My Experience Working on Evidence-Informed Policymaking in Kenya

By Susan Musyoka
Member of Kenya Parliament, Chair of Parliamentary Caucus on Evidence-Informed Oversight and Decision-Making

evidence-works-2016-global-convening_482Evidence-based policymaking is at the heart of ensuring accountability of resources and inclusiveness of development policies. As a Member of Parliament (MP), one draws from competing sources of information, including from one’s constituents, and most often, political correctness overrides research evidence. In fact, the lack of use of research evidence in policymaking in the legislative, oversight and budgeting roles of Parliamentarians represents a glaring gap, which is why I chose to address it by becoming an evidence-use champion in Kenya.

I helped form and launch the Parliamentary Caucus on Evidence–Informed Decision-Making (PC-EIDM) with the approval of the Kenya National Assembly Speaker. The main goal of PC-EIDM is to enhance the interest of Parliamentarians in utilizing evidence in making policy decisions. The Caucus, whose membership cuts across both Houses of Parliament (Senate and the National Assembly), is in the process of operationalizing a Five-Year-Strategy developed in December 2015.

In line with this strategy, the Caucus has been holding sensitization workshops on evidence use for MPs and plans to leverage future induction meetings for MPs at the beginning of each Parliament. The Caucus is also advocating for our Parliament’s leadership to address the barriers for evidence use in Parliament by building staff capacity and putting in place infrastructure to support access to research and information. In addition, the Caucus is engaging Parliamentarians and facilitating evidence-informed policy discussions in the public domain by holding open policy “Cafes.”

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We have already made some notable progress. Parliament has begun building capacity of its Research unit by employing additional research analysts to cater to the increased numbers of MPs and their demand for evidence use. We have also improved the research analysts’ skills in research and data use, including in accessing, appraising, synthesizing and packaging data for MPs. Parliament is also in the process of improving the supportive infrastructure for research work, including enhancing internet connectivity to access online journals and databases.

The work of the Caucus as a driving force to increased use of evidence has not been without challenges. Some of the challenges faced by the Caucus include:

i.) Membership – attracting and retaining Members of Parliament in the Caucus, when Members have numerous other demands on their time and attention, has been a challenge and has affected some activities of the Caucus.

ii.) Funds – raising funds to implement some evidence-focused activities is another challenge, because the Caucus is not funded by the Parliamentary Service Commission, but instead relies on donors and partners.

Continue reading “My Experience Working on Evidence-Informed Policymaking in Kenya”

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Evidence Works 2016 – In Pictures

By: Karen Anderson and Jonathan Breckon 

We’re back from London!

Evidence Works 2016: A Global Forum for Government was a great event and we are excited to build on the momentum coming out of the forum in the coming months.

We will have more to report out on the forum shortly, but in the meantime, we wanted to share the great photos captured during the gathering of global leaders committed to using evidence and data to improve lives.

You can also view the full album here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskLqFkcT

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The ‘demand’ side of evidence-based policy making: why and how. Two great days of discussion and sharing in London

By Arnaldo Pellini
Lead – K2P Learning at the Knowledge Sector Initiative and Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute

This blog originally appeared on the Knowledge Sector Initiative webpage.           Views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of Results for All.

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Last week, I attended Evidence Works 2016: A Global Forum For Government. The event was convened by four organisations, all of which, in different ways, work on the demand and use of evidence in policy making: the Alliance 4 Useful Evidence and NESTA in the UK, and two initiatives from the US, Results for America and Results for All.

Interestingly, the conference was held at the Royal Society. This was established by philosophers and physicians in 1663 as ‘The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge’ at a time when kings and queens were thought to have a divine right to make decisions. Today, it is the UK’s national science academy with a fellowship of some 1,600 of the world’s most eminent scientists. Its motto, nullius in verba, means take nobody’s word for it and expresses an appeal to facts determined by experiment against the domination of authority.

The conference hosted 150 participants from about 40 countries. Unlike other conferences I have attended over the last few years, it had a distinct ‘demand and use of evidence’ flavour. The majority of the participants were civil servants and policy makers who, in one way or another, are trying to bring evidence to life in governments and parliaments.

Continue reading “The ‘demand’ side of evidence-based policy making: why and how. Two great days of discussion and sharing in London”