Category Archives: EIPM

5 ways of adapting the Evidence-Informed Policy Making Toolkit training for your participants – Experiences from GIMPA
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Dr. Patrick Tandoh, lead facilitator from GIMPA

Image: Dr. Patrick Tandoh, lead facilitator from GIMPA Back in January, the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) held a three day pilot of the EIPM Toolkit under their School of Public Service and Governance (SPSG), with support from Ghana Information Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS). The Toolkit is an adaptable suite of resources to support capacity building of civil servants and parliamentary staff in gathering, appraising and communicating evidence to inform policy making. So far, it’s been used in Ghana, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Sudan. Having observed the training, Faaria Hussain (INASP’s Programme Officer for the Evidence-Informed Policy Making team) lists five ways GIMPA adapted the Toolkit to ensure learning was maximized for their participants. Feedback from both participants and facilitators: Dr. Kingsley Agomor and Dr. Patrick Tandoh, show that the training was successful, covering relevant content and as a result, GIMPA are considering rolling out the Toolkit … Continue reading

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Evidence Spotlight: Overcoming challenges to using evidence in the Parliament of Malawi
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Photo: Parliament of Malawi ——————————————————————————————————————————- In this Evidence Spotlight INASP’s Emily Hayter interviews Kondwani Chikafa (image, right), Senior Research Officer in the Research Section of the Parliament of Malawi. Parliament of Malawi’s Research Section is comprised of three staff. Its key function is to support decision making in parliament through research and analysis for MPs, who are its main clients. How is research information currently used in the Parliament of Malawi? Research information is used in three ways: In the Plenary: Members of Parliament (MPs) request information on issues that are on the floor of the House. This information is requested by Backbench MPs in the National Assembly and given to them before the House opens. In the Parliamentary Committees: Prior to Committee Meetings, the Research Section can be asked to prepare briefing papers on specific issues on the agenda to help members make informed decisions. Delegations: The Parliament of … Continue reading

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Promoting the use of evidence in parliaments
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Photo: Participants in the Parliament Learning Exchange (Left to right) - Mohammed Hardi Nyagsi, Parliament of Ghana; John Mugabi Bagonza, Parliament of Uganda, Christina Mafoko, Director of Research, Parliament of Zimbabwe; Abrahan Ibn Zackaria, Parliament of Ghana.

Photo: Participants in the Parliament Learning Exchange (Left to right) – Mohammed Hardi Nyagsi, Parliament of Ghana; John Mugabi Bagonza, Parliament of Uganda, Christina Mafoko, Director of Research, Parliament of Zimbabwe; Abrahan Ibn Zackaria, Parliament of Ghana. ——————————————————————————————————— – Blog by Agnes A.S. Titriku, Program Manager, African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), Ghana Staff members from three parliaments (Ghana, Uganda and Zimbabwe) are participating in a Learning Exchange programme coordinated by the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), as part of the VakaYiko project. The aim is to strengthen the role of parliamentary information support units in evidence uptake by providing a space for peer exchange and support—both ‘learning together’ and ‘learning from each other’. What do the parliaments’ information support systems look like? “Mapping out linkages and collaboration among information departments has provided insight on how to strengthen weak links for instance through learning from other parliaments”. – Research … Continue reading

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Evidence Reading: How do governments get great?
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Botswana Parliament Building

House of the Parliament of Botswana in Gaborone. The paper discussed in this evidence reading cited Botswana as an example of a government that led an impressive transformation resulting in its ranking of Sub-Saharan Africa’s least corrupt nation in the global Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 by Transparency International. —————————————————————————————————– – Blog post by Clara Richards, Director of the VakaYiko Consortium and Senior Programme Manager at INASP’s Evidence-Informed Policy Making Team I started reading more about how governments can improve their work and drive positive change because I wanted to know how we at INASP can work with governments to improve their policies by putting research and evidence at the heart of their development agenda. I discovered an endless and exciting literature. However, it is mainly driven by the same authors who are part of the ‘Building State Capability Programme’ , and although they have great insight, it would be good … Continue reading

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Using evidence to mainstream gender in policy making
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Gender Centre for Research and Training running a workshop in training to policymakers on mainstreaming gender in development policies and practices. – Blog post by Amira Osman, Co-founder of the Gender Centre for Research and Training, Sudan Gendered evidence is important for policy making because it gives policy makers and development planners a clear picture on the gender needs of the population they are targeting. In recent years, this need has received greater attention. However, there are still numerous barriers and challenges to mainstreaming gender in programmes and policies. To discuss this, a breakout session was held at the VakaYiko symposium in Accra on 5 October 2016. Policy makers, researchers and civil society organisations from countries in Africa, Latin America and Europe joined the discussion. Also present, was a Regional Director from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in Ghana, who shared a practical perspective on challenges and … Continue reading

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Evidence Spotlight: Towards better use of evidence in Parliaments – The experience of the Parliament of Uganda?
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John Mugabi Bagonza, Director of the Department of Research Services at Parliament of Uganda, shares the Department’s model with VakaYiko colleagues from Ghana and Zimbabwe at the 2016 VakaYiko Symposium in Accra


– Guest Post by Sunday Olishe Etrima, Research Officer-Parliament of Uganda

INASP’s Evidence-Informed Policy Making team is working with the Parliament of Uganda to improve the use of evidence in decision-making.

Uganda’s constitution places a huge mandate on the Parliament of Uganda to make decisions that serve the interests of the nation and its people. But this is only possible if parliamentary decisions are supported with valid, relevant and well-researched evidence. In other words, decisions must be informed by technical advice built on a strong foundation of evidence and analysis.

In the Parliament of Uganda, it is the duty of the Department of Research Services (DRS) to ensure that parliamentary decisions are backed with evidence. The DRS does this in a number of ways:

Building capacity to providing to Members and Committees of Parliament

The DRS has recently repositioned itself with the aim of providing and promoting more evidence and quality analysis to Members, Committees and Staff of Parliament. As part of the repositioning, the DRS has evolved from a small unit of only twelve staff within the Department of Library, Research and ICT, to being a fully-fledged Department with 39 staff members. This has enhanced the capacity of the DRS to provide evidence to facilitate parliamentary work and addressed some glaring evidence supply deficiencies.

Generating its own multidisciplinary evidence

The DRS is an evidence generation unit in its own right, housing economists, statisticians, accountants, lawyers, social workers, engineers, political scientists, agriculturalists, environmentalists and mineral experts. The DRS’ key research products include fact sheets, regular research reports, bill analysis reports, committee issue briefs, policy analysis reports, committee field visits, and meeting notes. In addition, new products such as constituency profiles, one page summaries and talking points for Members of Parliament (MPs) have been developed and are highly in demand by MPs.

Although proactive research on topical issues is very much encouraged, the DRS generally produces evidence in response to demand from different individuals or organs of parliament. Clients include individual MPs, Committees and Offices of the Parliament. Research requests are placed through the Director of Research Services and the work is assigned to the relevant researcher(s). It should be noted that research outputs are on the increase: in the first quarter of the Financial Year 2016/17, the DRS produced 129 more reports than planned, exceeding its target by 64%. This clearly demonstrates increased demand for research products.

Stimulating demand for evidence

Where there is less demand for evidence, the DRS also focuses on stimulating it, chiefly among Members and Committees of Parliament. This has been done through various strategies, perhaps the most prominent and recent of which was a ‘Research Week’ in August 2016 held to raise awareness of DRS research services among new members of Parliament in the tenth Parliament.  Another approach is making presentations to MPs and Committees on the importance of using evidence in their legislative, oversight and representative roles.

Ensuring the quality of in-house research

It is DRS’s strategy to continuously improve the quality of the evidence it generates. For instance, over the past two years, researchers have received training in bill analysis, policy analysis, report writing, committee briefing, science communications, data visualization, and other areas as part of a deliberate effort to build staff capacity in the department. This training was made possible with financial resources from the Parliamentary Commission and development partners such as INASP. As a result, the DRS’ capacity to generate more and better-quality evidence has improved significantly. The knock-on effect is that the department has earned the trust of the Parliamentary Commission, and now executes assignments in-house that were previously done by externally hired consultants. For instance, the DRS currently undertakes training needs assessment for the Institute of Parliament Studies.

Building strong systems to support evidence generation and use

Lastly, the quest of the DRS to ensure better use of evidence in Parliamentary work is rooted in building strong systems to support increased supply and demand for evidence in the legislative, representative and oversight functions of the Parliament of Uganda. To this end, the DRS has developed research guidelines and manuals to support its mandate. It is also developing a website and workflow system to share its products internally and externally, and finalizing collaborative arrangements with key research institutions and think tanks to create a pathway to allow the enormous amount of evidence produced by such institutions to be used in the policy arena.

That’s not to say there aren’t still some challenges: increasing number of MPs and Committees of Parliament that increases demand for work, limited funds to finance field studies among others. However despite these issues, the DRS is making good progress, and we hope to see increasing engagement with quality, relevant evidence by Parliament going forward.

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