October 4-6, 2023 | Cotonou, BeninSpeaking at the 2023 Benin Evaluation Days, PEP mentors highlight how public policy evaluation can be improved through close research-policy collaboration.
PEP mentors, researchers and alumni participated in the sixth edition of the Journées béninoises de l'Évaluation (Benin Evaluation Days), promoting the use of impact evaluations to make public policies more effective and sustainable.
The event aims to examine the issues and challenges of public policy evaluation at different levels of government. The theme of the 2023 edition was "Digital technology to strengthen national evaluation systems."
PEP-affiliated participants used this opportunity to endorse the effectiveness of the PEP approach to policy evaluation: locally-based researchers engaging with the relevant policy processes and stakeholders throughout the research project.
Claude Sinzogan, PEP Policy Outreach Advisor, participated in two panel discussions. During the discussion on the “Role of Technical and Financial Partners in the promotion of an evaluation culture in Benin and Africa," he explained the importance of researchers consulting closely with the research users and policymakers from the outset of a project. Drawing on his experience of national evaluation systems, Mr. Sinzogan stated that the government should establish and ensure mechanisms for consultations between local experts and decision-makers.
As a panellist on “Demand-driven research for public policy development: challenges and opportunities,” Mr. Sinzogan spoke about the challenges for both the research producers and the research users. He again highlighted the importance of collaboration between these two sides for effective public policy evaluation and development. This theme was further explored by PEP alumnus, Dr. Fidèle Dedehouanou, during the final panel discussion of the event.
Professor Habiba Djebbari, a PEP Resource Person for the Experimental Group, joined the panel on “How can digital technology contribute to promote impact evaluation in Africa?” remotely from France. Explaining that there is very little impact evaluation in Africa compared to the rest of the world, she emphasised the importance of creating a culture of in-country evaluation where the policymakers invest in locally-produced research.
During this panel, Prof. Djebbari joined her Canada-based colleague in the Microeconomic Analysis Group, Professor Alphonse Singbo, as well as experts from J-PAL Africa, the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning and Benin’s National Statistics and Demographics Institute.
A team of local PEP researchers also attended to share some preliminary findings from their project on Introducing ICT-enabled climate services to build smallholder farmers' resilience: evidence from an experimental study in Benin. This project is supported under the Fostering Autonomous Local Impact Evaluations for Policymaking (FALIEP) in East and West Africa initiative.
The Benin Evaluation Days are organized by Benin’s Ministry of Development through the General Directorate of Evaluation and Observatory of Social Change (Dgeocs), headed by (PEP alumna) Nadège Gbetoton Djossou.
While focused primarily on public policy evaluation in Benin, the event also attracted participants from more than a dozen other countries. These included Niger, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina-Faso, Canada, Ghana, South Africa, and France.