Celebration of Africa’s evidence-informed decision-making – part 1

By Natalie Tannous

EVIDENCE 2018 delegates at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria/Tshwane, South Africa.

Celebrations are an integral part of being human: our wonderfully complex and dynamic cultures are rich with traditions and rituals that force us to pause and mark the milestones of being human. Birth, coming of age, marriage, death, and many other moments of life are marked by the gathering of friends and family, interrupting the mundanity of everyday life, and focusing attention on the milestone event.  

In a way, evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) is a milestone in the life of our collective humanity. EIDM represents the humble recognition that as humans we can make mistakes, that we don’t always know best, and that by working together we can achieve more. As a practice, EIDM has taken root in a variety of contexts – both topical and geographical – across the globe. One place where EIDM has taken root and is flourishing is Africa, which we think is something to celebrate.  

Africa Evidence Week is about celebrating 

In the week of 9-13 September, we want to virtually gather our friends dedicated to EIDM to take a pause from the mundanity of our everyday work lives, and focus our attention on the unique success and beauty of Africa’s evidence-informed decision-making. We are hosting a celebration: Africa Evidence Week 2019.  

The response has been astounding – we have had 151 people expressing interest in participating in Africa Evidence Week 2019. So far, the Africa Evidence Network secretariat at the Africa Centre for Evidence will be promoting eight in-country events hosted by partner organisations, featuring eight blogs on our website, hosting three webinars on our GoToMeeting platform, participating in three Twitter conversations, and showcasing two new resources from some of our partner organisations. 

Part one of this blog post focuses on four events that will be happening in countries across Africa to give a taster of what they will be doing as part of the celebration of Africa’s EIDM that is Africa Evidence Week 2019.  

PACKS Africa, Ghana 

 PACKS Africa describes itself as “an indigenous Ghanaian think tank”. This organisation operates from Accra, in Ghana, and aims to offer support services in the evidence-to-policy sector.  PACKS Africa wants to improve the uptake of research and other types of evidence in policy, which they achieve through programmes of knowledge management for development, information systems research, and advocacy for evidence-informed decision-making. During Africa Evidence Week 2019, PACKS Africa will be hosting physical in-country three events: 

(1) Title of event: Two years after VakaYiko in Ghana 
Partner/s: Inter Departmental Research and Information Group of the Parliament of Ghana 
Date & time: 10 September 10:00 – 12:00 GMT  
Country: Ghana  

(2) Title of event: Programmes to enhance the production and utilisation of data and different types of evidence in policy  
Partner/s: Inter Departmental Research and Information Group of the Parliament of Ghana 
Date & time: 11 September 10:00-13:00 GMT  
Country: Ghana  

(3) Title of event: Training workshop on navigating and evaluating quality evidence 
Partner/s: Inter Departmental Research and Information Group of the Parliament of Ghana 
Date & time: 12 September 10:00-13:00 GMT  
Country: Ghana  

Gauteng Department: Agriculture and Rural Development, South Africa 

The Gauteng Department: Agriculture and Rural Development is a provincial-level government department in South Africa that is responsible for agricultural affairs, environmental protection, and nature conservation within the province of Gauteng. This department will be hosting its first Environment Research Symposium during Africa Evidence Week.  

The theme of the Gauteng Environmental Research Symposium is “Contribution to the understanding and needs in the environmental sector to facilitate research initiatives that address emerging and pressing environmental concerns”. The Symposium will aim to bring together environmental researchers from a variety of different institutions (e.g. government departments, academic institutions, research-based institutions, research funding institutions, consulting companies, non-governmental organisations, and para-statals, among others).  

Core aims include (among others) gathering feedback and advice on operational and strategic environmental issues within Gauteng; enhancing the networking within the Gauteng City Region; strengthening knowledge sharing amongst government officials, academia, researchers and other stakeholders; and sharing of best practice approaches in the environmental sector to issues facing the province.  

Title of event: Gauteng Environment Research Symposium  
Partner/s: Africa Centre for Evidence; Process, Energy & Environmental Technology Station; the Gauteng City-Region Observatory; Water Research Commission of South Africa; and the University of South Africa 
Date & time: 13 September 06:30-13:30 GMT  
Country: South Africa  

Tanzania Enlightenment Development Innovations, Tanzania  

Tanzania Enlightenment Development Innovations (TEDI) is a non-governmental organisation works to provide soft and entrepreneurial skills to, as well as nurture the careers of, students.  

With its event, TEDI aims to discuss and understand the role of evidence-informed decision-making in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Their panel discussion will explore this theme in relation to SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 8 (Decent Work & Economic Growth) and SDG 4 (Quality Education). This event will feature discussions between audience members and panel members who are expected to be academics, development practitioners, and others from educational institutions and non-governmental organisations working in development. 

Title of event: The role of evidence-informed decision-making in Africa – relation to Sustainable Development Goals  
Partner/s: None specified 
Date & time: 06:00-10:00 GMT  
Country: Tanzania  

Cameroon Toilet OrganisationCameroon  

As part of Africa Evidence Week 2019, the Cameroon Toilet Organisation will be hosting an event in Cameroon to share with attendees the proceedings of the regional conference of Food Safety Education to participants. CAMTO aims to provide this information for the benefit of those stakeholders with an interest in food safety education who were unable to attend the regional conference.  

Title of event: Launch of the proceedings of the regional conference on Food Safety Education  
Partner/s: None specified 
Date & time: 11 September 12:00 GMT  
Country: Cameroon  

We invite you to the celebration  

Africa Evidence Week promises to be an exciting week, and there is still time to join the conversation – we’re inviting you to the celebration! Get in touch with the secretariat on ace@uj.ac.za to express your interest in participating in Africa Evidence Week as a partner organisation or as a partcipant. The Africa Evidence Network secretariat will share a detailed overview of the Week soon after 23 August, so make sure you get in touch so you can join the celebration of Africa’s EIDM.