Upcoming Opportunity

Celebrate evidence-informed decision making in Africa during Africa Evidence Week, happening September 9 – 13. This is an opportunity to host a virtual or in-person event, and with the support of the Africa Evidence Network, draw attention to the work being done to advance evidence use in Africa. Suggested themes include: what does the evidence-informed decision-making ecosystem in Africa look like; what difference does evidence make in Africa; and what works for evidence use in Africa?

 What to Read this Month

“The ideas that will lead to sustained, transformative change in Africa must and will come from Africans in Africa. Central to this is the building of Africa-led, Africa-based institutions capable of producing research that responds to local needs.”
In response to the current funding system of short-term project grants, the authors offer three models that would better facilitate the growth and capacity building of African research institutions: the multi-stakeholder platform, the integrator organization, and the scale model.

“The commitment to leave no one behind starts with the premise that everyone must be counted. Yet more than 110 low- and middle-income countries under-record or fail to record vital events of specific populations.”
In preparation for the 2020 United Nations World Data Forum on Sustainable Development Data in Bern, Switzerland, this document summarizes multi-stakeholder discussions and proposes a robust framework for funding SDG-relevant data, including a possible new multi-donor Data Financing Facility.

“The principle that policy should be informed by evidence is under attack. Politicians, scientists and civil society need to defend this cornerstone of liberal democracy.”
Drawing from research by sixty experts in behavioral and social science and the humanities, this report underscores that humans are not purely rational beings, and argues that new insights into human behavior can help address the political crises currently facing democracies around the world. Findings cover how today’s information environment makes citizens vulnerable to disinformation; how better information about citizens’ emotions can improve policymaking; how metaphors and narratives must be used to improve understanding of evidence; and how science can help redesign the way policymakers collaborate.

“The implication seems to be that information-based, bottom-up accountability interventions become less effective as baseline health conditions, utilisation, and the quality of health service provision improves.”
A randomized experiment using citizen report cards and social contracts between communities and health center staff did not improve healthcare outcomes or the demand for healthcare, adding to the body of evidence that citizen engagement, transparency, and accountability interventions may have limited impact on service delivery outcomes.

What to Watch

“This act of myth busting has been incredibly influential in its own right, so much so that in the countries where we’re working we’re seeing the discourse at government level changing from social protection as a cost to that of an investment, and governments indeed are actually putting in more and more of their own resources to scale up.”
In this webinar, Kerry Albright from the UNICEF Office of Research — Innocenti draws on her experience at UNICEF and DFID to share practical ideas for building an organization’s culture of evidence use, as well as her thoughts on growing youth participation in social change movements.

“Not being counted means you are effectively invisible to government policy. Governments are not going to build a road, or a school, or a hospital for a population that they don’t know is there.”
Watch this inspiring 3-minute video to hear why governments need data to serve their citizens, and see what the government of Ghana is up to.