Tag Archives: Africa

Evidence in African parliaments: reflections on our new paper
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Parliamentary information system

Author: Emily Hayter, Programme Manager, Evidence-Informed Policy Making Team, INASP Information is critical to holding governments to account. None of a parliament’s key functions of representation, oversight and scrutiny can happen meaningfully without quality information. Despite this, the systems that shape how parliaments gather, appraise and use evidence, and the parliamentary staff who are at the forefront of these activities are too often overlooked in parliamentary strengthening programmes. Parliamentary information support: new papers from ACEPA and INASP Our new series of papers with our partners at the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) focus on the internal information support structures that gather and deliver evidence to decision makers in African parliaments. In the main paper, which we presented last week at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ conference, we outline some of the main issues affecting internal processes and structures in parliaments on the continent—from external factors like … Continue reading

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Ten Videos on Evidence and Policy
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Here are a few of our favourite videos featuring researchers, policymakers and practitioners all over the world discussing key issues in evidence-informed policy: what it is, what the challenges are, and how to address them. Got more to share? Please tell us in the comments! 1 What is EIPM? Here Louise Shaxson of the Overseas Development Institute’s Research and Policy in Development programme draws on her experience with the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to explain the concept of evidence-informed policy making, highlighting the role of processes within public institutions: “you can have the best evidence in the world but if you put it through poor processes you won’t get good evidence informed policy making”. At INASP we see these processes as a complex set of structures, relationships and behaviours within public institutions that shape how evidence is gathered, synthesised, appraised and communicated to inform policy. 2) Getting … Continue reading

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21 years of climate discussions
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What sort of deal will the Paris meeting agree to? Will it be legally binding? Ultimately, these questions place great hopes in the Paris talks but it remains to be seen if these hopes will come to pass… Guest blog post by Winnie Khaemba of the African Center for the Technology Studies, which presented at COP21 about work funded by a VakaYiko grant to bring together researchers and policymakers to discuss the development of Kenya’s climate-change bill. Continue reading

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Building capacity of Africa’s library consortia
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Jon Harle reports on the recent library consortia meeting in Addis Ababa about building strong foundations for research to deliver African Union’s ‘Agenda 2063’ Last week’s workshop in Ethiopia wasn’t about libraries. It was about taking a vision of research and higher education – a vision of enabling development, tackling critical problems, improving the delivery of basic and much-needed services, preparing Africa for a changing world – and pulling that down to the detail of skills, of organizational processes and structures, of defining and addressing priorities through the incremental, day-to-day steps through which capacity is developed, services improved and progress made. One of my frustrations after the Senegal African Higher Education Summit in March was that we weren’t discussing the ‘how’ – and realising these ambitions for research and higher education will depend on taking high-level goals and translating them to real and sustained improvements in myriad areas, so that … Continue reading

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Library consortia sharing expertise: A small meeting tackling important issues in Addis Ababa
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Addis Ababa is used to hosting big and important meetings. The African Union and UNECA are both based here. A few weeks ago the UN Financing for Development conference brought several thousand visitors to Addis Ababa. And on Sunday evening President Obama flew in from Kenya. But this week Addis is also playing host to a smaller, quieter event – but an important one nevertheless. Seven library consortia have come together in Addis, hosted by the Consortium for Ethiopian Academic and Research Libraries (CEARL) and facilitated by INASP, to spend five days sharing ideas, learning, and collectively identifying solutions to some of the many challenges they share. But library consortia aren’t just clubs or networks of libraries: they play a key role in enabling a strong and effective research and knowledge system. By enabling their member institutions to collectively purchase online journals and books, consortia are making a critical contribution … Continue reading

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World class universities – or world class systems?
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The idea of ‘world class universities’ grips the higher education sector, driven by several big international rankings. It’s an idea that is no less popular when it comes to many of the countries in which INASP works. But when it comes to research and higher education for development, is it world class universities that we should be pursuing? Different institutions to do different things Goolam Mohamedbhai argues that what African higher education needs is ‘mission differentiation’, namely a range of institutions doing different things. Rather than focusing on creating new universities, governments should instead be supporting existing institutions in different ways – some to become more research-focused, and some to concentrate more on undergraduate education. ‘It would be impossible, and unnecessary, for most staff in all tertiary institutions on the continent to have a PhD’ he argues. In a similar vein, Lynn Meek argues that our emphasis should be on … Continue reading

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