Professor Zenda Ofir is a South Africa scientist and independent international evaluator.
With a PhD in Ecological Chemistry, she served first as senior program manager at a national science council (now the National Research Foundation, NRF), where she was responsible for six grant funding programmes aimed at strengthening research in 21 South African universities. Her portfolios included biotechnology, food production and food security, veterinary science, rural and urban development, as well as institutional capacity strengthening in what was then South Africa’s ten ‘historically black universities’. She later joined the University of Pretoria as Director Research responsible for all grant funded and contract research, industry-university collaboration, intellectual property management and international relations.
In 2000, Zenda left the university to specialise in the evaluation of both development and research. She also has extensive experience in knowledge management. She is a generalist evaluator who works across many fields, from local to global level. She has visited more than 70 and conducted assignments in nearly 40 countries – primarily in Africa and Asia – for more than 40 bi- and multilateral organisations, government units, international NGOs, universities, science councils and philanthropic foundations. She has also advised international organisations such as UNDP, GAVI, CGIAR, AGRA, IFAD, CDI-IDS, CLEAR-AA and the Rockefeller Foundation’s evaluation office on evaluation policy or strategy.
Zenda is a former President of the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA), former Vice-President of the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE), former Board Member of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) and the founder of the South African Evaluation Network, the precursor of the South African M&E Association (SAMEA), of which she was also a founding member. She served on the first Steering Committee of the Network of Networks on Impact Evaluation (NONIE) and is one of the AfrEA representatives in EvalSDGs/EvalPartners, a global initiative aimed at promoting evaluation in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Zenda serves on the editorial advisory boards of Evaluation and Program Planning (EPP) and the African Evaluation Journal (AEJ). She delivered from 2009 to 2011 the Aid Effectiveness module at the United Nations University in Tokyo. She has been visiting professor at the University of Hiroshima, and fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS). In 2014 she was appointed as Honorary Professor at the School for Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University, a position that links individuals to the university by recognising them for eminence in their profession.
She is currently based near Geneva in Switzerland.