Strengthening Capacity of Policymakers in Ethiopia

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Recently, 21 participants benefited from an Impact Evaluation Training Workshop for Policymakers organized by USAID’s ALL-IN Largescale Land Transactions (LSLTs) project at the University of Gondar, Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), International Food Policy Institute (IFPRI) and Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research. Participants were drawn from 12 governmental institutions including Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Planning and Development, Ministry of Health, Commercial Bank of Ethiopian, Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration and other ministries and research Institutes.

The workshop, held on March 14- 15, was facilitated by various experts including Dr. Solomon Zena Walelign, LSLTs’s Principal Investigator. The training involved series of sessions that sought to introduce the importance of impact evaluation for policymaking as well as train policymakers on the basic concepts and methods of impact evaluation; discuss practical case studies from Ethiopia and spur discussion on potential policies that could be evaluated using some of the impact evaluation methods; create a strong network among policymakers and researchers working in different sector at different ministries and research institutes and bring together policymakers and researchers working at different level with the interest and experience on impact evaluation from Ministries and research institutes in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, like other global south countries, has been implementing different policies, interventions, projects and programs to promote socio-economic development, support the poor and decrease poverty levels. Understanding the impact of these policies, regardless of the political regime and remit of the policy or development program, will help to improve, reorient, or scale up the program. This requires local capacity that can undertake rigorous impact evaluations.

“Ethiopia faces a major intellectual challenge in this regard. Against this background, it is necessary to organize series of training program on impact evaluation for policymakers at different levels, “says Solomon.

Some of the topics covered included: introduction to impact evaluation; causal inferences and counterfactuals; Randomized Control Trial (RCT) and randomized promotion (encouragement) design – Theory and application; Matching – Theory and Applications; Identification of potential sectoral projects, funding, collaborations and experience sharing among others.

LSLTs is measuring the impacts of large-scale land transactions in Ethiopia and identifying the communities and households who benefit and those who does not. The results contribute evidence on how these transactions affect rural resilience, economic growth, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

ALL-IN is implemented by Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk & Resilience in collaboration with the International Centre for Evaluation and Development to strengthen capacity of development researchers across Africa to generate evidence that inform development policies to address pressing challenges like food insecurity.