LONG & SHORT BIO
Zenda Ofir is a South African scientist and international evaluator. With a PhD in Chemistry on chemical communication in nature, during the period of South Africa’s transition to democracy she was appointed to establish and manage a series of major national Science Council (today the NRF) grants programmes. She was widely recognised for her innovative approach to grant-making for the institutional capacity strengthening of ten ‘historically black’ universities in South Africa, as well as for her strong stakeholder-focused and public-private partnership orientation in national research programmes for biotechnology, food production and food security, veterinary sciences development, and rural and urban development. Later, as Director of Research and one of only two women in the (then) 100-year history of the University of Pretoria to be appointed to its senior management, she was responsible for all university research programmes, including grants portfolios, contract research and intellectual property management, as well as international affairs.
A full-time generalist evaluator since 2000, Zenda has visited more than 80 and worked on assignment in more than 40 countries for multilateral, government, international NGO, philanthropic and academic clients. She has a special focus on Africa and Asia, on transformative development in the Global South, on the relationship between humanity and nature, and on how to accelerate and evaluate progress and success towards the urgently needed global transformations the world needs now. She has engaged in policy, strategy, programming and evaluation in more than 50 fields of work, including in areas as diverse as agriculture and food production, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, conservation and environment, networks and coalitions, leadership, organisational development, research for development, child labour, and interreligious and intercultural dialogue. She is also among others co-developer of the Research Quality Plus (RQ+) Approach to assessing research quality, and lead designer of the AWARD AWSEM framework for the empowerment of women scientists.
Zenda has been a leader in the evaluation field in many capacities. She established the first company in South Africa exclusively dedicated to evaluation, and initiated the South African M&E Association (SAMEA). She served as President of the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) as well as Vice-President of the International Organisation for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE) and the International Development Evaluation Association (IDEAS). She is a former Board Member of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) and former Lead Steward in the SDG Transformations Forum, a large international multi-disciplinary network of experts working on different dimensions of transformation. At present she is the interim Chair of the Council of the International Evaluation Academy (IEAc).
Zenda’s expertise in evaluation has been widely recognised. She has served as advisor to a range of multilateral and international organisations, including the CGIAR, GAVI, UNDP, IFAD, AGRA, CLEAR-AA and the Rockefeller Foundation. She served as Special Advisor on Knowledge Management to the Executive of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in Switzerland. She was a visiting professor at the University of Hiroshima, presented for several years the Aid Effectiveness module of the International Cooperation and Development course at the United Nations University (UNU) in Tokyo, and is at present a module lead for the Executive Education Programme in Philanthropy at the University of Geneva. She has been a fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin, and Honorary Professor in the School for Public Leadership in Stellenbosch University in South Africa. She has also served on the editorial boards of three international evaluation journals and is a widely read and quoted blogger on Evaluation for Development.
Zenda is currently based near Geneva in Switzerland.
SHORT BIO FOR PRINT
Zenda Ofir is a South African scientist and evaluation specialist. With a PhD in (Ecological) Chemistry, she was a grants portfolio manager at a South African national science council and Director of Research at Pretoria University before turning to evaluation. She has worked in many different fields from local to global level, with a special interest in Africa and Asia. She has visited 80 countries and worked on assignment in more than 40 of them for multilateral, government, academic, non-government and philanthropic organisations. She continues to advise international and multilateral organisations and initiatives on evaluation policy, strategy and practice. She has a special focus on the interests of the Global South, on the relationship between humanity and nature, and on how evaluation can best support efforts to accelerate progress towards urgently needed systems transformations and just transitions. She is a former President of the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA) and former Vice-President of the International Development Evaluation Association (IDEAS) as well as the International Organisation of Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE). She is a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin and interim Chairperson of the Council of the International Evaluation Academy (IEAc). She has been on the editorial boards of three evaluation journals and is a widely read blogger on evaluation. Zenda is currently based in Geneva, Switzerland.