Evidence To Action Conference – Nairobi 2018
Information is increasingly becoming the most important currency in today’s global economy. With the United Nations predicting that the world population will hit the 9 billion mark by the year 2050 and that during the same period, Africa’s population is expected to double from the current 1.2 billion to 2.5 billion. In view of the above, there is an urgent need to define strategies to enhance Africa’s development Tied to this, there is a need to ensure that there is efficient information and knowledge being generated by researchers and M&E experts to influence decisions by key policymakers. In view of this, there’s therefore an ardent need to ensure that ongoing research and evaluation projects are producing information that is available, accessible, affordable and adoptable.
During the past decade, Africa has seen a huge growth and interest in production of research, monitoring and evaluation. Today, a large number of institutions are investing in production of huge amounts of stimulating research results as well as M&E data. However for many of them, the production of the research report often marks the end of the process, hence missing out on an opportunity to create meaningful change by influencing policy and practice at both the national and institutional level.
To aggravate the situation, there continues to be a big disconnect between generation and creation of new and solid evidence in development systems research efforts and the translation of that same evidence into data-informed policies. Policy makers struggle to find, collate, understand and apply the evidence to support their own decision-making needs, despite existing knowledge. These challenges are not insurmountable. With the right level of support and collaboration between researchers, evaluation experts and decision-makers, the translation of evidence-based research findings into actionable policy and programmatic guidance is an achievable goal.
It is against this background that the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED) in conjunction with Tegemeo, Atai, BASIS and ISSER is organizing a five day Africa Evidence Conference in Nairobi next year to enhance collaboration between researchers and stakeholders and outline clear recommendations on how to ensure Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and evidence-based research positively impacts regional and national priorities and contributes to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Malabo Declaration.
Through this convening, the organizers seek to ensure increased uptake and utilization of research and innovation in evaluation for development to influence policy and drive change at the national, regional and global levels.
The conference will offer an exciting platform for renowned research and evaluation professionals, and development practitioners from national, regional and international organizations to tackle important topics such as Agriculture and Food Systems in sub-Saharan Africa, Climate Change and Environment, Agriculture Risk, Index Insurance and Risk Mitigation, Private Sector in Development, Impact of investment in Agriculture and Food Systems, Innovative Finance, Credit and Savings for Smallholders, Gender and Youth in Agriculture and Food Systems, Youth Employment, National and Local Governance and Accountability, Evidence Synthesis and Impact Evaluation for Policy Making, Knowledge Brokering and Knowledge Translation.
The Conference will provide a platform for industry stakeholders to discuss strategies for enhancing the dissemination of research findings and ensuring that the process achieves the desired impact. They will provide stakeholders with a platform to do the following :
- Highlight the innovative & cutting-edge research and evaluation projects
- Support for and scale up uptake of what is working in terms of innovation and best practices.
- Use evaluation and research results to contributing to systemic change in African countries.
The objectives of the conference are as follows :
- Increase the dissemination of high quality evidence of what works, where, and why to develop seed systems, enhance soil health, improve post-harvest storage and strengthen rural institutions and mechanisms for market access for African and South Asian farmers.
- Support the dissemination of policy-friendly systematic reviews and summaries of new and existing evidence for interventions to develop seed systems, enhance soil health, improve post-harvest storage and strengthen institutions and mechanisms for market access for African farmers.
- Increase awareness amongst the Africans and policy makers, and international development staff of this evidence. Also on the factors that prevent uptake of research and evaluation data in Africa and discuss strategies for scaling up their dissemination and impact.
- To achieve a transformation of smallholder agriculture through changing smallholder behaviour to promote wider adoption of improved technologies.
The Conference will have a five-day program as follows: The first two and a half days will be set aside for side events and exhibition while the remaining days will be scientific and technical sessions. Research and development papers will be presented in different sessions and will include the following activities:
- Self-organized side events where institutions can present their programmes and galvanize support for their activities.
- An exhibition where organizations can exhibit their projects and activities
- Plenary sessions to be addressed by a mix of high level speakers and stakeholders
- Breakout sessions to address specific issues and topics
- A business to business platform where stakeholders attending the Conference can meet each other on the side lines of the event.
The theme for the Conference, “Evidence to Action” is premised on the understanding that great research and evaluation findings have huge potential to positively influence Africa’s policy decisions and development agenda.
The Sub-Themes are as follows
- Research and Evaluation of Agriculture transformation programs in Africa
- Public-private partnerships in seed system development
- Sub- Sahara Soil Heath and Modern Technology
- Agriculture Risk, Index Insurance and Technology
- Smart subsidies for technology up-take
- Impact Investing, Credit and Savings for Smallholders
- Information and Extension: Reaching farmers where they are
- Evidence Synthesis and Evaluation Result Generalization
Conference participants will be drawn from a diversity of stakeholders across Africa who are involved in the research and evaluation sector.
This includes the following:
- Relevant government ministries’ representatives
- Farmer organizations
- Representatives from universities
- Development think tanks
- Research Organizations (National and International)
- Development agencies and donor community
- Private Sector organizations/companies
- Technology promoters/distributors/partners
- The Conferences is co-convened by International Centre for Evaluation and Development, Tegemeo, Atai and BASIS.
- International Organizing Committee – This committee includes representatives from the partners plus other global institutions.
- Local Organizing Committees – These will be drawn from universities, research institutions, non-governmental organizations and development agencies.
Engagements With Development Partners
• This initiative has attracted financial and technical support from key partners in the research and evaluation space including ICED. Organizers are reaching out to other local and global partners to support this great initiative.
- Awareness creation on the challenges to research and evaluation in Africa
- Linkages and partnerships among the various stakeholders including researchers and technology developers
- A Call to Action that clearly spells out what needs to be done to counter the challenges discussed
- Establish a mechanism for sourcing for evidence with potential to inform policy and action.
- Sustain the mechanism for sharing policy-related evidence with policy makers in the continent.
- Continuously nurture a culture of evidence-based decision making.