In 2020, the Africa Evidence Network (AEN) hosted Evidence 2020 Online, an event that brought together experts from the evidence ecosystem in Africa. As a part of the event, a group of AEN members worked to produce a draft manifesto that highlighted the importance of indigenous capacity development. Over several online sessions, they presented case studies, held discussions, and invited feedback from participants. Fast forward to 2021, at the recent Africa Evidence Week they released the product of those sessions: the AEN Manifesto on Capacity Development for Evidence-Informed Decision-Making (EIDM).
The aim of the Manifesto was to strengthen capacity development collaborations, coordinate efforts towards the same, and establish a shared understanding of evidence capacities in Africa. Over Africa Evidence Week 2021, they unpacked some of the guiding principles that define this Africa-led approach and what it means for the EIDM community.
The panelists discussed how this Manifesto embodies a collaborative method of working with partners and stakeholders, as opposed to simply passing off knowledge, to close capacity gaps. They also emphasised the need to strengthen in-country capacity development by supporting partners in connecting with local academic and capacity development institutions in order to establish a more sustainable effort. And most importantly, an African-led approach has to respond to the African context and existing policy frameworks that can guide evidence approaches, rather than importing novel ideas.