Lessons learned from SEDI’s predecessor programmes, such as Building the Capacity to Use Research Evidence (2013-2017), have shown that certain minimum capacities, institutions, and incentives need to be in place for promoting evidence use in government decision-making. Understanding political economy dynamics within policymaking and programming is crucial for identifying what shapes the potential for catalysing change.
Building on this, SEDI kicked off its work in Ghana, Pakistan and Uganda by conducting a political economy analysis of evidence use in the sectors identified by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. We looked at economic development, public financial management, taxation, and health in Ghana; economic development, education pathways into employment, and child labour in Pakistan; and humanitarian, family planning, and gender in Uganda.
During this analysis phase, we examined a few key questions:
- How does the policymaking process work and why? What role does evidence play in that?
- Whose evidence is seen as more or less credible and legitimate?
- Whose voices count in decision-making processes around policy and programming, and why?
We used an innovative methodological framework that combined multiple lenses. This included:
- A macro and sectoral lens that drew on classic political economy models,
- An ecosystem lens to examine the actors and their relationships, and
- An organisational lens to explore the spaces for change in public agencies.
In addition, we took a cross-cutting approach to look at gender equality and social inclusion.