New partnership to bridge research, policy gap

The government, in partnership with the Jameel Abdul Latif Poverty Action Lab (J-Pal), a US-based research centre, is to increase the use of research in policymaking.

The government, in partnership with the Jameel Abdul Latif Poverty Action Lab (J-Pal), a US-based research centre, is to increase the use of research in policymaking.

The partnership will span the sectors in which J-Pal’s leading researchers and academics from across the world can provide greatest evidence.

J-Pal is based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology .

Launched through a memorandum of understanding in Kigali, yesterday, the partnership will focus on four goals: sharing evidence from randomised evaluations to inform policy decisions; building the capacity of senior government policymakers through training in research methods and analysis; and generating new evidence using randomised evaluation of important Rwandan programmes.

The memorandum will also enable joint exploration of opportunities for funding to scale up effective programmes and create new research.

“We are looking forward to formulate policies that are backed by research and evidence. That way, policy will be effective,” Kampeta Sayinzoga, the Finance ministry permanent secretary and Secretary to the Treasury, said.

Invaluable lessons

Laura Poswell, the executive director of J-Pal Africa, said partnering with Rwanda offers opportunities to share lessons from J-Pal’s research, which would be valuable in policy-making. 

“The MoU gives us the opportunity to explore areas that could impact policy making but also provides an opportunity to partner with Rwanda in research and also offer capacity building to policymakers,” Poswell said.

In May, government and J-Pal hosted a policy symposium to discuss the results of research studies, particularly salient to the Rwandan context.

After the symposium, the ministries of Agriculture, Education, Health and Infrastructure invited J-Pal to share results from their particular sectors.  

The move was initiated after government invited the founders of J-Pal to the country to share the evidence generated through its network of leading academics across the world. 

J-Pal’s network of 80 affiliated professors has produced more than 450 randomised evaluations in 52 countries.

More than 63 million people have been reached by policies found to be effective by J-Pal-affiliated researchers.

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