Webinar Series to Share Outcomes and Lessons of the Evidence Leaders in Africa Initiative
28 July 2021
Author: Ann Waithaka
The Evidence Leaders in Africa Initiative which has sought to expand researchers’ leadership in promoting and enabling the use of evidence in policy formulation and implementation by African governments.

Since December 2018, AFIDEP and the African Academy for Sciences (AAS) have been implementing the Evidence Leaders in Africa (ELA) Initiative which has sought to expand researchers’ leadership in promoting and enabling the use of evidence in policy formulation and implementation by African governments. As ELA, which is funded by the Hewlett Foundation, comes to its completion this year, AFIDEP and AAS will be hosting a three-part webinar series to share key highlights and lessons of the initiative.

The virtual webinar series themed, Unlocking Researchers’ Potential to Influence Development Policy, Programmes and Practice’ will take place on various dates in the month of August.

The first webinar, taking place on 5 August 2021 at 4.00 – 5.30pm (East Africa Time) will focus on experiences of researchers in institutionalising Evidence-Informed Decision-Making (EIDM) in government agencies in Africa. The session will feature four African researchers who are beneficiaries of ELA seed grants that were competitively awarded to the scholars having demonstrated innovative approaches to promote the use of evidence in government agencies in their countries.

These include:

  • Eucharia Nwaichi: Developing Guidelines for Evidence Use in the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (Nigeria)
  • Temitope Sogbanmu: Establishment of a Researchers-Policymakers Forum for Evidence Use in Environmental Management Policymaking in Nigeria
  • David Bakibinga: Transmission pathways for EIDM in Uganda
  • Faith Mabiki: Capacity Building and Promotion of EIDM among Researchers and Policymakers for Enhanced Evidence Use in Tanzania

The second webinar will share lessons from ELA’s training and mentorship of researchers in African Universities on research translation and policy engagement. The webinar session will take place on 12 August 2021 at 4.00 – 5.00pm (East Africa Time).

The last webinar, scheduled for 26 August 2021 at 4.00 – 5.00pm (East Africa Time) will provide a platform to share overarching lessons from the ELA initiative’s efforts to empower and inspire African researchers to play a central role in promoting and facilitating evidence use in development efforts in Africa.

Over its running, the ELA Initiative has empowered AAS’ scholars and affiliates to proactively engage governments to use science and innovation, and champion institutionalisation of EIDM in Africa. This has been achieved through key interventions that include:

  • Sensitising scholars on their role in promoting EIDM in government where 30 distinguished scholars from across Africa convened for a workshop to increase their capacity to drive evidence uptake in government decision-making.
  • Training and mentorship sessions to build the capacity of researchers on EIDM that saw 23 early-to-mid-career researchers from East and West Africa participate in a research communication and policy engagement workshop to build their capacity on effective communication and policy engagement strategies.
  • The awarding of seed grants to four AAS fellows with innovative approaches that spearhead the implementation of initiatives aimed at addressing bottlenecks that curtail institutionalisation of EIDM in government.
  • The introduction of an EIDM leadership award to recognise AAS scholars innovating with interventions that enhance EIDM culture in government institutions where three African scholars were awarded.
  • Hosting an EIDM leaning-sharing conference that convened over 400 researchers from East and West Africa to share lessons and experiences from their efforts to promote and support government use of evidence.

According to AFIDEP’s Dr. Rose Oronje, who provided the overall technical leadership for the design and implementation of the ELA project, “the ELA project has not only unlocked researchers’ potential to play a more central role in supporting government decision-making, it has also provided important lessons for future programming on institutionalising evidence-informed decision-making in government agencies.”

Join us for the webinar series by registering here: https://forms.gle/ghKjwC8N2Fpu1bpU6

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