilized to create new knowledge to meet African challenges and opportunities. This approach demands that course instructors not only master the international and African content of the modules, the instructors must also be skilled facilitators. Encouraging productive group work by participants, animating plenary sessions where the groups report on their ideas, and summarizing and recording that new knowledge, are all tasks to be undertaken by the instructors. The instructors may wish to engage assistants to help with these tasks.

This approach, clearly, is rooted in a model of face-to-face learning. However, that does not preclude adapting these modules for online or distance learning, through webinars or other means. In fact, it is possible to employ the same content, speakers (by video) and readings for each module, but revise the exercise so that it can be carried out by online participant groups. Experience suggests that the mandates and outputs of such online group exercises must be very clear, precise and contained if they are not to trigger successive rounds of comments and create for both instructors and participants an unmanageable workload. Nonetheless, it is very possible to adapt this course to online delivery for executive or graduate education purposes.

To further develop content for this course, we encourage the generation of African case studies, tools and analytic pieces on evaluating impact investing, by Africans involved in finance, business, development and the academy. A call for submissions would set out the particular requirements of the course and the general structure of new content. The call would be posted on the sites of relevant networks and as well as sent to a list of likely contributors known to the course proponents already. Our proposal is that a suite of prizes (cash and non-cash) be established for the five best knowledge contributions each year, as determined by a committee of African leaders in impact investing and evaluation. These materials would then be edited and formatted, and made available on an open-source basis to institutions delivering the course.

Another important element in moving the course forward to implementation across Africa is the training of trainers to deliver it. Our suggestion here is for the lead institutions to organize an annual training of trainers (TOT) workshop over three days to learn about the content and learning strategies associated with the course and to integrate new, local material and speakers into its delivery. It is proposed to begin with carefully selected TOT participants from South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and other countries. The TOT workshop itself would be adapted each year based on the experience of the previous years.

Pre-Requisites

Participants should be active in professional activities within the impact investing industry per se or in related areas such as finance and investment more generally, business, social enterprise, development, philanthropy, public policy, or evaluation. The course is aimed at participants who are seeking basic knowledge and skills in impact investing field-building and evaluation. However, the material can also be adapted for participants seeking more advanced knowledge. In addition to the relevance of their professional activities, participants must commit their time for the full period of the delivery of the course. Finally, they should have strong reading and analytic skills, and a willingness and ability to participate in small group work.

Certification

For participants who satisfactorily meet the requirements of the course, a certificate of completion will be conferred by the host institution. That institution may make arrangements to link completion of the course to the acquisition of credit toward other professional or academic programs. Among others, efforts are being made to seek certification of the course by the Business School at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives for the course are to enable participants to:

  1. Better understand, participate in and lead the further development of the impact investing industry in Africa at the local, national and pan-African levels;
  2. Gain new knowledge and skills in designing, managing and utilizing evaluation and monitoring projects and systems for impact investments, portfolios and programs;
  3. Critically examine special issues of significance in the field-building and evaluation processes of the field, and build solutions for addressing these issues.

The expectation is that with these new skills and knowledge, the participants will continue to animate field-building and evaluation in impact investing over their careers in the private, public, non-profit and academic sectors.

Assignments and Tasks

Course participants will be evaluated on three basic criteria:

  1. Full attendance at all sessions of the course;
  2. Thorough preparation for each module; and
  3. Full, good-faith participation in the group exercises.

In the executive version of this course, these are the prime assignments, tasks and evaluation elements. In an adaptation of the course to a graduate or undergraduate degree program, major written assignments would be required and should conform to the academic standards of the host institution.

The format of this curriculum is modular, and instructors are expected to modify and adapt the final structure of the course to suit the specific needs of the participants and country context. The three-part format and supporting modules are intended to provide an overall framework, but not intended to be prescriptive or linear. As such, instructors should adapt the final choice of modules and the order in which they are taught as necessary to meet the goals of the course and/or the needs of participants.

Of particular note is the opportunity, and the necessity, for instructors to supplement the existing materials with additional examples from their own country, in order to illustrate the importance of context and to deepen the texture of learning and insights that participants can gain. This can also take the form of inviting guest speakers from local organizations who can introduce both established and emerging lessons and examples.

Expectations

Course participants are expected to fully commit to and participate in the educational process of the course. They are required to prepare for each module by reviewing the main readings. They are also required to attend all lectures and presentations. And they are required to participate in good faith and with their best ideas in the group exercises associated with each module. This includes practising respectful listening to peers as well as making productive contributions. In this effort, they must agree to serve as group chair or rapporteur at least once during the course. If a participant fails to meet these requirements, it will result in the foregoing of a certificate of completion of the course.

Policies and Responsibilities

The delivery of this course is governed by the policies and responsibilities set out by the host institution.

The course was developed through a three-year collaborative project involving the CLEAR Centre for Anglophone Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand, GreaterCapital, the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, the Venture Capital Trust Fund, the Institute for Policy Alternatives, and E.T. Jackson and Associates.

Funding for the project was provided by the Evaluation Office of The Rockefeller Foundation, the International Development Research Centre, and the CLEAR Centre.

The modules on which the course is based were tested in workshops in Johannesburg and Accra. Instructors and facilitators in these workshops included H.E. Dr. Sulley Gariba (Chair of both workshops), Dr. Edward Jackson, Mr. Karim Harji, Dr. Laila Smith, Ms. Hamdiya Ismaila, Mr. Godfred Amewu, Dr. Charles Amoatey, Mr. Neissan Besharati, Ms. Refilwe Mokoena and Dr. Martha Melesse.

We are grateful to the many individuals who made important contributions to the development of this course, including: Godfred Amewu, Charles Amoatey, Neissan Besharati, Jennifer De Bien, Arjaan De Haan, Dylan Edwards, Khwezi Fudu, Sulley Gariba, Fauziah Ibrahim, Hamdiya Ismaila, Nancy MacPherson, Martha Melesse, Thandeka Mhlantla, Refilwe Mokoena, Rob Moore, Veronica Olazabal, Stephen Porter, Thobeka Poswa, Laila Smith, Sue Szabo, Khotso Tsotsotso, and Sonja Vanek.

The Rockefeller Foundation – For more than 100 years, The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission has been to promote the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Today, The Rockefeller Foundation pursues this mission through dual goals: advancing inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more broadly shared prosperity, and building resilience by helping people, communities, and institutions prepare for, withstand and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses.

E.T. Jackson and Associates – E.T. Jackson and Associates Ltd. is an international management consulting firm providing professional services in strategic planning, organizational learning and performance assessment to grant-makers and investors in the public interest. With a track record of award-winning work in Africa and Asia, the firm specializes in impact investing, microfinance, social enterprise, civil-society organizations, gender equality, local governance, and basic and higher education.

International Development Research Centre – IDRC was established by an act of Canada’s parliament in 1970 to help developing countries find solutions to their challenges. A leader among the world’s top funders of development research, the Centre wields considerable influence in this field. The world’s most prominent government and private donor agencies consistently seek out IDRC for collaboration. These donor partnerships account for a significant and increasing share of the Centre’s programming.

Institute for Policy Alternatives – Based in Tamale in northern Ghana, IPA is a leader in citizen-oriented research and evaluation. The Institute has facilitated citizen accountability tools, including community score-cards and citizen report cards, in such areas as local governance, potable water, sanitation, health care, social insurance, and disability issues. In recent years, the Institute has supported the development of courses on evaluating impact investing and on learning and evaluation in collective action movements.

CLEAR Centre for Anglophone Africa – Housed at the School of Governance within the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, the CLEAR Centre for Anglophone Africa works to develop and promote the use of evaluation in evidence-based policy making to accelerate equitable development. Drawing on global and regional best practices, the Centre strengthens the supply and demand for evaluation simultaneously and generates knowledge that contributes to a community of scholars and practitioners.

Venture Capital Trust Fund – The Venture Capital Trust Fund mobilizes private and public capital through a series of venture capital financing companies that provide low-cost financing for small and medium-sized businesses across Ghana. A leader in innovative finance in West Africa, the Trust Fund has commissioned research on the potential of impact investing in Ghana and co-founded the GIMPA Centre for Impact Investing. It also runs the West African Angel Investor Network.

GIMPA Centre for Impact Investing – Based at the Business School of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, the GIMPA Centre for Impact Investing provides advocacy, research and support services in the area of impact investing in Ghana and the West African region, with a special interest in impact measurement. The Centre has received support from the Venture Capital Trust Fund, the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, and cooperates with the Global Impact Investing Network.

GreaterCapital – GreaterCapital is a Cape Town-based social enterprise that provides strategic consulting services on social and economic development to international agencies, companies and their corporate social investment divisions, civil society organisations, asset managers, the public sector and social businesses. Focused on pragmatic solutions for sustainable development, GreaterCapital works closely with the GreaterGood South Africa Trust and is affiliated with the African Management Services Company.

Ted JacksonEdward T. Jackson is President of E.T. Jackson and Associates, Senior Research Fellow at Carleton University and Honorary Associate of the Institute of Development Studies. A former Associate Dean of Public Affairs at Carleton University, he has advised Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Global Affairs Canada, the International Development Research Centre, MasterCard Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the World Bank, and has lectured and published extensively on innovative finance and its evaluation. With long experience in Africa, he has earned recognition for his leadership in community development, community-university engagement, development management, governance, graduate teaching and social finance.

Karim HarjiKarim Harji is Director of Research with E.T. Jackson and Associates, and Co-Founder and Director of Purpose Capital. An advisor to the Rockefeller and MasterCard Foundations, he served on the Impact Measurement Working Group of the G8 Social Impact Investment Task Force, and is the co-founder of the new Topical Interest Group of the American Evaluation Association focused on social impact measurement for innovative finance and market solutions. Mr. Harji co-authored the strategic assessment of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Impact Investing Initiative, and the global landscape review, Accelerating Impact. He is a DPhil candidate at Kellogg College, University of Oxford, where his research focuses on the development and use of impact measurement frameworks for impact investing.

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