Cillian Nolan, Esther Duflo, Kaba Nialé, Hugues Kouadio and Vanessa Doucelin

J-PAL announces a new, multi-year training partnership in Côte d’Ivoire to increase the use of rigorous evidence in national policies and programmes

Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) Europe office, based at the Paris School of Economics, announced its plans to collaborate with the École Nationale Supérieure de Statistique et d’Économie Appliquée (ENSEA) of Abidjan on an ambitious capacity-building effort in Côte d’Ivoire to increase the use of rigorous evidence in national policies and programmes.

This collaboration, supported by the Ivorian government and the French Development Agency (AFD), will target students and in-service civil servants through a range of training programmes, including a master’s degree programme in rigorous policy impact evaluation and in-service training for civil servants, blending in-person events and online courses from MIT Open Learning. On 15 January 2024, J-PAL and ENSEA co-launched training that will equip 40-60 civil servants per year with the tools for rigorous impact evaluation.

The partnership in Côte d’Ivoire marks the beginning of a broader collaboration between J-PAL and Community Jameel, an international organisation advancing science and learning for communities to thrive, which will see the formal launch of a new Alliance for Data, Evaluation and Policy Training (ADEPT) later this year.

ADEPT will equip individuals and organisations around the world with the tools to innovate, test and scale policies and programs designed to fight poverty. This expansion of J-PAL’s capacity building work worldwide will empower a new generation with the capacity, ambition and opportunity to improve the lives of billions of people experiencing poverty.

Hugues Kouadio, director of ENSEA, said: “I am delighted to commit ENSEA as the first institution in Africa in this brand new and promising initiative to build solid human capital for the evaluation of public policies, so that every penny is spent efficiently to benefit development and help reduce poverty.”

ADEPT will unfold as a network of academic institutions, governments and multilateral organisations around the world working with J-PAL to offer high-quality training in rigorous impact evaluation and policy design. ADEPT will additionally aim to engage with governments and other learning institutions to empower civil servants and leadership to champion a culture of effective, evidence-based policymaking.

While ADEPT partnerships will include an initial collaboration with J-PAL to establish institutional training programmes, the goal is to ultimately lay a strong foundation that will enable these programmes to thrive in the long term without direct J-PAL involvement.

Esther Duflo, co-founder and director of J-PAL and the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said: “With demand for evidence continuing to grow, the world needs many more people with the capacity, ambition and opportunity to make change. ADEPT represents a new vision to scale our capacity building work beyond the limits of what we can achieve alone, creating a global ecosystem of evidence-informed policymaking that will help transform how decisions are made and improve countless lives.”

George Richards, director of Community Jameel, said: “ADEPT is a powerful new way for J-PAL to massively scale up its support for the worldwide movement of researchers and practitioners working to alleviate poverty with scientific evidence. With the need to expand this work as great as ever—in the face of climate change, conflict and other challenges—Community Jameel is supporting J-PAL to launch ADEPT later this year, and we are excited to see the ground laid for an ADEPT programme in Côte d’Ivoire.”

The work ahead requires a truly collaborative effort to engage new audiences and partners, and work with existing J-PAL partners in new ways, to breathe life into this vision, help shape it and put it into action.

A version of this article originally appeared here.

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