We know that getting evidence into policy is complex, and we therefore take a unique approach. We put the policymaker at the centre of our efforts to promote, stimulate, and enable the use of evidence. We work hand-in-hand with policymakers to understand their work, context and information needs, and then synthesise existing evidence (i.e. research and data) to respond to these needs. We also advocate for the prioritisation of evidence in decision-making processes as well as strengthen institutional and individual capacities of governments, parliaments, and other decision-making agencies in enabling evidence-informed decision-making. We employ the following strategies in our approach.
Conducting and synthesising research in order to inform national policies and programmes with evidence
We analyse existing data, policy and programme environments, undertake in-depth work focused on specific countries, and conduct comparative transnational and regional data analyses to ensure that decision-makers have the evidence they need to formulate and evaluate effective population and development policies and programmes. In particular, we seek to identify opportunities to improve the quality and reach of social services, especially to under-served populations.
Bringing evidence directly to decision-makers in clear, usable formats
AFIDEP goes beyond the conventional research dissemination model to provide direct technical assistance to government teams that design policies and programmes. We have, for example, helped several African governments and development partners develop integrated population and development policies, define roadmaps for achieving their development commitments, and revise their data collection tools to ensure they collect the data they need for decision-making. We also train researchers in effective writing and communication skills so they are better equipped to deliver their findings in accessible and usable formats to decision-makers who need them.
Connecting researchers and end-users at national and regional levels
Due to the fact that we work hand-in-hand with decision-makers while providing technical assistance, we know the kinds of evidence they want and need. This understanding extends beyond our focal countries to the regional level through our involvement in, and partnership with, key regional networks and organisations including the African Union Commission (AUC), Partners in Population and Development-Africa Regional Office (PPD-ARO); regional economic blocks for Eastern, Southern and Central Africa; and the East, Central and Southern African-Health Community (ECSA-HC).
Building capacity for research translation and use across the continent
To augment our impact, we help policymakers, civil society organisations and other end-users of evidence understand the value of data and research evidence, and how to access, evaluate, analyse, interpret, and use it effectively. We achieve this through technical assistance and comprehensive training and mentorship programmes. We also strengthen the capacity and skills of researchers and knowledge intermediaries in undertaking evidence synthesis, policy analyses, scenario building and forecasting, through training workshops, seminars and internships.
Strengthening the African voice in global development discourses
We draw on the analyses we carry out and experiences working with decision-makers in Africa to inform the international development community’s policies and investments in Africa. AFIDEP experts participate in international conferences, high-level development panels and one-on-one meetings with key development partners, to ensure that their priorities for the continent take the perspectives of African professionals into account. This includes participating in global expert panels and organising national and regional conferences on our focus topics to galvanise evidence-based discourses on policy and programme options for addressing Africa’s development challenges.