Africa Evidence Leadership Award 2023

Africa Evidence Leadership Award 2023



We believe that only together will evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) become a reality in Africa. Over the last decade the Africa Evidence Network (AEN) has grown into a broad community of over 4,000 diverse people who share a vision to see an end to poverty and inequality in Africa. The Network’s mission is to facilitate connections and collaborations to contribute to this vision by increasing EIDM together.

The Network is pan-African, open to all who live and work on the continent. It is unique in its inclusivity and diversity in six broad dimensions. It spans i) all countries in Africa; ii) all sectors across the Sustainable Development Goals; iii) all spheres, including government, academia, civil society, citizens, and all intermediaries; iv) the full diversity of roles within these spheres from members of parliaments to program managers to researchers; v) all elements of the evidence production and use cycle, from the generation of evidence to its integration into policy and implementation; and vi) all types of evidence from administrative data, to evaluations of all kinds, to experimental research, to citizen experiences and systematic syntheses of primary studies. Its strategic goals are to: foster collaboration among those engaged in or supporting EIDM in Africa, increase knowledge and understanding of EIDM, share capacities across the EIDM ecosystem, improve the enabling context by promoting EIDM in Africa, and advocate for Africa’s full voice and participation in the national, regional, and global movements to increase EIDM.


The Africa Evidence Leadership Award (AELA) is the Africa Evidence Network’s (AEN) initiative that works on a nomination basis and is awarded annually. The award was established in 2018 by the AEN, with the threefold purpose of: 

  1. Increasing awareness of evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) in Africa;
  2. Raising the status of evidence amongst decision-makers in Africa; and
  3. Showcasing the status of Africa in EIDM discussions by recognising impactful, insightful, effective, and/or innovative work that supports EIDM in Africa. 


The award is provided as a virtual participation bursary should travel be restricted due to the pandemic and will be administered through the AEN secretariat who will coordinate with and pay event organisers directly. Award-winners will not be given any of the award directly. The recipient of the award will be required to sign a contract of more specific terms and conditions and will be an AEN brand ambassador.

The recipients of the award will receive:  

  • A space in the biennial EVIDENCE programme to deliver a keynote address or alternatively be part of a panel discussion on their work 
  • Up to USD500 grant contribution towards your participation in a high-profile course or event of your choice on EIDM [1]
  • A token of recognition presented at the next EVIDENCE virtual or in person event 


This award is a given to individuals[2] only. Only AEN members can nominate other AEN members to receive this award. To be eligible for the award, the nominee must: 

  • Be a member of the AEN having joined the Network at minimum one year prior to their nomination,
  • Be able to demonstrate leadership in and an influential contribution to EIDM in Africa,
  • Work in any sector as long as they can motivate their participation in EIDM[3] as an evidence-user, evidence-producer, evidence-broker or any combination of these,
  • Provide proof of citizenship of and/or permanent residence in an African country (as defined by the United Nations),
  • Be available for the entire duration of EVIDENCE 2023, and must commit to giving a keynote address or alternatively be part of a panel discussion at the event, and
  • Be able to provide clear evidence of an exceptional contribution to EIDM.


Winners in the following 3 categories will be recognised: 1) Producers of evidence, 2), Evidence mediators (knowledge brokers or knowledge translators) and 3) Evidence users. Each category will have a winner and one runner up.

Category 1: Producers of evidence

AELA recognises outstanding individuals working as producers of evidence in the EIDM ecosystem. These individuals have contributed significantly to the generation of evidence from administrative data, evaluations of all kinds, experimental research, citizen experiences, and systematic syntheses of primary studies.

Category 2: Evidence mediators / knowledge brokers / knowledge translators

Secondly, AELA recognises outstanding individuals working as intermediaries also known as evidence mediator’s or knowledge brokers or translators in the EIDM ecosystem. These individuals connect and facilitate the relationship between the production of research /those who produce it, and the use of research /those who use it. They enable the use of research-based evidence in decision-making[4].

Category 3: Evidence users

Lastly, AELA recognises outstanding individuals working as evidence users. These individuals have contributed significantly to the public policy sector through various ways such as awareness of evidence-based decision-making, the use of evidence in policy design and implementation.


This award considers nominations only; no applications are taken into consideration for the Africa Evidence Leadership Award. Deadline for nominations is 31 March 2023. To submit a nomination, a nominator submits the 1) nomination form containing all supporting information AND the 2) confirmation form (completed by the nominee) to the AEN secretariat (via by 31 March 2023 23:59 SAST. All documentation should be emailed in PDF format to the AEN secretariat at[5] with the subject line AEN AWARD NOMINATION

Nominations in either English or French will be accepted. We can provide French translation of this guidance for applicants if required. 


After the submission deadline, the nominations will be reviewed by the AEN awards committee, and a list of shortlisted nominees will be prepared. Thereafter online profiles of shortlisted nominees (protecting the contact information of applicants; shared publicly only with their permission) will be shared via the AEN. Each AEN member will have one opportunity to vote for their preferred shortlisted nominee until 21 May 2023. The final shortlisted nominations will be considered by both governance structures of the AEN (Reference and Advisory Groups), with three award-winners and three runners-up being announced by 1 June 2023.


The Africa Evidence Leadership Award seeks to recognise individuals who have demonstrated clear and enduring leadership in the field of EIDM on the African continent. The nomination must include evidence of the candidate’s experience in this field, their influence in advancing EIDM in their contexts, and their relative reach. Examples could include strong advocacy for EIDM; introducing innovations in evidence production, brokering and/or use; enhancing structures for use of evidence for decision-making; creating enabling environments for EIDM; fostering collaborations to enhance EIDM; embedding EIDM into previously resistant environments etc. 

Criteria for assessment therefore is not prescriptive but rather reflective of the unique career trajectories and EIDM activities of the candidate as per the nomination. The panel will look for evidence of knowledge, experience and leadership in assessing the submission for each candidate. These could include, but are not limited to, awards, distinctions, publications, policies, public engagement, sector reach and diversity, leadership roles (formal and informal) etc. 

To enquire about the award or anything pertaining to the award, contact Hazel Zaranyika via

#AELA2023 #AfricaLovesEvidence #EVIDENCE2023

[1] Some eligible events or courses include: Global Evidence Summit, Global Evidence and Implementation Summit, biennial conference of the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence, Cochrane Colloquium. Award winners are welcome to propose to the award committee additional events or courses not listed here. The award is valid for a year.

[2] Members of the AEN secretariat, Advisory Group, and Reference Group are precluded from being nominated for the award while they hold positions within these bodies. However, members of the AEN secretariat, Advisory Group, and Reference Group may nominate other AEN members for the Award.

[3] For the purposes of the award, the EIDM sector is defined as both the supply and demand/use of research evidence (which includes monitoring and evaluation, impact evaluations, evidence synthesis, and data and knowledge management). This definition is intended to be broad so as to be as inclusive as possible. If you feel your work is not represented by this definition, kindly contact us at

[4] Knight, C & Lyall, C 2013, 'Knowledge brokers the role of intermediaries in producing research impact: the role of intermediaries in producing research impact' Evidence and Policy, vol 9, no. 3, pp. 309-316., 10.1332/174426413X671941

[5] Nominations in other formats where online access is problematic will be accepted on condition that the nominee have successfully contacted the AEN secretariat by phone or email by 21 February 2023 to arrange the alternative submission process. Nominations posted to us without prior agreement may not reach us timeously and therefore cannot be accepted.