The Speaker of the Parliament of Malawi, the Rt. Hon. Richard Msowoya, MP, will preside over the launching of Guidelines for Evidence Use in Policymaking for the country’s Parliament on 1st of November, 2016. The launch, which is a high-level conference attended by a cross section of stakeholders and members of the public, will be held at Capital Sunbird Hotel in Lilongwe between 8.30 am and 1.00 pm.
The Guidelines for Evidence Use in Policymaking were developed through technical assistance by AFIDEP under a programme known as Strengthening Capacity for Evidence Use in Health Policy (SECURE Health). The programme aims to strengthen the capacity of health policymakers and legislators in accessing, interpreting and using research evidence in decision-making processes and is implemented in the ministries of health and parliaments in Kenya and Malawi. In each country, interventions seek to strengthen individual technical knowledge and skills in finding and using research evidence as well as leadership and institutional structures and systems for enabling increased use of evidence in health policy decision-making.
The need for guidelines in evidence use for policymaking in the Parliament of Malawi was identified by senior officials and staff through interactions with the SECURE Health programme. It was subsequently confirmed by a needs assessment conducted in 2014 on the status of evidence use within Parliament. A similar observation was made in an initial external evaluation of the SECURE Health programme conducted in 2015, which revealed the need for standard guidelines for searching for evidence required for informing decision-making in Parliament. The launch is therefore a milestone event that will mark the culmination of work that has undertaken over a period of more than two years.
During the same event, 11 technical staff members from the Parliament of Malawi, who have been trained in Evidence-Informed Policymaking under the SECURE Health programme, will graduate and be issued with certificates by the Speaker.
The occasion will be graced by other dignitaries among them the Clerk of Parliament, Mrs. Fiona Kalemba, Executive Director of AFIDEP, Dr. Eliya Zulu, the Principal, Malawi College of Medicine, Dr. Mwapatsa Mipando and the Senior Health Advisor, UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Malawi, Mr. Andrew McNee.
Those who will graduate tomorrow constitute the first cohort of trainees to benefit from training in Evidence-Informed Policymaking (EIPM). It is hoped they will help to nurture a culture of evidence use in legislation and help to build the institutional capacity of Parliament to use evidence while discharging its dual mandates of representation and legislation. Two of them are expected to make presentations based on policy briefs that they developed during the training, hence setting the stage for sharing of experiences and transfer of critical skills in EIPM, a key aspiration of the SECURE Health programme.
Other than AFIDEP, which leads the programme, SECURE Health consortium partners are: FHI 360, the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC), the Consortium for National Health Research (CNHR-Kenya), College of Medicine at the University of Malawi, and UK’s Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). It is funded under the Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence (BCURE) programme of DFID.