By Natalie Tannous
Evidence weeks were conceptualised by the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) to draw the focus of the global evidence-informed decision-making community to a specific issue or talking point about the production and use of evidence. And others have followed suit – On Think Tanks promoted a Latin American Evidence Week, Evidence Aid supported a Humanitarian Evidence Week, and the Centres for Learning on Evaluation and Results hosted the gLOCAL Evaluation Week.
Weeks vary in their focus, their locations, and formats but promoting evidence-production and –use for decisions remains common across them all.
And now, it’s time for Africa.
We’re celebrating Africa’s evidence-informed decision-making
Members of the Africa Evidence Network (AEN) all work in their respective fields to support the production and/or use of evidence for decision-making in some way. They draw on a diversity of innovative approaches to overcome the various challenges they are faced with when trying to support evidence-informed decision-making.
Why do we need Africa Evidence Week? What do we want to achieve with this initiative? It’s simple: we want to celebrate Africa’s evidence-informed decision-making. And celebrating means two things to us: showcasing real-life examples of evidence-use in Africa and supporting African evidence champions in their evidence advocacy.
Showcasing real-life examples of evidence-informed decision-making
We want to showcase the incredible examples of supporting evidence-informed decision-making that we are aware of happening in different countries in Africa. Others – from high-income to low- and middle-income countries, regions with strong and diverse cultural identities, places in the world where resources are limited – have much to learn from the creativity and innovation with which organisations in Africa have supported decision-makers to incorporate evidence into their choices.
Providing a platform for evidence advocacy by evidence champions
Africa Evidence Week should also be a platform that Africa’s evidence champions can use to reach out to broader audiences within Africa, and across the globe, to deepen their evidence advocacy work. Our hope is that the Week becomes a stage from where these evidence champions can raise their advocacy work as the attention of the global evidence community is pulled to focus on Africa’s evidence-informed decision-making.
How Africa Evidence Week will work
The week will see the AEN secretariat promoting on its various platforms different physical and virtual events happening across Africa during the week of 9-13 September. The events – which can take any form that participants can imagine producing – will be organised and developed by participating organisations. Information will be shared by participating organisations with the AEN secretariat who will promote the activities across all its social media and facilitate events on its various online platforms where necessary.
Participating organisations are encouraged to share any physical events happening in-country for the AEN to publicise and generate support from within the Network. But other initiatives are also supported – Twitter conversations, blog series, vlogs or video interviews are some examples that those organisations who have already joined us have thought of. Any activity that furthers the conversation about how Africa is supporting evidence-informed decision-making is welcomed.
We have suggested three themes that participants are encouraged to focus their activities around; these are: what does the evidence-informed decision-making ecosystem in Africa look like; what difference does evidence make in Africa; and what works for evidence-use in Africa? Under these three themes, we envisage organisations’ highlighting the evidence ecosystems in their fields or countries, sharing lessons they have learnt from what hasn’t worked, celebrating the successes they have had from what has worked, and explaining what they have experienced in terms of supporting evidence-informed decision-making in Africa.
Join the celebration
Any organisation or individual supporting the use or production of evidence for decisions in Africa is welcome to get in touch with the AEN secretariat to have their activity featured as part of Africa Evidence Week. The AEN secretariat will liaise with you to get the details of your activity to allow us to promote your event and engage other AEN members with your work. You can review the Africa Evidence Week concept note for more information.
Join the conversation so we can celebrate Africa’s evidence-informed decision-making together.