INASP small grants scheme aims to increase use of research evidence in policy making
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The Evidence Informed Policy Making (EIPM) team at INASP has been working on a small grants scheme that supports individuals and organisations working in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to increase the use of research evidence in policy making. In this post, EIPM Programme Assistant, Shahenda Suliman, discusses the first round of grants.

As part of the VakaYiko project, the small grants scheme supports individuals and organisations working in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to increase the use of research evidence in policy making. Funded by DFID and managed by INASP, the scheme was developed with the aim of identifying and sharing new and effective approaches to strengthening research use.

We were particularly interested in identifying approaches derived from the practical experiences of individuals in and from the Global South. After reviewing over 200 applications, the EIPM team realised that any ingenuity was perhaps more likely to emerge from the ways in which common approaches such as training workshops, online courses, and policy dialogues were delivered in specific contexts – that is, the utilisation of standard approaches – than through a discovery or rediscovery of new or neglected approaches.

The projects are being funded as part of the larger VakaYiko project. Grants of up to £20,000 are being provided for projects that will last for a maximum of 12 months. The call for the first round of applicants was launched in April 2014 and the successful applicants are as follows:

  • The African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS): The Kenya Climate Science, Technology and Policy Roundtable: Application of climate science and technology research evidence into policy making and implementation in Kenya.
  • The Ateneo de Manila University: Capacity development for evidence-informed education policy making in sub-national government level in the Philippines.
  • The Centre for Public Policy Alternatives (CPPA): INFODATA-LIT-LG – Improving information literacy for urban service planning and delivery at local government level in Nigeria.
  • Jimma University: Building research utilization capacity of health planners and policy makers at the Federal Ministry of Health in Ethiopia.
  • Politics and Ideas (P&I): Leaders of Change: developing Latin American policymakers’ capacity to promote the use of knowledge in policy.

These recipients are working in different countries, targeting different sectors, and employing different approaches. In most cases, the VakaYiko project is either supporting existing activities, or funding new activities that clearly complement a wider movement or collective push towards increasing the use of research evidence in policy making. Here at INASP, the EIPM team has been impressed by the enthusiasm and creativity of the recipients, particularly their keenness to share their ongoing experiences and their ability to navigate shifting political landscapes.

We’ve seen an interest not only in the grantees’ approaches to capacity development, but also in developing stronger links between individuals and institutions across the three continents. After over six months of interacting with the small grantees and learning from their experiences, we hope that online courses developed in Argentina will continue to elicit expressions of interest from policy makers in South Africa, that training workshops for health ministers in Ethiopia continue to be of interest to trainers in Zimbabwe, and that data collection methods for service delivery in Nigeria continue to be of use for those working on service delivery in Malawi.

In the coming months we’ll have posts written by some of the small grant recipients, so watch this space for more information on the individual projects.

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2 Responses to INASP small grants scheme aims to increase use of research evidence in policy making

  1. avatar Niraj says:

    Shahendra: is it possible for you to share more on what type of proposals usually get funded by VAKAYIKO? can examples be shared? we are a NGO working in India and would like to apply for this capacity building initiative if possible…? i could not see details on the website of the organisations that have already received the small grants?
    many thanks,
    Niraj Joshi