Governance and Accountability

Participants at a workshop that brought together policymakers, researchers, civil society members, funders, and other partners in July 2018 to discuss how evidence can be used to improve policy implementation. The keen interest in using evidence to improve policy implementation among government teams who attended this workshop shows that forums like these could be useful in unearthing and contributing to a shift towards a culture of evidence use. Photo: Evans Chumo/AFIDEP.
AFIDEP's Director - Public Policy and Communications, Dr. Rose Oronje speaking at a meeting marking the revival of the the Parliamentary Caucus on Evidence-Informed Oversight and Decision-Making in July 2018. The overarching goal of the Caucus is to inculcate and facilitate a culture of evidence use in the performance of the functions of Parliament of oversight, legislation and representation.
A section of the scholars from across Africa in action during a May 2019 workshop that sought to increase their capacity to drive evidence uptake in government decision-making, through knowledge sharing on the pathways to nurturing a culture of evidence-informed decision making (EIDM) in government. The workshop was convened by AFIDEP and the African Academy of Sciences (AAS)

Good governance and accountability are critical ingredients that underpin effective development efforts at all levels including national, sub-national and community-levels. Indeed, governance and accountability are linked to the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). AFIDEP’s work seeks to strengthen national and sub-national level governance structures in efforts to contribute to more effective development efforts.

Our past and ongoing work has focused on strengthening capacity for evidence-informed decision-making as a mechanism for enhancing better governance and accountability in service delivery and use of public resources. This work has been implemented with government ministries and parliaments in different African countries. The focus of this work has also been on stimulating reforms needed to strengthen important governance structures such as parliaments in order for them to effectively perform their mandates. This work also looks at the intersection of governance with gender equality.

Past and ongoing work has paid specific attention to:

  • Optimising the effectiveness of African parliaments in enhancing democratic governance and accountability, through their legislative, governance, and representation roles.
  • Improving the capacity and functionality of sub-national and national governments for better decision-making.
  • Enhancing the role of non-state actors (media, NGOs, CSOs, the private sector and FBOs) in ensuring good governance and accountability.
  • Working with stakeholders, including those who help to ensure that governments and decision-makers are accountable to their citizens.
  • Women in decision-making positions, women in political spheres, and accountability to regional and national commitments to gender equality.

Outputs

  • 436 policymakers across Africa trained on evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM)
  • 217 researchers and programme implementers across Africa trained
  • Parliaments of Kenya and Malawi developed and adopted Guidelines for Evidence-Informed Policy-Making and Oversight
  • Malawi Parliamentary Committees adopted the practice of developing annual work plans; committees also adopted a monitoring and evaluation framework to track their performance
  • Technical assistance and briefings provided to the Legal Affairs Committee, Public Accounts Committee, Budget Committee, and Government Assurance Committee
  • Training and sensitization for MPs belonging to specific committees in budget analysis and tracking, and bill analysis
  • More than 30 parliament staff trained in budget analysis and tracking, bill analysis, legislative research, and writing policy briefs
  • Placement of three fellows in parliament’s Research and Budget sections to strengthen technical capacity.
  • Parliament of Malawi developed and adopted Guidelines for Bill Drafting and Bill Analysis
  • 28 journalists in Malawi trained in effective parliamentary reporting

Outcomes

  • Increased budgetary allocation to family planning and reproductive health in various African countries through our work with 25 African Parliaments through the Network of African Parliamentary Committees on Health (NEAPACOH).
  • Stimulated ownership and leadership of the Malawi parliament in driving the political and legislative reforms needed to improve its performance. This has been demonstrated by the parliament’s adoption of a report in December 2018 that proposed wide-ranging reforms to give it financial, administrative and legislative autonomy needed for the parliament to more effectively deliver its mandates of oversight, budget allocation and tracking, law-making, and representation. It has also been demonstrated by the new parliament’s (following May 2019 elections) leadership (Parliamentary Service Commission) taking on the leadership of steering the proposed reform bills through the parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee.
  • The formation of a Parliamentary caucus for evidence use in Kenya, and parliamentary caucuses for population and development in Kenya and Malawi.
  • The first winner of the Africa Evidence Leadership Award (was) the Head of Research in the Malawi Parliament, Ms. Velia Manyonga, a beneficiary of AFIDEP’s sustained efforts on EIDM capacity strengthening in Malawi Parliament since 2013. Ms. Manyonga has explicitly noted that she is able to champion evidence in Parliament because of the work of AFIDEP (video).
  • Leadership of Kenya parliament confirmed improved quality of technical briefs that staff provide to committees in parliament following the EIDM training and mentorship conducted by AFIDEP.
  • Strengthened parliamentary committee system in Malawi following the adoption of the use of annual work plans, and M&E framework to track committee performance.
  • Mainstreaming of parliamentary committees in Malawi which resulted in one committee being abolished by the new parliament following the May 2019 election based on technical advice provided by AFIDEP.
  • Improved quality of media coverage of parliamentary affairs (videos, blog).
  • Introduction of a weekly one-hour radio programme in Malawi (by Timveni radio) on parliament to increase the public’s understanding of the mandate of parliament, and provide a platform for the public to engage parliament. This introduction was a result of the Timveni journalists being involved in AFIDEP-led training workshops on parliamentary reporting.

Current Projects

June 2017 to Present

The project seeks to inspire supportive political behaviour and reforms, and strengthen capacity that enables performance improvement and effective delivery of the Malawi Parliament’s functions.

May 2018 to Present

The goal of this project is to improve the capacity and performance of the Malawi Parliament in carrying out its oversight, legislative, and representation functions.

December 2018 to Present

The Evidence Leaders in Africa (ELA) project aims to expand leadership for the use of evidence in policy formulation and implementation by African governments.

Past Projects

January 2015 to March 2018

This project aimed to improve the uptake of research and related evidence in decision-making processes in government ministries and parliaments in Africa.

March 2020 to July 2020

Malawi Priorities is a project designed to help Malawi determine policy priorities so as to do more with each Kwacha that the country spends.

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