Picture credit: Lauren Graham, Centre for Social Development in Africa
UJ receives million dollar cash boost TOWARDS POVERTY and inequality reduction in Africa THE COMPLEXITY OF THESE CHALLENGES AND THE GREAT POTENTIAL FOR MEANINGFUL CHANGE HIGHLIGHT THE NEED FOR GREATER AWARENESS OF RELATED ACTIVITIES AND OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLABORATION.
The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is $1-million richer. The University’s Africa Evidence Network (AEN) received the windfall from the Hewlett Foundation. The money was allocated to UJ as part of AEN’s efforts to reduce poverty and inequality in Africa. Said Prof Ruth Stewart, chairperson
of UJ’s AEN: “Poverty and inequality are complex and
profound challenges in Africa for which shared and collaborative solutions, using high-quality evidence, are required. This groundbreaking deal will enable the AEN to support evidence- informed decision-making, increasing the effectiveness of policies and their implementation. It will help reduce waste and increase accountability and transparency.” Prof Stewart recognises that thousands of individuals and hundreds of organisations are working to develop the use of evidence in decision making across the continent but that obstacles, such as isolation, a lack of understanding of what works, and a limited coherence across the evidence ecosystem, all hamper the needed results. “The need for stronger relationships and greater collaboration on a system level are not prioritised.
governments, AEN is thus a leader internationally. “As a continent-wide network spanning the major stakeholder groups in evidence-informed decision-making, the AEN has the potential to bring key players together and to provide a neutral space where norms and practices can be jointly discussed and set as a community. It is encouraging to see the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation investing in the University. This investment will translate our advances into socioeconomic gains for the country and the region,” Prof Stewart said.
There is an underinvestment in the African evidence ecosystem in the relationship and collaboration-based organisations and initiatives. The complexity of these challenges and the great potential for meaningful change highlight the need for greater awareness of related activities and of opportunities for collaboration. This calls for better coordinated advocacy for evidence and development of relevant capacities,” she said. As the only continental evidence network, spanning 40 countries and more than 20 African
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