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Lessons learned from Evidence-Informed Decision-Making in Nutrition & Health (EVIDENT) in Africa: a project evaluation

Lessons learned from Evidence-Informed Decision-Making in Nutrition & Health (EVIDENT) in Africa: a project evaluation

Health Research Policy and Systems 17(1): 12

Evidence-informed Decision-making in Nutrition and Health (EVIDENT) is an international partnership that seeks to identify information needs in nutrition and health in Africa and build local capacity in knowledge management to help translate the best available evidence into context-appropriate recommendations aligned to the priorities of decision-makers. This study evaluates the extent to which EVIDENT achieved its intended activities, documents the lessons learned and draws on these lessons learned to inform future activities of EVIDENT, as well as in evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) in nutrition overall. Purposive and snowball sampling were used to identify participants that were either directly or indirectly involved with EVIDENT. An analytical framework of five key elements was developed to guide data collection from EVIDENT's documentation, in-depth interviews (n = 20), online surveys (n = 26) and a participatory discussion. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded in NVivo 11, using deductive thematic content analysis and a phenomenological approach. Online surveys were analysed using Stata 14. Data were triangulated to address both objectives under each element of the analytical framework. EVIDENT succeeded in establishing a collaborative partnership, within which it delivered four short courses in EIDM. This capacity complemented case study activities in four partner African countries where EIDM processes were implemented and assessed. Identified barriers to these processes included little experience in EIDM, difficulties in engaging stakeholders, challenging local environments (e.g. donor influence, bureaucracy, inaccessibility to scientific research, poor internet connectivity), and limited time and funding. However, EVIDENT activities were driven by a local need for EIDM, a sheer interest and commitment to the cause, and the opportunity for the Global North and South to work together and build relationships. Future activities of EVIDENT, and EIDM in nutrition overall, should focus on sustained capacity-building in EIDM processes, leadership and functional skills across the Global South, investment in stakeholder engagement, context-specific EIDM, enhanced communication and linking, and strengthening relationships with existing stakeholder organisations. In its first 3 years, EVIDENT developed and strengthened partnership, capacity and visibility on EIDM in Africa. Innovative and long-term capacity-building, dedicated leadership, further stakeholder engagement and sustainable financing, are needed for future activities of EVIDENT and EIDM in nutrition.

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Accession: 066446623

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 30704528

DOI: 10.1186/s12961-019-0413-6

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