The Network of Impact Evaluation Researchers (NIERA) Co-Hosts the 11th Africa Evidence Summit

By Philip Khamati

The Network of Impact Evaluation Researchers in Africa (NIERA) hosted at USIU-Africa was privileged to co-host this year’s Africa Evidence Summit (AES) with the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA). Every year, the AES brings together African scholars, U.S. based faculty, policymakers and practitioners to present their research findings and foster collaborations that incorporate evidence as an integral part of decision making. This year’s edition themed Bolstering African Scholarship to advance the impact of evidence, took place in Nairobi, Kenya on June 19-20, 2023 attracting over 500 participants.

Prof. Amos Njuguna, Dean - School of Graduate Studies, Research and Extension atUSIU-Africa and NIERA Chair noted in his welcome remarks that the AES brings together various stakeholders in the policy ecosystem to share and appreciate what has already been done and to showcase contributions by researchers and solutions that have been implemented. In his key note, Dr. Eliya Zulu - Executive Director, African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) urged African experts and scholars to step up, define, own and drive Africa’s research agenda in alignment to decision makers’ needs.

This year’s summit provided an opportune platform for showcasing NIERA’s impact through programs such as the Demand-Driven Research Initiative (DDRI). This research is characterized by its responsiveness to the needs and priorities of stakeholders, including policymakers, practitioners, and communities affected by the issues being studied. This approach emphasizes the need for research that is directly relevant to the challenges faced by decision-makers, with the goal of informing evidence-based policy and program development. To this end, research highlights from three projects namely i) Gamified Savings as a Problem Gambling Intervention by Dr. Laura Barasa & Dr. Annet Adong; ii) Artistic Pathways: Navigating the Road to Employment in the Creative Sector by Prof. Amos Njuguna and ii) Reducing Poverty Among the Urban Poor in Uganda: Evaluating the Effectiveness and Inclusiveness of the Parish Development Model by Dr. Nantongo Mary Gorret, were presented at the summit.

Another special feature was plenary sessions on incentivizing and resourcing African-led publications and the critical support needed for inclusive evidence generation paramount to policy decision-making. The sessions were an integral part of NIERA’s joint initiative with CEGA that aims to examine the extent of inclusion of African scholars in global development research. The 2-day summit also featured poster sessions which was an opportunity for attendees to display ongoing and completed programmatic and research work in various sectors. In her closing remarks, Jennifer Nyakinya - Program Manager at NIERA urged attendees to amplify impactful evidence and address policy makers' concerns. She emphasized the need to sustain the momentum and maximize the impact of evidence.

This year’s summit was held in partnership with the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP), Afrobarometer, Busara, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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