Recently, the Africa Evidence Network (AEN) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) launched the first annual AELA to recognise and honour people who have raised the awareness of evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) in Africa.
Ms Velia Manyonga, Head of the Research Division at the Parliament of Malawi, is the first recipient of the Africa Evidence Leadership Award (AELA). "It is so wonderful to have been chosen for this award to acknowledge and support Africa's achievement in evidence-informed policy-making", says Ms Manyonga.
The first winner of this prestigious award , worth over USD4000 has been vetted by the membership as well as the advisory group of the AEN which spans not only Africa but the globe and includes distinguished individuals working in EIDM.
"There is a lot of good work being done by Africans for Africa and our hope is not only to celebrate those who are giving back but to also encourage the spirit of Ubuntu in others. We need to acknowledge the innovative leadership in evidence-informed decision-making happening in Africa and showcase it to the world," explains AEN Senior Manager Siziwe Ngcwabe, UJ.
Ms Manyona will be presenting her EIDM work with the parliament of Malawi as a keynote address in the programme at the upcoming EVIDENCE 2018 conference, taking place from 25 September 2018 until 28 September 2018 in Pretoria South Africa (for more information on the conference, click here).
Ms Manyonga was selected out of a pool of government officials, civil society, and researchers – among others –who were all eligible to apply for the award. Out of this pool of applicants, a total of five candidates were shortlisted; these people include Dr Julian Bagyendera of Uganda, Dr Richmond Nii Okai Aryeetey of Ghana, Dr Patrick Okwen of Cameroon, and Ms Jennifer Mutua of Kenya. In addition to the winner of the AELA, two honourable mentions were selected for their impressive work in EIDM in Africa: Dr Patrick Okwen of Cameroon and Ms Jennifer Mutua of Kenya.
Speaking of how she champions evidence-informed decision-making in her current role, Ms Manyonga says "My work involves accessing, synthesising, and helping Members of Parliament to apply evidence in their decision-making roles within Parliament."
The aim of the award is to showcase the status of Africa in global EIDM discussions by recognising impactful, insightful, and innovative engagement with EIDM in Africa. Administered by the AEN secretariat as a travel grant, the award will be awarded annually by the AEN. To find out more about the application procedure to prepare for the next call, click here.