What to Read this Month

Advancing Evidence-Informed Policymaking: What’s Culture Got to Do With It? | Abeba Taddese, Results for All
“It takes time and intentional effort to build or change the evidence culture in government. And to truly do so, we will need to scratch beneath the surface to investigate the underlying assumptions that influence whether individuals and organizations actually use evidence in their work.”
We often hear from policymakers and partners about the importance of building or shifting the culture of evidence use, but what does that mean? Our latest blog explores the notion of an evidence culture and how to support it.

 

Ian Goldman is Acting Deputy Director General and Head of Evaluation and Research in South Africa’s Department of Planning, Monitoring and Eva
luation (DPME). His presentation, made at the Africa Evidence Forum in Nairobi last month, shares challenges and lessons for evidence use in the policy process. See his plea to researchers on the last slide!

 

“Because knowledge mobilisation means different things to different people it can also be difficult for new knowledge mobilisers to identify and clarify their role and communicate this effectively. This increases the risk of misunderstandings and misalignment between knowledge mobilisers and those they are working with.”
This article offers a practical framework based on a series of questions that can help knowledge mobilizers better understand their role: Why is knowledge being mobilized? Whose knowledge is being mobilized? What type of knowledge is being mobilized? How is knowledge being mobilized?

 

“Often, innovation starts in the field, and practice gradually influences policy over time. That means it is as important for research uptake to get communities of practice to engage with research.”
Learnings from Secure Livelihood’s Research Consortium’s work in DRC emphasize the need to focus not only on decision-makers in the research uptake equation, but to also consider the role of researchers. The Consortium has learned that to improve research uptake, it is important to strengthen institutional research capabilities as well as individual research skills, and to emphasize the value of research early, for example in higher education curricula, while also building relationships with policymakers.

 

“Rather than making large-scale decisions in the absence of fully conclusive or satisfactory evidence, experimentation can help to “de-risk” the decision-making process at this step of the policy cycle.”
This article encourages governments to consider small-scale experiments as a means to test new approaches and move incrementally toward larger evidence-informed policies and programs. It highlights what the government of Canada is doing in this regard, and also includes a nice description of how experimentation could be incorporated in each step of the policy cycle.

 

“Data and evidence can overcome such myths, but try and use government data – policy makers are more comfortable when you use data they know and trust.”
The Private Secretary to former President Kikwete in Tanzania shares insights on who to target, when to act, and how to communicate the message to improve your policy advocacy.

 

What We’re Working On

 

We’re putting the finishing touches on our network mapping report, in which we assess the demand for a global evidence network, and review 50+ existing networks for peer learning and evidence use in government. We also synthesize 13 lessons on network organization, engagement, and measurement. Thank you to everyone who shared insights and feedback! We look forward to publishing the report in the next few weeks.
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