Strengthening the use of Evidence for Development Impact (SEDI) is a five-year programme designed to strengthen the use of evidence in policymaking in selected sectors in three countries (Uganda, Ghana and Pakistan) contributing to more efficient and effective decision-making. It builds on the available evidence and on lessons from the British Department for International Development (DFID’s) Building Capacity to use Research Evidence (BCURE) CURE programme (2013-2017.

The SEDI operation in Uganda will be coordinated by the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), the most reputable and credible independent policy think tank in Uganda, known for providing research-based evidence to support the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of government policies across a number of key socio-economic sectors. Uganda will have sectoral partners namely Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU), International Rescue Committee (IRC) and School of Gender for the three sectors:  family planning, humanitarian and gender. These will lead the sectoral Political Economy Analyses (PEAs) while EPRC (National partner) will do the country level PEA and knowledge system analysis.

The overall objectives of the SEDI are to increase the instrumental use of evidence so that robust evidence directly informs policy or program decision during policy design and implementation. Increasing the embedded use of evidence in processes, systems and working culture in government decision making structures, is the other objective.

The program designers cite limited demand and use of evidence by policy makers in DFID priority countries identified constraints to improving demand and use of evidence namely: limited individual and organizational capacity to use evidence; political economy factors constraining use of evidence; timeliness and windows of opportunity to use evidence  are underutilized  both by policy makers and by evidence providers; minimum capacities, institutions and incentives are required if evidence is to inform policy and that there is insufficient co-ordination between demand for and supply of evidence.

The program will offer an opportunity to examine in detail the said constraints and their underpinning assumptions; and to design, pilot and test possible approaches to reducing or overcoming them. From the BCURE evaluation, SEDI incorporates two principles of a political informed approach and a focus on sectors that are conducive to evidence uptake.

A SEDI inception meeting was held in Accra, Ghana, from July 15 to 17, 2019 where EPRC was represented by Dr. Mildred Barungi and Ms. Gemma Ahaibwe. The purpose of the meeting was for all the partners to gain a shared understanding of the project approach, roles and responsibilities and to explore how partners will work together to deliver to DFID. At the meeting, EPRC delegates made a presentation about EPRC sharing experiences regarding how the Centre has influenced policies and policy processes.

The team in Uganda will be led by Dr. Swaibu Mbowa, Senior Research fellow at EPRC and will be supported by research fellows Ms Ahaibwe and Dr. Barungi.

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