The African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) in conjunction with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) convened a three day review of the Evidence-Informed Policy Making (EIPM) Training Curriculum aimed at making tangible improvements to the curriculum.
The meeting held at a Nairobi hotel, Wednesday, October 6, 2021, was meant to bring together skilled, experienced trainers with in-depth understanding of the public policy decision-making processes in a round table discussion.
While acknowledging the importance of the EIPM curriculum, the JKUAT Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Prof. Robert Kinyua, appealed for the introduction of the curriculum in training programmes in research and academic institutions in Kenya in a move he said, will be significant in providing evidence-informed policy making training.
On his part, the JKUAT team leader, Dr. Dennis Magu, who is also a senior Lecturer at the University said evidence, is essential in the formulation of a strong policy, pointing out that evidence ensured all stakeholder issues were equally addressed, hence, ensuring inclusivity.
“As JKUAT we are delighted to be in this journey with AFIDEP in a move that will be essentially important in streamlining policy making in this country. As experienced trainers, we feel the course is timely,” Dr. Magu asserted.
He further noted that most institutions had complex policies that majority of their employees did not understand, which was a huge drawback in policy implementation and impact, further revealing that the curriculum was geared towards giving the policy makers a good grounding in formulating comprehensible policies that will have a positive impact.
Dr. Magu emphasized on the need for packaging information in a simpler manner, especially policy-related, which he said, was crucial as it would benefit the masses.
To date, efforts to address barriers to research use have largely focused on supply of evidence rather than strengthening its demand, noting that building capacity of policymakers to find, analyze and apply evidence in their work has received less attention and investment. This he said, was negatively affecting policy making in the country.
“Best practices in capacity building affirm that supportive follow up contact with participants is necessary to reinforce new skills and knowledge. A unique aspect of the EIPM training is that it includes a one year follow-up programme,” he said.
According to the Director, Public Policy and Knowledge Translation, AFIDEP, Dr. Rose Oronje who lead the curriculum development together with Kirsten Krueger of Family Health International (FHI) 360 said, over the years, there had been an increase in the prioritization of evidence which is essentially important in informing key decisions in the global development of policies.
Dr. Oronje, said, the adoption of evidence in the real world still lags behind with programmes and interventions not as effective as they could be. The curriculum, she further emphasized, is aimed at strengthening the technical capacity of mid-level policy-makers in the health sector in low and middle-income countries which will be crucial in addressing this issue.
“This curriculum will contribute to the global momentum to cultivate a culture of valued and effective informed policy making,” Dr. Oronje said.
She said the curriculum has a strong monitoring and evaluation framework comprising several tools and activities for measuring learning adding that it contained five modules, namely; Foundation of Policy Making and Evidence use, Accessing Evidence, Appraising Evidence, Synthesizing Evidence, and Applying Evidence in policy making.
She told the meeting, the curriculum development was informed by a needs assessment by both the Kenya and Malawi health ministries in addressing capacity gaps of technical staff to access, appraise, synthesize and apply evidence for policy making.
Though the target is mid-level policy makers in the health sector, Dr. Oronje hopes the curriculum will be beneficial to other sectors as it would develop effective evidence-informed policies.
She underscored the importance of collaborations with higher institutions of learning in a move that will ensure the availability and adoption of the training curricula by other professionals.
The curriculum was made possible through the support of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) under the SECURE Health agreement.