Charting Africa’s Research Paths for Engagement and Action

July 24, 2015

At the Evidence Summit held on July 8-10 in APHRC Campus, the take-home messages from participants was the need to have: evidence and skills laid out through a policy framework, strong leadership and institutions, as well as partnerships and funding. In addition, research needs to be harmonized, implemented through sustainable means and aligned with government priorities, to be realized.

The three-day summit was organized by the East African Social Sciences Translation (EASST), the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), the World Bank, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J_PAL) and APHCR, to commemorate 20 years of randomized experiments in the country.

On the first day of the summit, Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi opened the discussions to a full house of participants who thereafter discussed health issues, education and vocational training, savings, inequality and economic growth, and how to strengthen the EASST partnership. The presentations made during these discussions include Health Impacts of Community-Based Conditional Cash Transfers in Tanzania by Dave Evans of the World Bank; Pre-Primary Pupils Readiness to Join Primary School: An Impact Evaluation of the Tayari Pre-School Programme in Kenya by Moses Ngware of APHRC; and Mobile Money and Household Savings in Uganda by EASST fellow Annet Adong of the Economic Policy Research Center.

aphrc.orgThe second day of the conference was dubbed a ‘Dissemination Event’, where organisations such as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa shared case studies on how to translate research into policy within the continent by embedding policy-makers in interventions based on the needs. Also, to bridge the gap between policy and research include policy-makers in the process by responding to policy queries. This day also served as an opportunity for media engagement to ensure that research is accessible and usable to the public, via the media.

Award winning journalists such as Violet Otindo, and agencies such as Internews, shared their needs on information collection, as well as advised on how best to do this. Participants had opportunities to ask questions regarding content, feedback, publishing and outreach of media, which showed their interest in translating research to action.

The final day of the summit was dedicated to policy outreach and thus included various government officials from Kenya’s Vision 2030, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

It summed up the conference by bringing to mind that evidence is not enough, and indeed partnerships are required in the journey to sustainable development. These include partnerships at grassroots level, private, public and policy-makers during the change and development process.