PEP-PIERI Research Director, Maria Laura Alzua, discussed capacity building for conducting local impact evaluations in Africa at the Evidence 2018 conference.Hosted in Pretoria, South Africa by the Africa Evidence Network, the conference aims to encourage, promote and showcase evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) in Africa.
Maria Laura attended as a panellist for the September 27 session on Role of Monitoring and Evaluation in EIDM. Her presentation focused on three questions that are particularly relevant to Africa but also to developing countries in general:
- Why develop locally-based impact evaluations to inform policy-makers?
- How can we develop these capacities?
- What can we learn from other developing regions?
She explained that conducting locally based impact evaluations in Africa is important, as local actors tend to be more familiar with each country’s context and have better knowledge of local institutions and policymakers.
“Despite the enormous growth of Impact Evaluations conducted in East and West Africa, local research capacities are not growing enough to meet demand,” she said, “This represents a challenge, given the scarcity of resources in some of the African countries.”
Maria Laura also highlighted other regions, such as Latin America, that show how impact evaluations of local policies have enhanced the quality of their social policies. She provided the example of the successful impact evaluation of the first Conditional Cash Transfer Policy Progresa in Mexico. “Its sound evaluation showing positive impacts and cost benefit analysis helped to spread the better design of targeted anti-poverty programs,” she said.