The Pragmatic Evaluation in Physical Activity and Public Health course was held on the African continent for the first time from 5th – 7th June 2016. This was the third iteration of the course globally and it was hosted by the University of Cape Town as an official Satellite event of the annual International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) conference held in Cape Town from 8th-11th June 2016. The course was also endorsed by the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH) and the African Physical Activity Network (AFPAN). The pre-course online content was provided by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity at the University of Sydney.

There were 16 course delegates selected from 11 different countries – South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Finland, Italy, United Kingdom, Portugal, Ireland, Colombia and Sri Lanka. The course successfully brought together academics, practitioners and policy-makers for joint capacity building in practically applied research and rigorous evaluation of physical activity programs. Delegates shared experiences from their home countries and it was an opportunity to learn from various settings and cultures.

The 2.5-day face-to-face component of the course covered the breadth and depth of pragmatic evaluation. Some of the content included ‘evaluation priorities’, ‘the evaluation cycle’, ‘logic models’, ‘qualitative evaluation’, ‘formative evaluation’, ‘process evaluation’, ‘impact/outcome evaluation’ and ‘complex evaluation’. The experiences of the delegates were drawn upon to deliver interactive sessions that featured extensive group work and discussions led by both the teaching faculty and the participants. All course completers were invited to join a growing international network of alumni that now contains 61 members from 29 different countries.

Plans for future iterations of the Pragmatic Evaluation in Physical Activity and Public Health course are in motion in different parts of the world and further details can be obtained by contacting the course coordinators (pragmatic.evaluation@gmail.com).