My Experience Working on Evidence-Informed Policymaking in Kenya — October 24, 2016

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.

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We’re headed to London! — September 6, 2016

We’re headed to London!

evidence-works-2016_logo-266x266Thursday 29th of September 2016 -Friday 30th of September 2016

The Royal Society, London

Evidence Works 2016 is a private forum for senior government officials, to engage in dialogue and exchange about the policies and practices governments around the world are putting in place to promote the use of evidence and data in policymaking, to improve outcomes for citizens and communities.

The two day agenda will consist of plenary discussions and a series of breakout sessions that will allow participants to engage more deeply on specific topics and issues related to the use of evidence and data in policymaking. The gathering will offer a unique opportunity for a diverse group of senior-level government officials and policymakers to network and lay the foundation for an ongoing global dialogue around evidence. Delegates will be attending from over 40 countries, across Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America, Europe, Australasia.

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Why a global forum for government on evidence?

There is growing recognition that in addition to creating technical capacity, a government’s organizational processes and practices play an influential role in promoting the use of evidence and data. The forum is an opportunity for government to share experiences, including challenges, solutions and lessons learnt in establishing strategic approaches for promoting evidence-informed policymaking.

This event is organized in partnership with Nesta and Results for All/Results for America, with support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Please note that attendance at Evidence Works 2016 is by invitation only.  

Reports from the event including videos and blogs will be available on our website in October.