The Africa Evidence Network (AEN) is a broad community of nearly 3000 diverse people who share a vision to see an end to poverty and inequality in Africa. The Network’s mission is to work with others to contribute to this vision by increasing the use of evidence in decision-making. 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 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.
Our goals are to foster collaboration among those engaged in or supporting evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) in Africa, increase knowledge and understanding of EIDM, share capacities across the evidence-informed decision-making 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 Centre for Evidence is a research organisation based at the University of Johannesburg that was founded at the end of 2016. ACE’s mission is to contribute to the reduction of poverty and inequality in Africa and South Africa through the use of evidence. To achieve this goal, ACE aligns all its work with the Sustainable Development Goals and the National Development Plan of South Africa. There are four strategic goals that ACE organises its work according to: 1) understand the art and science of using evidence better, 2) build strong evidence capacities, 3) support meaningful evidence communities, 4) produce rigorous and relevant evidence syntheses. The ACE team is multi-disciplinary, and ACE is the secretariat to the AEN.
ACE’s work is value-driven; ACE is: motivated by making a positive, rights-based and socially-just difference; committed to equity and equality; focused on building trust and relationships; dedicated to sharing capacity and opportunity; respectful of others’ expertise, experience and perspectives; committed to zero tolerance for any form of discrimination, harassment or abuse; and unwavering in delivering high-quality work, on time, and to budget.
There are three parts to the governance structure of the AEN. Internally, the chairperson(s) provides oversight for the Network, and works closely with the senior manager of the AEN in liaising s of the Network about progress of the AEN towards its goals. Externally, the AEN has an advisory group and a reference group. The advisory group consists of prominent individuals in the EIDM space both regionally and internationally who provide guidance on the strategic direction of the Network. Membership to this group is invited. The reference group is made up of a representative sample of AEN members who share their time and energy to review suggestions for change within the Network, and provide a member's perspective on the direction the AEN takes. Any AEN member can volunteer to be part of the reference group.