The TTI evaluation covered 43 think tanks in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It identified the best 12 for in-depth evaluation. MISR was one of these.
FINAL REPORT, April 18, 2019
External Evaluation of the Think Tank Initiative (TTI) Phase Two, 2014-2019
Ian Christoplos Adam Pain Jups Kluyskens Pierre Fruhling
Box 2: Grantees selected to constitute the sample cohort for the evaluation
Centre for the Studies of the Economies of Africa (CSEA, Nigeria)
Consortium pour la Recherche Économique et Sociale (CRES, Senegal)
Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI, Ethiopia)
Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA Ghana)
Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR Rwanda)
Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR, Uganda)
Centro de Análisis y Difusión de la Economía Paraguaya (CADEP, Paraguay)
Fundación para el Avance de las Reformas y las Oportunidades (Grupo FARO, Ecuador)
Fundación Salvadoreña para el Desarrollo Económico y Social de El Salvador (FUSADES, El Salvador)
Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA, India) Centre for Policy Research (CPR, India)
Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS, Sri Lanka)
Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC, Pakistan)
Box 4: MISR, Uganda – Developing a vision within a governance vacuum
It might be assumed that strong governance is a precondition for strategic planning and achieving visionary reforms in a think tank. The MISR experience suggests that this is not always true. Both before and after TTI support began, MISR had been operating without a clear and operational governance structure. Despite this, the organization has undergone a fundamental restructuring and has a clear vision for its work.
At the start of TTI Phase One a new director was appointed who ‘inherited’ a strategic plan for 2007- 2017 that was weak and completely unaligned with the needed reforms. Furthermore, MISR’s governance structure as a somewhat autonomous institution within Makerere University had ceased to function. TTI Phase One and the beginning of Phase Two have involved MISR using the ‘space’ provided by TTI core support to take the time and allocate human resources for exploring ways to continue internally-led strategic planning even without a governance structure in place to approve formal plans. Until early 2016 this planning primarily involved building structures and institutional arrangements within MISR focused on critical reflection over pressing research needs and defining responsibilities for guidance and direction in the absence of more formal governance oversight.
TTI support has proven vital for both enhancing the physical facilities at MISR and creating conditions for flexibly exploring new and more appropriate areas of research. The RPO also provided a discussion partner throughout. During 2017 an independent commission reviewed MISR’s work and concluded that MISR had achieved extraordinary results in raising the standard of MISR social science and humanities research. MISR’s innovative approaches were even cited as a lesson for broader university reforms.
This process highlights how TTI’s flexible core support can create conditions for finding alternative paths to forming a strategic vision and decisive management, even without the underpinnings of governance and strategic planning that often are assumed to be essential.
Please refer to the attached report for more details.