Dr Abdulkareem Lawal is a trained social scientist and monitoring and evaluation expert with 25 years’ experience in international development and 15 years working in monitoring and evaluation.
Abdulkareem started his career as a research scientist, looking at the relevance of research on agricultural production and rural livelihoods. After this, he was involved in designing, managing, monitoring and evaluating community development programmes in partnership with communities, local government officials and donor agencies, particularly with focus on poverty alleviation and economic empowerment of marginalised groups especially women.
In the last 15 years, Abdulkareem has specialised in the M&E of governance programmes, the political economy of citizen voice and accountability, social and gender analysis including mainstreaming and inclusion, and NGO capacity building and the delivery of basic services. Much of the focus in this period has been on rights-based approaches to development. During this period, Abdulkareem has also built up significant experience in providing high level social policy advice to governments, and civil society institutions on programmes, projects and policies related to social sector service delivery, public sector reform, health systems development, education sector programmes and social research. He has proven facilitation skills in the application and design of participatory approaches to sustainable development, organisational development and strategic planning.
A DFID-accredited Evaluation Specialist, Abdulkareem has extensive experience in the use of statistical analysis packages (SPSS and SAS) and database management systems, strong analytical, logframe, writing and editing skills. Over the last 12 years, he has led the development and review of monitoring and evaluation/impact assessment and shared learning systems. He has had the privilege of working with and leading multidisciplinary programme and M&E design teams in various countries particularly in Africa, and with bilateral and multilateral agencies such as DFID, EU, the World Bank, and the UN system.
|Languages:||English (excellent), Yoruba (mother tongue), French (basic), Arabic (basic)|
Australia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda
University of Ilorin, Nigeria
University of Ilorin, Nigeria
University of Ibadan, Nigeria
University of Ilorin
University of Ilorin, Nigeria
Abdulkareem provides strategic and intellectual direction on governance work, and develops and maintains networks of freelance consultants and associates with skills in Governance. He also manages/directsa portfolio of projects and programmes, including a combination of complex and high profile evaluations and M&E support to governance, agriculture, education and health. Abdulkareem is responsible for the design and delivery of M&E systems for programme implementation and impact assessment - working closely with programme managers, designing bespoke systems for monitoring progress (M&E for management) as well as setting the evaluation framework for longer term impact assessment (M&E for recording impact). He also manages sub-contracted external UK and overseas-based consultants, partner organisations, and consortium members, He works with the Business Development team to produce EOIs and prepare project proposals, including establishing project teams and consortia, and guides the Business Development team on a strategy for business development in the area of Governance and assess business leads identified by the Business Development team. Abdulkareem also promotes knowledge sharing in the broad area of Governance and provides technical inputs to projects, either in the UK or overseas.
Provided technical guidance, formulated and monitored the implementation of UNICEF social protection initiatives in southern Nigeria; Engaged in social policy dialogue with the Governments of 8 southern Nigerian States for programme development, advocating for equitable public resource allocation and budgeting in the social sectors and sustainable provision of social services; Led initiatives with civil society organisations on the analysis of States medium term budget and expenditure frameworks; Played a key role in implementing performance management frameworks as well as training government and civil society partners in implementing such frameworks; Led gender mainstreaming activities into project delivery and capacity building initiatives; Collaborated in the analysis of bottlenecks in the Lagos State health sector and the development of investment case to address the bottlenecks; Led initiatives to develop equity profiles for 8 Southern Nigerian States
Led DFID Nigerias gender and social inclusion/protection work, ensuring that funded programmes on governance, economic growth, health, education and HIV and AIDS, maintain these foci; Led DFID Nigerias engagement with civil society and managing civil society programmes on accountability worth GBP30 million; Managed DFID Nigeria HIV and AIDS programmes worth GBP120 from 2007 to 2009; Provided Technical Assistance to key partners (government and civil society) on Nigerian national and state health, education and HIV/AIDS policy processes; Played a key role in implementing the DFID Nigeria Monitoring & Evaluation/Impact Assessment systems to enhance quality of programmes, including the assessment of social impacts of programme and policy work; Supported and took forward research on human rights/development of a Human Rights Policy Paper; gender policy and practice in DFID, including the finalization and roll out of the DFID global Gender Equality Action Plan through liaison with Whitehall and external partners (in London)
Led the development and reviewing of Monitoring and Evaluation/Impact Assessment and shared learning systems, ensuring that information is disaggregated by gender; Led the process of carrying out annual participatory review and reflection; Led capacity building of staff and programme partners in carrying out programme monitoring & evaluation and impact assessment within the thematic programmes Led the institutional and programme capacity assessment of civil society partners for programme engagements; Supported the thematic teams in the development of funding proposals for programme work, especially in the definition of progress and impact assessment processes
Played a lead role in executing a World Bank-commissioned Social Assessment of the opportunities for Girls Education in Nigeria, and a UNICEF- commissioned Participatory Action Research on the Adolescents Right-To-Know about HIV and AIDS; Led Action Aid engagements with, and provided support on gender mainstreaming and participatory approaches, to the Capacity for Universal Basic Education (CUBE) project, jointly executed by ActionAidNigeria and the British Council; Provided leadership for the development of core human rights and gender indicators for programme Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Assessment
Nigeria PRA Network
Anchored the research and consultancy services of the network; Promoted linkages among civil society organisations and other practitioners as well as development workers and institutions; Supported IFAD funded network members towards training for farmers in northern Nigeria on participatory approaches to increasing agricultural productivity and marketing; Facilitated technical backstopping on gender analysis; Facilitated national and international exchange of information, experiences and learning in participatory approaches and advocacy for practitioners; Identified/acquired information materials on participatory approaches
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
Coding and editing of socio-economic survey instruments of the collaborative study of cassava in Africa (COSCA) and led the data validation processes and the supervision of data transcription; Collaborated in the conduct of field surveys and data analysis, highlighting the social and economic circumstances of households, that affects cassava production; Took a lead on participatory action research to ensure relevance of research on cassava; Highlighting post-harvest and processing issues for cassava and the implications for women in particular; Anchored the liaison with COSCA collaborators in all participating countries with respect to research activities; Prepared reports of activities in 14 African countries; Organized meetings, workshops, conferences and training
(UNFPA) - Itad Project Director/M&E Manager
This is an independent formative evaluation with the overall purpose of a) assessing the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) support to the prevention, response to and elimination of gender-based violence (GBV) and harmful practices, including in humanitarian settings, b) assessing the extent to which UNFPA has effectively positioned itself as a key player among national partners, within the United Nations (UN) system and the broader development community in this area of work, and c) identifying lessons learned, capture good practices and generate knowledge from past and current cooperation, to inform the implementation of the next Strategic Plan (2018-2021).
The evaluation will take place in the UN HQ in New York, 2 regional Offices (Istanbul and Bangkok) and four countries: India, Guatemala, Central African Republic and Uganda. Abdulkareem is leading project delivery, and support on refinement of evaluation methodology and theory of change including value for money. He will provide strategic support to stakeholder engagement and informing audiences on evaluation findings.
(Cardno/DFAT) - Itad Project Director/M&E Manager
Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) is an AUD $320 million, 10-year programme (2012–2022) focused on enabling women and men across the 14 Pacific Island Forum countries to improve the political, social and economic opportunities for women.
The purpose of the Year 3 formative evaluation is to undertake an independent assessment of whether Pacific Women has achieved its first interim objective and to establish the extent to which the programme is tracking toward achieving its intended outcomes (women in leadership and decision-making, women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women, and enhancing women’s agency). The evaluation will examine the degree to which the Pacific Women programme model has contributed to increased capacity and resources, strengthened relationships, and supported action in its key result areas.
The evaluation is taking place in DFAT HQ in Canberra, in the Fiji-based Support Unit and across four sample countries – Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, and Samoa. Abdulkareem is providing oversight for project delivery and leading the value for money assessments, including economic empowerment evaluation activities and undertook assessments in Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
(European Commission) - Senior M&E Expert
The aim of ZANSASP is to empower civil society and other non-state actors to become more visible in the governance of Zanzibar.
Abdulkareem is leading the development of a robust monitoring and evaluation system for optimising project results. He provides oversight for the systematic generation and analysis of on-going performance management data so that the project is able to adapt implementation approaches to improve efficiency and effectiveness, including value for money and deeper learning about what works.
(DFID) - M&E Adviser
The ATJP aims to ensure that the individual and collective justice and dispute resolution needs of poor and vulnerable South Sudanese citizens, particularly women and girls are met.
Abdulkareem led the development of monitoring and evaluation systems for collecting data against project results and coordinating the process for updating logframe and M&E work plans. He also contributed to the planning of new activities to ensure they support the desired results stipulated in the logframe, and support the preparation of project level reports such as Annual Reviews and other relevant reports
(DFID, Nigeria) - Itad Project Director/Results Adviser
The impact of this programme is: increased progress towards the achievement of the MDGs in Nigeria. The outcome is: policy makers and service providers in 3 Northern Nigeria states more accountable and responsive to citizens.
Abdulkareem is providing oversight and support at Output to Outcome level, to demonstrate impacts and results of interventions and evidence thereof. He is also supporting senior management in ensuring a well-functioning results management (RM) system, safeguarding quality and building capacity for such; including quality-assuring all M&E deliverables/reports across the programme. Abdulkareem additionally provides general support to the M&E/KM team by reviewing and reporting back on intervention guides, research design, analysis of findings, and advising on how RM can be embedded more effectively in the wider team.
(DFID, Nigeria) - M&E Task Stream Leader
The purpose of SPARC is to enhance the capability, accountability and responsiveness of governments in selected States.
Abdulkareem led initiatives in Lagos, Enugu and Anambra States of Nigeria that will ensure increased availability of data analysis and information for M&E, policy formulation and strategic planning. Abdulkareem is also working with priority sectors (Agriculture, Education and Health) across the 3 states in evolving robust M&E frameworks and systems, including with the Statistical Bureaus to generate performance data. Abdulkareem also leads initiatives aimed at enhancing the capacities of Government institutions on performance management processes for impact and effectiveness of policies and strategies.
(DFID, Nigeria) - Results M&E Specialist
SAVI is providing support to civil society organisations and media programmes intended to raise accountability over rights and service delivery, and support to State Houses of Assembly.
Abdulkareem provided oversight and support on Output to Purpose level survey data collection, analysis and reporting (Governance Baseline / Citizens Perception Survey and Open Budget Index) as well as M&E of Value for Money at Output to Purpose Level. Abdulkareem will ensure a convincing link from the practical results being reported between improved inclusiveness transparency and democracy of Government (Political will) improved accountability, responsiveness and capability of Government (Technical Reform) in the context of Nigeria and SAVI - SPARC relations.
(MacArthur Foundation) - Project Coordinator
MacArthur is providing grants to civil society organisations working on oil governance and related infrastructure development, beginning first with grants in Uganda in 2012 and in Kenya in 2013. Main aim is to help impact policies and practices before production begins and as infrastructure is developed given a relatively new discovery in the Great Lakes, particularly in Kenya. In addition, there is a constituency of local civil society organizations mobilizing on issues related to the oil sector that are ripe to support in order to develop their technical capacity and/or build out their research and advocacy efforts.
Abdulkareem provided oversight for project delivery on research and analysis on two related lines of inquiry. First, catalogue and analyze efforts in Uganda and Kenya to establish baseline indicators about the impact of the emerging oil sector and related infrastructure development on the environment and the socio-economic livelihoods of affected people and communities. Second, recommend indicators and corresponding methods for monitoring the impact of the Foundation’s investments that aim to advance responsible, inclusive, and sustainable management of the oil sector in both countries.
(MacArthur Foundation) - Project Coordinator
MacArthur Foundation’s human rights work seeks to both reduce mass atrocities and improve redress for victims of gross human rights abuses through strengthening justice institutions, and by assisting victims in accessing those institutions.
Abdulkareem provided oversight for project delivery and led the human rights evaluation activities. He also led additional support to MacArthur grantees to develop their theory of change in relation to evaluation activities.
(Government of Japan, UNICEF, Nigeria) - Social Policy Specialist
This Government of Japan funding to UNICEF Nigeria seeks to ensure that children in crises communities returned to school. In the last decade, Nigeria has witnessed internal crises ranging from ethno-religious clashes in the north to youth restiveness in the Niger Delta Region, including communal clashes. This has often resulted in childrens inability to attend school as quite often the school buildings are destroyed or used as the operational base for militants or government forces as the case of Niger Delta.
Abdulkareem provided advice on the design and takeoff, as well as monitoring and evaluation of the school feeding and scholarship scheme for children in Delta State of Nigeria. Abdulkareem also took part in the situational assessments of orphans and vulnerable children in relation to the project.
(DFID, Nigeria) - Lead Adviser
ENR is a £100 million, six-year programme, aimed at scaling up prevention programmes in the public and private sectors, by strengthening systems to plan, coordinate and monitor the response as well as deliver effective services, and by supporting civil society?s role in reaching marginalised populations and vulnerable groups.
Abdulkareem led the inception review of the programme which focused on an assessment of progress during the inception phase and validated the proposed future direction of the ENR programme. The review also assessed family planning product issues in Nigeria broadly and situated ENR support to family planning security in Nigeria. Scope of work during the review included a review of: ENR programme logical framework (in new DFID format) and ENR work plans, including at the state level; progress made during the inception phase, including the proposed approach, strategic direction, baselines, milestones and targets for ENR; the proposed approach to knowledge management and supporting wider replication; the effectiveness of the transition between SNR and ENR and in the absorption of key SNR activities into ENR.
(DFID, Nigeria) - Social Development Adviser
The aim of GEP is to improve girls access, attendance, retention and relevant learning outcomes at primary and junior secondary level (UBE); while ESSPIN aims to improve the planning, financing and delivery of sustainable and replicable basic education services in terms of access, equity and quality at Federal level and in up to six States in Nigeria
Abdulkareem was the lead social protection specialist (from DFID) and led the design of the social assistance and scholarship schemes for children and women respectively, which were provided as part of the programmes. Abdulkareem convened a social protection working group across DFID Nigeria projects.
(DFID, Nigeria) - Lead Adviser
The Coalitions for Change Programme (C4C) supports coalitions of interest across civil society, government, the private sector and media to work on issues of institutional change in relation to Federal governance. C4C developed an approach to working with alliances/coalitions comprised of groups from civil society, the private sector, the media and government. Coalitions include: water management in Northern Nigeria, constitutional reform, affirmative action for women seeking office, advocacy on climate change, affirming the rights of persons living with disabilities, enhancing reforms in the extractive industry, monitoring the virtual poverty fund and improving accountability in selected ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
Abdulkareem provided management oversight from DFID to the C4C service provider and managed the synthesis of lesson learning and communication within DFID. Abdulkareem initiated and led the 2009 and 2010 annual reviews of the programme and managed the major revisions of the project's logical framework in 2009. Abdulkareem initiated and led the consultations between DFID, C4C and SAVI on issues-based approach programming and how it linked into the programmes.
(DFID, Nigeria) - Lead Adviser
SNR, a £25 million five-year (2005-2009) project focused on reduction in the transmission of HIV and, mitigation of the impact of AIDS on the lives & livelihoods of poor people in Nigeria by contributing to the achievement of an effectively coordinated, adequately resourced, evidence and rights-based multi-sectoral HIV/AIDS response at the state level through SACA capacity development. SNR was implemented in 6 States.
Abdulkareem provided management oversight from DFID and managed the project annual review in 2008, and the project completion review (PCR) in 2009. The PCR synthesised lessons from project inception and mapped activities for phase over to the successor programme, Enhancing Nigeria?s Response (ENR).
(DFID, Nigeria) - Social Development Adviser
HERFON is a non profit, non government organization developed by a group of reform minded Nigerians who have come together in response to the deplorable health system and health status of Nigeria. The foundation aims to support and help to sustain Health Reform Agenda in the country. It strives to support the government to achieve its health sector reform objectives. HERFON?s main areas of focus are: health systems, immunization, and HIV/AIDS. The origin of the Foundation was the Change Agent Programme (CAP) which was funded by DFID in 2001. HERFON received a grant of ?3.5 million DFID to pursue its objectives in the areas of Change Agents development, Technical Assistant to Change Agents and Stakeholders to enable them improve Health Systems, Develop and Propagate Reform Agenda, Support research on Health Sector Reform (particularly strengthening Routine Immunization), Advocacy and support for Health Sector Reform and the establishment of an independent Resource Centre.
Abdulkareem provided management oversight from DFID and ensuring lesson learning from the change agents? approach. Abdulkareem led annual review in 2008 and the logical framework revisions to make the programme eligible for further DFID support.
(DFID, UK) - Policy Analyst
The review looked at a selection of DFID country offices? work on human rights, to attempt to glean lessons about how far, and with what success, they use the international human rights framework (IHRF) in their work. DFID work in Bangladesh, Malawi, Pakistan and Peru, were used as case studies including a number of other programmes with an explicit rights focus.
Abdulkareem was part of the team that commissioned this study which was undertaken by ODI; and provided oversight and coordination between DFID and ODI and searched DFID documentation.
(Oxfam Novib, ActionAid, Nigeria) - M&E Team Leader
EGBENN was one of the donor responses to the major barriers to girls education in northern Nigeria and categorised into broad areas of policies and practices as well as school environment. With a dearth of policies that specifically address gender issues at both the state and national levels and education policy in use in the country not addressing gender specific problems, girls were seriously disadvantaged in access to basic education especially in northern Nigeria. In addition to the absence of sound policies, cultural practices also contribute to gender inequality in education. Funded by Oxfam Novib and executed in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States of Nigeria, EGBENN objectives were to: encourage local institutional development processes in promoting girls increased access to basic education; promote gender sensitive and interactive child friendly environment in schools; strengthen the capacity of civil society to deepen the use of the right based approach as a means for getting the government to actualize its commitment to gender equality in education; consolidate and sustain initiatives on participatory budgeting to ensure increased budgetary provisions to the education sector
Abdulkareem contributed to the proposal development - leading the logframe development process and led the baseline surveys at the start of the project in 2005. The baseline surveys led to the development of benchmarks and targets, including a review of the logframe for implementation, and the development of a comprehensive M&E framework for the project. Abdulkareem also led the institutional capacity assessments of civil society implementing partners under the project, and led the implementation of strategic planning and M&E training for the partners.
(Action Aid, Nigeria) - Lead M&E Consultant
Action Aid vision is a world without poverty in which every person can exercise their right to a life of dignity. Action Aid works with communities to strengthen their own efforts to end poverty by helping people to form organisations, to mobilise movements, and to make their voices heard. Its work supports people to claim the right to: education, food, just, democratic systems of government, safety in conflicts and emergencies, life and dignity in the face of HIV and AIDS. The Partnerships Against Poverty (PAP) is the long term local rights programme working directly with the constituencies of the poor and excluded communities.
Abdulkareem led the design and implmentation of the baselines for PAPs in 8 Nigerian States and helped to evolve a comprehensive M&E system for ActionAid Nigeria which linked to the global framework.
(World Bank, ActionAid, Nigeria) - Lead National Consultant
The social assessment of the opportunities for girls education in Nigeria was commissioned by the World Bank in 3 northern Nigerian States. The study looked at the barriers to girls? education at three interrelated levels ? household, school as well as state institutional arrangements.
Working with an international consultant, Abdulkareem led a team of national consultants to design and execute the study in Bauchi, Katsina and Niger States
(UNICEF, ActionAid, Nigeria) - Lead Consultant/Researcher
The Adolescents Right to Know (RTK) project was commissioned by UNICEF to look at the information needs of adolescents in respect of HIV and AIDS. Using an action research framework, the study trained and deployed young people to interact with their peers, in- and out-of-school. The result of the research was used to design life and livelihood skills for adolescents.
Abdulkareem led a team of researchers to design the tools and delivered training on action research to young people, who then worked with their peers to gather and synthesize information across different youth segments in-school and out-of-school
(World Bank/DFID, ActionAid, Nigeria) - Consultant
The capacity for universal basic education (CUBE) project was funded by DFID to complement the World Bank State Education Support Projects (SESP) in Nigeria. CUBE provided technical assistance to State governments to enhance the capacity to deliver education sector programmes.
Abdulkareem was a member of the Technical Assistance Management Committee (TAMC) which provided overall coordination for the project. Specifically, Abdulkareem also provided support on gender mainstreaming and participatory approaches, as well as setting up systems for monitoring whole school development.
(Action Aid, Nigeria) - M&E Consultant/Trainer
The regenerated Frierien literacy through empowerment of community technique (Reflect) and Stepping Stones and Reflect (STAR) are participatory approaches that enusre stakeholder engagement on rights to education and health including HIV/AIDS
Design and implementation of baselines and teasing out indices for a comprehensive system for the projects. Training of Trainers for community facilitators and monitoring of Reflect and STAR implementing committees circles in communities.
(UNICEF, Nigeria) - Consultant
The situational analysis of women and children is an annual synthesis of issues affecting women and children in communities, and feed into the UNICEF global anlysis of same issues
Abdulkareem was part of a team of consultants that carried out a situational analysis of women and children in Niger State of Nigeria, focussing on health, education, water and environmental sanitation Training of Community facilitators on Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation including the design of a manual on the subject matter.
(Rockefeller Foundation, IITA, Nigeria) - Research Associate
The collaborative study of cassava in Africa (COSCA) project was funded by the Rockefeller foundation and executed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. Using household and field surveys, COSCA sought to improve the relevance of research on cassava by collecting authoritative information on the socio-economic circumstances of cassava farmers.
Coding and editing of socio-economic survey instruments including leading the data validation processes and the supervision of data transcription; collaborated in the conduct of field surveys and data analysis, highlighting the social and economic circumstances of households that affect cassava production, including leading on participatory action research; anchored the liaison with COSCA collaborators in all participating countries with respect to research activities; organized meetings, workshops, conferences and training.
Membership of professional associations:
- UK Evaluation Society
- Nigeria Evaluation Association
- African Evaluation Association
- Resource Centres for Participatory Learning and Action
- Primary concern: why women are not part of decision-making and local governance (2012)
ActionAid, Abuja, London
- Womens benefits from agricultural technologies: evidence from poultry production among Nigerian fisherfolks (2011)
Development in Practice, London, 21: 3, 371 - 378.
Lawal, A. O.
- Impact of improved chicken production on intra-household decision-making among fisherfolks in the Kainji Lake Basin, Nigeria (2008)
Livestock Research for Rural Development, Columbia, France, England Vol. 20 (8), Article 129
Lawal A O and Adekunle O A
- Understanding the needs and rights of adolescents in relation to HIV and AIDS: A participatory Action Research process (2008)
Action Aid Nigeria, Abuja
Udonsi C, C. and O. Lawal
- Determinants of adoption of improved chickens in fishing communities on Kainji Lake Shorelines of Nigeria: A Logit analysis ( (2007)
Livestock Research for Rural Development, Columbia, France, England Volume 19 (8). Article 106
Lawal A O, Adekunle O, Ayorinde K L and Ibiwoye T I
- Relevance of Monitoring and Evaluating Partnerships (2004)
Action Aid Nigeria Newsletter, Abuja, Vol. 2: July ? December 2003
- Reducing rural poverty in Nigeria: a collective challenge (NIPRANET Newsletter , Kaduna Nigeria Vol. 4: 4 ? 5. )
Nigeria Participatory Rural Appraisal Network
- Population pressure, land tenure systems and cassava production growth in sub-Saharan Africa (1999)
Journal of Technology and Education in Nigeria, Nigeria Vol. 4, Nos. 1 & 2: 1 ? 10.
Ezedinma C. I. and A. O. Lawal
- Participatory learning for functional literacy (1998)
Journal of Curriculum and Instruction , University of Ilorin Vol. 5: 71 ? 75.
A. O. Lawal