Introducing Evidence Online 2018

By Natalie Tannous


Evidence 2018 is only a week away. While for some of us that is exciting, there are many of us that won’t be able to make it to see the sunny skies of Pretoria for the physical event. There are many reasons one might not be able to attend Evidence 2018 in person. The cost of registration fees, flights and accommodation can be insurmountable. One might be unable to take time away from work. Or one’s family commitments might make travelling for a few days impossible.

We understand – life happens. And because life happens, the AEN has come up with a plan to include our members and their friends unable to travel to attend Evidence 2018: we would like to welcome you to Evidence Online 2018.

Evidence Online 2018 is a virtual conference

If Evidence 2018 as the preeminent evidence-informed decision-making event in Africa is the big, important sister; Evidence Online 2018 is her playful and creative little sister. Evidence Online 2018 is a virtual conference that will be running parallel to the physical event. It will be based in a studio built on-site at the physical conference location so that online participants get to experience the atmosphere from the comfort of their own chair. The online event will be facilitated by two co-hosts and a number of online chat hosts.

Evidence Online features Evidence 2018 and exclusive online content

All the plenary sessions of Evidence 2018 will be live-streamed as part of Evidence Online so digital participants will be able to participate in the important discussions happening during Evidence 2018 (more on how to do this below). The plenary sessions will be supplemented by exclusive online content. Studio hosts will have speed interviews with Evidence 2018 delegates on their papers and poster presentations that feed into the conference themes. Strand leaders of the physical conference will provide indications of what their strands are about, and chairs of the parallel sessions not streamed will give summaries of their sessions to the online audience, tying these into the larger themes and discussions for Evidence 2018.

Evidence Online delegates will also enjoy exclusive expert interviews with Professor John Lavis, Professor Sandy Oliver, Beryl Leach, and the AEN chairperson Associate Professor Ruth Stewart, among many others. These giants in evidence-informed decision-making will engage with delegates and studio hosts on topics ranging from where the AEN is headed to how to mainstream gender in evidence-informed decision-making in Africa. The Evidence Online hosts will also be interviewing the inaugural Africa Evidence Leadership Award winner, Velia Manyonga during the virtual conference programme.

And as for that playfulness we promised? Online delegates will be able to play a card game throughout the course of the online event. Digital cards depicting the AEN founding members will be flashed at different points during the studio and live-streamed sessions. Each card will have a single word or punctuation mark on it that when ordered correctly, will create a phrase about the AEN. The first online delegate to post the correct phrase on the chat platform will win their own personalised digital card to add to the deck. And will get a space in the AEN newsletter to tell us about themselves and their EIDM work.

Best part? It’s easy and free to participate in Evidence Online

Yes, participation is free – you only require a stable internet connection and smart device (mobile, laptop, tablet or desktop) to join in the digital event. You will need to register using an email address and password to sign in to the Evidence Online platform. Once you’re logged in, you’ll have access to a screen with the live-streamed plenaries and studio interviews.

Most importantly, you’ll be able to feed your questions about the plenaries into the live-streamed sessions via the online chat platform. The chat hosts will feed your questions directly to the speakers so that online delegates will be able to engage with the live discussions happening during Evidence 2018. Participants online will also be able to engage with fellow online delegates in discussing the content arising out of Evidence 2018 on the chat platform.

Can’t make it to Evidence 2018? Come to Evidence Online!

To register your interest in attending Evidence Online 2018, sign up via While the chance to register for Evidence 2018 may have passed – and in case you didn’t come into a windfall or your workload didn’t suddenly disappear – join us as we make the engagement, understanding, and impact digital though Evidence Online 2018.