Zenda blogs on several topics under the theme Evaluation for Development, including

  • Development, SDGs & Transformation
  • Evaluating Science
  • Culture and Evaluation
  • South-South & Triangular Cooperation
  • Evaluation as Profession, and
  • Random Snippets on pertinent issues.

All her posts are available at

Editorial Activities

Editorial Board Member, African Evaluation Journal (AEJ)

Editorial Board Member, Evaluation and Program Planning (EEP)

Co-editor. Special Issue of the Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security on Catalysing and measuring women’s leadership and empowerment in African agricultural research and development. Lead or co-author on two papers. To be published in 2017.

Co-editor. Culture Matters, Special Edition of EES Connections. Published by the European Evaluation Society. August 2016.

Editorial Board Member, The Evaluation Encyclopaedia, Sandra Mathison (Ed). Published by Sage Publications, 480pp (2005).

Invited as peer reviewer for four evaluation journals

Selected Evaluation Reports

Strategic Review of the Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA) Programme. Prepared for the United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan. November 2018

Independent evaluation of the ILO’s Decent Work Country Programme strategies and actions in the Mekong subregion (2012–2017). Prepared for the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Geneva, New York. September 2017

Formative Review of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) Programme. Prepared for the International Science Council (ISC; previously ICSU). November 2016

Evaluators standing in practice often do not have the incentive to publish in the academic literature, and much of their work is confidential. The following selected titles indicate some of the work I have delivered. Only some are in the public domain.

Summative Evaluation of Periperi U Phase III – Partners Enhancing Resilience for People Exposed to Risks. Prepared for the Periperi U Programme Secretariat and partners in 11 African countries, September 2015

An Exploratory Evaluation of the Socioeconomic Impacts of Five Selected NRF Funding Instruments. Summary Report, Part 2, Part 3. Prepared for the National Research Foundation (NRF), Pretoria, South Africa, September 2014

The Impact of AWARD at Institutional Level (with one co-author). Prepared for the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Programme, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, October 2013

Understanding Research Excellence at IDRC (with one co-author). Prepared for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, October 2012

Reflections on Evidence: M&E Results for the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) Programme. Analyses on 30 topics prepared for AWARD, Nairobi, 2012

An Evaluability Assessment of the AGRA Strategy. Prepared for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), March 2011

External Review of the Policy Influence of LIRNEasia (a think-tank in Asia). Prepared for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada, March 2010

External Formative Review of the Internationalisation Strategy of the University. Prepared for the Research Directorate, University of the Free State, South Africa, September 2009

External Review of the IFAD Regional Programme for Strengthening Management for Impact in Eastern and Southern Africa (SMIP). Prepared for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Rome, April 2009

Review of the Initial Impact of the Fourth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4) Report. Prepared for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi, November 2008

Independent Mid-Term Evaluation: Preventing and Eliminating Child Labour in Identified Hazardous Sectors. Prepared for the Government of India, ILO/IPEC and the US Department of Labour, January 2007

Background to the IUCN Knowledge Management Strategy, and IUCN Knowledge Management Strategy. Prepared as complementary documents for the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Gland, Switzerland, October 2005.

Review of IUCN’s Influence on Policy. Prepared for the World Conservation Union (IUCN), December 2004

External Review of IUCN Commissions and Addendum to the Review Report: The Knowledge Products and Services Study. With one co-author. Prepared for the World Conservation Union (IUCN), May 2004

Strategic Evaluation: Research Influence on Policy. Synthesis Report of Case Studies – ICTs for Development in Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda. Prepared for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada, 2003, and captured here

Books and Proceedings

Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Lessons that Challenge Evaluation in the SDG Era. Chapter in: Blending Evaluation Principles with Development Practices to Change People’s Lives, Proceedings from the Fourth International Conference on National Evaluation Capacities 26-30 October 2015, Bangkok, Thailand. Published by UNDP (2016).

Zenda Ofir and AK Shiva Kumar. Evaluation in Developing Countries: What makes it different? Chapter in “Emerging Practices in International Development Evaluation”. Eds. Stewart I Donaldson, Tarek Azzam and Ross F Conner. Information Age Publishing (2013).

Co-editor. Towards Impact and Resilience: Transformative Change in and through Agricultural Education and Training in sub-Saharan Africa, Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2015), 511 pp.

Co-editor. Turning Priorities into Feasible Programs. Proceedings of a Seminar on Planning, Priorities and Policies for Agricultural Biotechnology in East and Southern Africa. Published by The Hague/Pretoria: Intermediary Biotechnology Service/Foundation Research Development (1995), ISBN 90-802544-2-8.

Publications and related contributions

Towards a handbook for monitoring, evaluating and learning for SDG 14 “Life Below Water” (with four co-authors). Background paper commissioned by the International Institute for Environment and Development, London, UK. October 2018

A Collaborative Meta-Results and Learning Framework for REDD+. Internal report for UN-REDD and partners, Geneva, Switzerland. June 2018

Evaluation in and for democracy: Perspectives from South Africa. In: The African Evaluation Journal 6(1), a305. May 2018

Strengthening Evaluation in UNDP: Options for the use of Evaluation Criteria. Internal report prepared for the UN Development Programme (UNDP), New York, USA. December 2017

Evaluating for Development: Reshaping our Evaluation Criteria? In: The Problem with Development Evaluation and what to do about it. In: Evaluation Matters, First Quarter 2017. Published by the African Development Bank (2017).

One of five co-authors of a series of Briefings on Evaluation and the SDGs, aimed at government representatives and commissioned by EvalPartners/EvalSDGs and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Lead author on: Considerations for national evaluation agendas in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (2016).

Evaluation and the Nation State: Where Culture, Context and Development meet. Article in Culture Matters, Special Edition of EES Connections. Published by the European Evaluation Society. September 2016.

Research Quality Plus. A Holistic Approach to Evaluating Research. Published by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada. 2016

The Africa Women in Science Empowerment Model (AWSEM). In:  Empowering African Women Scientists through Career Development Fellowships. Special publication, AWARD, Nairobi (2015).

Towards Research Excellence for Development: The Research Quality Plus (RQ+) Assessment Instrument (with one co-author). Prepared for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, June 2014

Monitoring and Evaluation of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD): An Exemplar of Managing for Impact in Development Evaluation, Brandon et al, American Journal of Evaluation 35: 128-143, March 2014.

Strengthening Evaluation for Development, invited Forum contribution, American Journal of Evaluation 34: 582-586, Dec 2013.

Contemporary Development Challenges for Africa and their Implications for Evaluation, Position Paper, and Evaluation and Development: Expanding Thought Leadership in Africa, Report for the African Thought Leaders Forum held at the Bellagio Centre, Bellagio, Italy, November 2012.

Alternative Approaches to Impact Evaluation. Co-author of this critical paper by NONIE Subgroup 2 that aimed to shift the impact evaluation discourse away from over-emphasis on RCTs and experimental designs, and informed the publication Impact Evaluations and Development: NONIE Guidance on Impact Evaluation (2008) 

Co-author of the Statement of the European Evaluation Society (EES): The Importance of a methodologically diverse approach to impact evaluation, drafted on behalf of the EES Board of Directors (2007)

Available upon request: List of 11 publications in Ecological Chemistry in highly rated scientific journals

Selected research management strategies (South Africa)

An Intellectual Property Policy for the University of Pretoria, 1999.

Towards a Research Policy: Creating a Nurturing Environment for Research, University of Pretoria, 1998

The Design of a Comprehensive Research Information Management System, University of Pretoria, 1997

A Framework for the Post-doctoral Funding Programme of the University of Pretoria, 1997

Developing the Capacity of Young Researchers, University of Pretoria, 1997

Strategic Framework for the Agrarian Research Development Programme between South Africa and The Netherlands, 1996

The Food Production and Food Security Programme Framework and Strategic Plan, Foundation for Research Development (now the National Research Foundation – NRF), 1995

A Framework for Research Capacity Development in the ‘Historically Black’ Universities in South Africa, Foundation for Research Development (now the National Research Foundation – NRF), 1991

The National Biotechnology Programme, Foundation for Research Development (now the National Research Foundation – NRF), 1991