What to Read this Month
Creating a Culture of Evidence Use: Lessons from J-PAL’s Government Partnerships in Latin America | J-PAL
“Allocating even a small amount of resources and personnel to apply the lessons from data and impact evaluations in policy design and implementation, and setting up systems that facilitate this institutional learning, is a crucial part of building a culture of data-driven and evidence-informed decision-making.”
The report draws on interviews with officials from 15 partner agencies and presents key insights for organizations and governments, including: the importance of explicitly making it someone’s job to apply evidence in policy design; creating dedicated spaces where evidence use is rewarded; and investing in administrative data collection and inter-agency data sharing.
Uncovering the Practices of Evidence-Informed Policy-Making | Louise Shaxon, Public Management & Money
“Although the analysis is in its early stages, it does suggest that government departments and agencies concerned to implement a holistic approach to evidence-informed policy-making could consider basing their strategies on seven core practices.”
Drawing on examples from the U.S. (Results for America’s Invest in What Works Federal Index) and the UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), the paper identifies a minimum set of practices to help governments take a holistic approach to evidence-informed decision making.
Shifting Our Mindset on Financing Data for the Sustainable Development Goals | Sarah Lucas, the Hewlett Foundation
“Most human beings (except us few data evangelists) are not personally moved by a long list of data gaps. But they can be deeply moved by stories of how data help solve problems they care about.”
On the eve of a global donors meeting on financing for data for the SDGs, the author encourages participants to think like a data user and take a portfolio approach to data investments.
Looking for stories of how data help solve problems? Consider these 5 short, to-the-point examples:
- Public Data Lowers Violence in Cali, Colombia
- Mapping Commuters Streamlines Transit in Nairobi, Kenya
- Using Satellite and Cell Phone Data to Eliminate Malaria in Namibia
- Climate Modeling Helps Colombian Farmers Improve Decision Making
- Better Data Improves Women’s Lives
“But we think that what [the four cases] all had in common was a culture that emphasised, above all, responding to local needs.”
In this blog, the author shares insights from case studies that were commissioned to understand how researchers engaged with decision makers and the impact of these efforts. The author notes that a common emphasis on addressing local needs in all the case studies contributed to successful research partnerships, and shares additional insights for achieving research impact, including the importance of taking an iterative approach, networking, and ensuring the quality of evidence.
What We’re Working On
Read how global development funders are supporting governments to use data and evidence in policy decisions in our latest report. This rapid review summarizes insights from our interviews with 23 bilateral, multilateral, and philanthropic funding organizations to understand how global development funders are investing in evidence-informed decision making in government. It discusses the constraints governments face in promoting the systematic use of evidence, what funders are doing to help address these constraints, and what else is needed to build a broad culture of evidence use in governments of the Global South. Its aim is to inform a conversation among development partners that catalyzes collective action to strengthen evidence use in government. Join the conversation by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome your ideas and comments!