Evidence informed decision making is not disputed as good practice, but a lot needs to be done to address the barriers that hinder broad institutionalisation of evidence informed decision making approaches as the norm in the public sector.

While evidence is but one ingredient of many utilized in the policy life cycle, it is a very critical one. Unfortunately, it is rarely possible to tell what specific evidence has been used to inform/develop/review policy interventions in the public sector. In addition, little is done within the public service to identify good use of evidence, reward this kind of behaviour and amplify it. This makes it difficult for stakeholders to understand why specific policies are designed the way they are, how best they can be improved and what complementary evidence exists to inform review or scaling.

About the Practice

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development came a new focus on identifying and utilizing new forms of data from new sources to support efforts to track progress and implement policies. This “data revolution” that the authors of the High-Level Report of Eminent Persons on the Post 2015 Agenda called for requires countries to explore new sources of data and leverage them, an opportunity that can be leveraged for the benefit of Africa’s development agenda. However, the use of new sources of data and evidence needs to be concurrent with the use of existing sources, some of which are at risk due to financing and lack of adequate, human capital. These three capture the areas which keep the benefits of the data revolution out of reach and put at risk existing sources of data and evidence for decision making.

Our broad goals in this practice are therefore to:

  1. Contribute to the emergence and strengthening of an enabling environment with sustainable resourcing to support a culture of evidence use and sharing within government
  2. Support the development of mechanisms that bring various kinds of relevant data and evidence from state and non-state actors to the policymakers in government and the general public.

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