“I have made personal contacts that I think will help me in my career growth”
by Linda Etale
In October 2019, Linda Etale was perusing the Africa Centre for Evidence (ACE) website while looking for employment and came across the AEN. It was surprising for her to come across a network that has a large number of people doing the kind of work that she has always been passionate about since her working career, and so she joined the networking thinking “I have been doing the sort work for organisation X and NGO Y. I had heard about evidence based decision making before, now here is whole network of many individuals also working in the EIDM space, I would be really interested in learning how they do their work and that is how I joined the network”.
She distinctly recalls the Africa Evidence Week which took place in September 2019. It was in this week that she got to learn about what the experts are doing in different parts Africa with regards evidence based work. She says she was “actually shocked” because she used to think that this area (EIDM) of work is not really populated. She goes on to say “ In the short time I have been part of the network, that particular activity is one that stood out for me because it also drew attention of donors and other people who are not part of the network who are outside of Africa who want to know what is happening within Africa”.
She emphasises the role of the AEN in her personal growth as follows: “I have made personal contacts that I think will help me in my career growth” in according to my passions and my area of expertise. For me it’s about professional growth as a person. Because I am able to network. I know who I want to speak to and I know who I want to work with in the future. Possibly working relationships, you know that how I would look at it.” It is for these various reasons she joined the AEN as a member.
Linda describes herself as a gender and environment specialist mainly focused on climate change adaptations, environment adaptation, food security and other gendered issues such as land rights for women, also men and the youth. She has worked with farmers and communities at grass roots. She especially enjoyed women groups and felt she helped them learn how to conserve the environment even as they farm, and even as they look for their livelihoods and maintain food security in their homes. The few months as a member as well as working with the AEN has shown her that there is a lot that needs to be done as far as providing evidence toward decision making. She says “We didn’t ensure that our information is properly backed up, for example when we were writing a proposal. Now I am seeing the need, I think there is a need for thoroughly, well thought out and well documented research evidence that supports for example, policy and advocacy centered projects”.