BUILDING AND SUPPORTING THE AFRICA EVIDENCE NETWORK (AEN)

Date: December 2012 – ongoing
Led by: Nasreen Jessani, Siziwe Ngcwabe and Ruth Stewart
ACE team: Charity Chisoro, Precious Motha, Likhwa Ncube
Funder: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation 2017 – present, building on support from the Department for International Development, United Kingdom 2014-2016
Portfolio: Evidence communities

The Africa Evidence Network (AEN) is a broad community of nearly 3000 diverse people who share a vision to see an end to poverty and inequality in Africa. The Network’s mission is to work with others to contribute to this vision by increasing the use of evidence in decision-making. The Network is pan-African, open to all who live and work on the continent.

It is unique in its inclusivity and diversity in six broad dimensions. It spans i) all countries in Africa; ii) all sectors across the Sustainable Development Goals; iii) all spheres, including government, academia, civil society and all intermediaries; iv) the full diversity of roles within these spheres from members of parliaments to program managers to researchers; v) all elements of the evidence production and use cycle, from the generation of evidence to its integration into policy and implementation; and vi) all types of evidence from administrative data, to evaluations of all kinds, to experimental research, to citizen experiences and systematic syntheses of primary studies.

Our goals are to foster collaboration among those engaged in or supporting evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) in Africa, increase knowledge and understanding of EIDM, share capacities across the evidence-informed decision-making ecosystem, improve the enabling context by promoting EIDM in Africa, and advocate for Africa’s full voice and participation in the national, regional and global movements to increase EIDM.

The team based at the Africa Centre for Evidence acts as the secretariat of the AEN. The director of ACE – Professor Ruth Stewart – is the chair of the Network and leads a multi-disciplinary team. The current secretariat includes Siziwe Ngcwabe (operations senior manager), Nasreen Jessani (strategic senior manager), Charity Chisoro (programme officer: enhancing evidence capacities), Likhwa Ncube (programme officer: understanding the art and science of evidence-use in Africa), and Precious Motha (programme officer: building collaborations). This core team is supported by the wider team at ACE to execute the activities of the Network.

Learn more about this community’s work – visit their website or follow them on Twitter.

The AEN organises its work strategically according to three workstreams:

NETWORK RELATIONS: The AEN seeks to understand, document and share what individuals and organisations are doing to support evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) in Africa. We intend to identify connections and facilitate constructive and mutually beneficial collaborations across the AEN.

CAPACITIES: The AEN seeks to ensure that there is improved access to and use of resources to advance capacity in the field of EIDM. We intend to increase Africa-Africa learning through various connections and collaborations.

UNDERSTANDING EVIDENCE-INFORMED DECISION-MAKING: The AEN seeks to generate accurate, reliable, clear information about what evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) is as it relates to the African continent and why it matters. We intend to systematically stimulate, collect and share debates, deliberations and discussions on the science and art of supporting evidence-use in Africa.