Helping Zimbabwe’s policy makers with evidence informed policy making – Part 2
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Following on from Clara Richardspost about defining evidence informed policy making in Zimbabwe, she looks at some examples of this approach in practice

In a recent blog post, I wrote about an online discussion that INASP and the Zimbabwe Evidence Informed Policy Network (ZeipNET) carried out in August and September. The aim of the discussion was to gain an understanding of where evidence has been used in policy making in Zimbabwe and to gather relevant examples in order to help us develop a course in evidence informed policy making (EIPM) aimed at policy makers in Zimbabwe.

In my last post I reported on how participants defined evidence informed policy making and what they saw as the priorities and challenges. In this post I will look at some examples that came out of the discussions about how evidence has been used in policy making in Zimbabwe.

Traffic Management
• Recently, the City of Harare introduced the commuter omnibus holding bays as a way of de-congesting the City of Harare. Aside from using evidence from needs assessments and desk reviews, the city also sought evidence in the form of study visits to other countries in the region to understand the best practices and then localize the lessons learnt to the city’s own environment (“Decongesting Harare’s CBD“, “Kombis to be removed from Harare’s CBD“).

Youth and Education
• The Nziramasanga report (1999) recommended that Zimbabwe should take a paradigm shift from traditional education curricula to a diversified curriculum that provided for learners with different learning capabilities. Consequently, and after carrying out the required needs assessment (which considered regional differences and identified preferences), Youth Information and Career Guidance Centres were created. In addition, addressing the recommendations of the report, some decisions were taken to make higher and tertiary education curricula focused on a system that emphasised on technical skills that will result in entrepreneurs and innovators (“Vocationalization of Secondary Schools: Implementation Reality or Fallacy?”, “National Report on the Status of Education by Zimbabwe“).

Media
• The Ministry of Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) has set up a 25-member panel to go around the country to solicit views from citizens relating to the reconfiguration of the country’s media and information sectors (“Media enquiry panel launched“).

Health
• The government, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care, has adopted male circumcision as one way of preventing the transmission of STIs and HIV/AIDS. This has been primarily as a result of evidence that suggests that the practice reduces transmission of the virus by approximately 60%. The programme is currently being rolled out country wide (“National AIDS Council: Male Circumcision in Zimbabwe“).

Government
• The Results-Based Management System (RBM) became Government Policy in 2005 as a management tool to improve public sector management. The aim is to focus more on achieving results using given expenditure targets. The adoption of this system is a result of the recommendations from the Public Service Review Commission to introduce Performance Management System in 1999 (“Zimbabwe civil service reform and results based management: lessons learned“, “Zimbabwean experience in implementing RBM“).

These examples and the general consideration of evidence informed policy making raise the following questions for future discussion:

1) Where are the potential areas where research evidence is more likely to be used?
2) When and in what areas different types of evidence are more relevant? Is ‘citizen evidence’ more relevant than research evidence?
3) What are the main obstacles hindering implementation of policies? How can it be improved?

The EIPM course will take place in Mutare, Zimbabwe, starting with module 1: an introduction to EIPM, which is being piloted in November. This will be followed around April next year with pilots of modules 2-5 that will cover how to search, source and assess evidence.

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About Clara Richards

Clara is the Director of INASP's VakaYiko programme, and leads INASP's work on Evidence-Informed Policy Making. Clara’s role is to design and implement capacity building interventions to support research use and advocates for EIPM and to build strong relationship with EIPM’s partners..
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