Judith Kaitesi Katabarwa

Judith Kaitesi Katabarwa

Founder member
Rwanda Monitoring & Evaluation Organization

Judith has over ten years’ experience in Program Management, Monitoring and Evaluation with special attention to Results. Eight (8) years of experience in the field of Capacity Development, Institutional Building, performance management, Financial Management, leadership, Gender Equality and Women Empowerment. She holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Central Lancashire in UK and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) of Makerere University in Uganda. She has worked with Public Sector, Private Sector, the United Nations and Civil Society Organizations as well as with several Development Partners in Rwanda in different capacities at both technical and leadership levels. Judith is very passionate about empowering women and girls and has led and evaluated various programs aimed Accelerating the Economic Empowerment of Women in Rwanda.

Judith is certified in ; Project Management (Prince2) from UK, Performance Management (CPT) from International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) in USA, International Program for Evaluation Training (IPDET) from Carleton University Canada as well as Bullet Proof Leadership training with Crestcom International. She has worked in Uganda, UK and Rwanda which gives her capacity to deal with diversity. Judith has served as a board member on several Boards at a more strategic level, across public, private and Civil Society Organizations. Some of these include; serving as a vice Chairperson BoD at Forum for Africa Women Educationalists (FAWE) Rwanda for 3 years and is Vice President and Founder member for Rwanda Monitoring & Evaluation Society (RMES) among others.

My contributions

  • Disability inclusion in evaluation

    • Dear EvalForward members,

      Thank you indeed for your participation in the just concluded discussion on disability inclusion in evaluation.  A special thanks to members who shared insights, made comments, or provided useful materials for further reading on the topic and to the EvalForward team for a great coordination always.

      From the contributions and discussions, it is evident that the concept of inclusion of people with disability and other marginalized groups in evaluations is important, but still new or rather is given low attention.

      Several limitations to inclusion exist, for example, lack of appropriate communication strategy, lack of inclusive tools and appropriate approaches, and limited awareness creation are some of the barriers to widening the inclusion gap. Evaluators ought to bring everyone on board, it is an opportunity to be heard, People with disability should be entitled to every benefit in support of human diversity in society and in the development process, most importantly inclusion needs to go beyond supporting people with disabilities to involving them in the actual practice of evaluations. Disability comes in so many forms and needs different approaches, including in evaluation, requiring capacity building of project/program teams and M&E staff, to better support inclusion of people with disabilities in evaluations.

      Very Best,


    • Dear Umi,

      Thank you indeed for sharing these useful materials on disability inclusion in M&E, the Capacity Building modules on disability inclusion will definitely contribute to the existing body of knowledge and the gaps that we look to close in this area.

      Encouraging EvalForward colleagues to make reference.

      Looking forward to more contributions to this topic.

      Thank you,


    • Dear EvalForward Members,

      I am pleased to share the summary of discussions on our previous topic: How do we move forward on Evaluation Systems in the Agriculture Sector?


      Please find it attached for your information and reference. Apologies for the delay to share this. 

      Once again thank you all for the very insightful contributions, we hope to build on these thoughts in support our efforts to build a strong National M&E System.


      Very Best,

      Judith K Katabarwa,

      Vice President,

      Rwanda M&E Organization

    • Dear EvalForward Members,


      We have closed our discussion on the topic "how do we move forward on the Evaluation System in the Agriculture sector?"

      I would like to take this opportunity to thank each one of you for the very useful contributions towards the topic, every contribution came with very unique views yet very insightful. 

      We are working on synthesizing all the shared contributions and should be able to share the consolidated insights soon. I have confidence that they will benefit our various country M&E systems specifically in the agriculture sector.


      Best Regards,


    • Dear Renata,

      Thank you indeed for your very useful insights into the ongoing topic of discussion. The study on evaluation capacities of agriculture ministries  is a good reference too.

      Yes Rwanda is doing well in tracking and reporting performance, thus an evaluation system would build on the existing efforts.

      I like the proposed entry points towards the process of developing a functional evaluation system. The Rwanda M&E society will build on this approach in collaboration with other major stakeholders in the sector.

      Best Regards,


    • Dear Olivier,

      Thank you so much for your contribution towards this important topic, the annual performance Contracts and evaluations are an excellent monitoring approach, they assess the achievement of annual targets at district and sector level as well as at institutional level, very good monitoring tool for output level results tracking. However the fact that these are done annually, they are not fit for a detailed midterm or endline evaluation process, which usually tracks outcomes and impact, and informs future projects.

      Imihigo could indeed be part of the National M&E system and would give tremendous inputs but may not replace the much needed national evaluation system.




    • Dear Jean Providence,

      Thank you for your very useful feedback on the topic of Evaluation Systems, I like very much the scenario used of a dashboard, it explains well the different aspects of a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning system. I agree that Monitoring is an important part of the system but it is limited to "vanity indicators" as you call it, yes most countries tend to go for the low hanging fruits, but there is need for a functional Evaluation system as well to complete our National M&E System and be able to learn from the whole process.


      Looking forward to more contributions from Colleagues here.



    • Please find attached the evaluation report of the Rwanda Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth (PSDAG) Project I made reference to in my previous post and which included the specific objective of social inclusion of Persons With Disabilities. 

    • Dear Eval Forward colleagues;

      A very interesting topic indeed, many thanks to Eoghan for bringing it up.

      I would like to add my contribution from Rwanda's experience with a specific project evaluation from agriculture sector in Rwanda, where people with disabilities have been included from project design, to implementation and evaluation.

      In the agriculture sector specifically, social inclusion is a critical aspect and disabilities is a cross cutting issue in all delivery sectors in Rwanda according to the Social Protection Policy, and this means in all projects and programs cycle as well as all development interventions.

      The 5-year Agriculture Transformation Strategy for Rwanda (PSTA 4) recognizes the importance of addressing the needs of all actors in the agriculture sector and enabling farmers and agribusinesses to realize their full potential. The PSTA 4 promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities into the agriculture sector, through measures such as adaptive technology and labour-saving technologies. Furthermore, the PSTA 4 addresses HIV/AIDS through improved food and nutrition security, labour-saving technologies as affected persons may have reduced physical capabilities

      Similarly, the social protection sector (in line with the Social protection policy) is responsible for conducting needs assessment of poor and vulnerable households (Women headed HH, People With Disability, HIV Positive Heads of HH, Child Headed HH…) and working with the Agriculture sector (especially Ministry of Agriculture and Rwanda Agriculture Board, agriculture-focused CSOs and private sector organizations) to ensure social protection and inclusivity of beneficiaries are prioritized within the agriculture sector’s programs and projects.

      A specific example of Project Evaluation in which People with disabilities have been included is;

      The “Rwanda Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth (PSDAG) Project" funded by USAID has been implemented in Rwanda with one of its objectives being a crosscutting objective on Social inclusion of gender, youth (defined as ages 18-35), and People with Disabilities (PWD).

      Under the project Target group; PSDAG supports government agencies involved in investment promotion, PSDAG also strengthens private sector capacity and facilitates expanded investments for existing and new private sector entities (local and international businesses located in Rwanda).

      PSDAG supports private entities which promote inclusive growth which demonstrate potential to benefit smallholder farmers, women’s economic empowerment, women’s leadership, and engaging youth and persons with disabilities (PWDs) and PSDAG has actively been involved in 15 districts in Rwanda.

      The project had a performance evaluation in 2018 and made sure the process was socially inclusive for example an extract from the methodology section says;

       “Between May 22, 2018 and June 4, 2018, the evaluation team conducted a total of 16 FGDs with 106 respondents out of a planned 120, or 88.4 percent. These were comprised of smallholder farmers belonging to activity-supported local farmer cooperatives, including representatives of other groups, including women, youth, and People with Disabilities (PWD). One major factor considered during the evaluation was to ensure a conducive environment for participation of all respondents specifically PWD.

      Under the recommendation section, the evaluation team had this to say on social inclusion among others;

      Social Inclusion: In key informant interviews and focus group discussions, innovations or other approaches suggested by respondents to enhance the meaningful engagement of targeted beneficiary groups included among others:

      ·         Promoting digital technologies, especially to improve engagement of youth; and Promoting access to existing financial services opportunities for all.

      ·         USAID/Rwanda, and other donors should consider promoting pilot projects deploying these inclusive approaches with cooperatives seeking to increase the engagement of women, youth, and People with Disabilities.

      While some progress has been made, the gaps are still many, most projects are considering people with disabilities at design stage, but very limited involvement in decision making and evaluation processes, som PWD have movement limitations to areas where for instance focus group discussions are being conducted, they have limited information on project status due to their limited participation in the projects and hence are left out during evaluations.

      There is a need for more efforts among project managers and evaluators to support full participation of PWD in project evaluations, ensuring that we are leaving no one behind in the process.

      A pleasant weekend,


    • As a follow up to my earlier post, I’d like to share some of the lessons from the evaluation of the Joint Programme on Rural Women Economic Empowerment in implemented by UN Women, FAO, IFAD and WFP.

      In Rwanda, the Programme targeted the most marginalized women in society (e.g. single mothers, HIV+ women, former sex workers) to support their empowerment and participation in agribusiness enterprises.

      Targeting vulnerable and marginalized women requires substantial resources and the need to address the whole Theory of Change for impact-level results. 

       Some of the challenges and limitations that the evaluation found were the following:

       i) Women face more individual barriers to training attendance and knowledge transfer, due to their heavy workload on both productive and domestic tasks. In addition, the low literacy level of the target group curtails their progress into leadership roles and influences male perceptions regarding women capacity to lead. Women engaged felt it difficult to attend trainings and group meetings, as well as find time for making productive decisions regarding harvests, assets, and credit and participate in community leadership. This compromised women empowerment and limited their subsequent integration into other programmes targeting larger groups of beneficiaries.

      ii) In some cases, recruiting marginalized groups into cooperatives resulted in unintended effects at the onset of activities, such as increased experience of social stigma or household disputes as a result of being included in public spaces; such cases call for more attention to culturally-sensitive initiatives and for awareness raising that goes beyond the target group involving the whole community.   

      iii) While the evaluation found evidence that beneficiaries were increasing their agricultural production as a result of their participation in programme activities, there was less evidence to suggest that they were individually diversifying their agricultural products and breaking into agri-business and self-employment as expected. Notably, diversification of production has largely occurred at a small-scale through kitchen gardens, varying the types of nutritious foods consumed within household but not translating into opportunities to start processing activities. This limited development into agribusiness despite training and equipment provided was also partly due to the fact that beneficiaries were not adequately prepared to respond to market demand in terms of quantity and consistency of supply and of certification of products.

      iv) Evidence from the evaluation also indicates that although funding gaps limited programme effectiveness and efficiency in Rwanda, notable progress has been made in increasing women’s production and access to finance, thereby increasing women’s experienced incomes and financial independence. Fewer results related to leadership and policy change, as well as other longer-term outcomes, such as increased and sustainable market access and agro- processing leading to market-responsive business creation and income-generation were realized.


    • Dear Jackie,

      This is a very interesting topic indeed.

      We have been implementing a joint program on women economic empowerment in Rwanda since 2012. The joint program on Accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women (JP-RWEE), is a joint effort between WFP, FAO, IFAD and UN Women, currently operating in 7 countries including Rwanda, this collaboration between the four UN agencies and other partners has generated significant results on the ground, across its four outcomes (Outcome 1. Rural women have improved food and nutrition security. Outcome 2. Rural women have increased income to secure their livelihoods and create wealth. Outcome 3. Rural women have enhanced leadership and participation in their communities and in rural institutions, and in shaping laws, policies and programmes. Outcome 4. A more gender-responsive policy environment is secured for the economic empowerment of rural women.

      The overall objective of the joint program is to economically empower rural women farmers to increase their production potential, access to and control over productive resources and services critical to food security and nutrition, and enables them to have a voice in their households and communities and enable them to gain greater access to high-value markets while strengthening their resilience to climate change.

      The program was recently reviewed, and we saw a number of lessons, good practices, changes in the rural women's livelihoods, through their engagement in entrepreneurship, climate smart agriculture, VSLAs and leadership among others. I will confirm whether this could now be shared so I could extract some of the review findings, including lessons learnt.



    • Dear Dorothy,

      I had an opportunity to evaluate a project for youth empowerment through agriculture in Rwanda, which aimed to offer a comprehensive package of services to enable 1487 young disadvantaged smallholders to become modern agricultural entrepreneurs, enabling them to be self-reliant and make a difference in their communities.

      The project focused on horticulture farming and in particular on high value crops namely tomatoes and water melon which yield much in a short time.

      The evaluation was done in 2017 and found some good practices and challenges that may apply to other initiatives. Here is a summary of key findings, and more information is in the extract of the Evaluation report attached:

      • Grouping of youth: encouraging the grouping of youth, both boys and girls improved cohesion, production and profitability as well as sustainability of the youth famers enterprises. Groups were able to lease bigger lands (which is key in the Rwandan context where land is scarce) , share ideas and innovations, enhance their confidence.
      • Technical support and institutional backing: providing support by agronomists all along the development of the farming activities and engaging the district and sector authorities was found to be a good practice to keep trust and motivation high.
      • Progressive graduation: participants were given 100% support in the 1st season, 50% in the 2nd season and follow up sessions and capacity building with no material support in the 3rd season. This approach created a progressive graduation to participants and avoided keeping them dependent to the project. However, it is necessary to explain this clearly before engaging them in the project input policy. Some youth farmers got discouraged when the project stopped providing the farm input incentives.
      • Family/ Community support: it is important to bring the parents of the youth on board during mobilization because some parents refused their children to join the farming groups and yet others encouraged their children to drop out. The stake of the parents in the lives of their children should not be underestimated.
      • Selection of youth to engage in agriculture projects: the evaluation recommended to select beneficiaries of over 35 years because they have experienced life challenges and would value the importance of being supported and therefore have strong dedication to work. They could even advise their fellow young farmers to see support as a big opportunity from the project. Agriculture farming is a risky business and most youth could be discouraged and drop out whenever they get new ideas or did not earn any income from one season.