Policy Outreach at J-PAL Africa

The J-PAL Africa policy team works with governments, researchers, and NGOs to increase evidence use by bridging the gap between rigorous research and action in sub-Saharan Africa to improve lives at scale. Based in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, our policy staff work across the continent. Our work covers a wide variety of topics and we have substantial experience catalyzing evidence use in various sectors, including Education and Labor Markets.

Featured Policy Outreach

Digital Identification and Finance Initiative

The Digital Identification and Finance Initiative (DigiFI) for Africa aims to generate rigorous evidence on how African governments, private companies, and NGOs can leverage digital payments and identification systems to improve lives through better public service delivery, governance, and financial inclusion. To achieve this vision, DigiFI plans to support governments and other implementers to monitor and evaluate relevant reforms. Learn more »

Contact: Teresa Lezcano Cadwallader

Girls’ Education and Empowerment

J-PAL Africa's Girls’ Education and Empowerment (GE&E) Portfolio aims to improve the lives of adolescent girls in West Africa by ensuring that policies and programmes targeting girls are informed by scientific evidence. Learn more.

Contact: [email protected]


How the J-PAL Africa Policy Team Works

The J-PAL Africa policy team builds partnerships with governments, researchers and NGOs to support the use of evidence from randomized evaluations to drive policy reform and practice to improve lives at scale. We work with partners to understand their contextual needs, challenges and priorities. We then map whether new or existing evidence could be applied to address these needs. We understand that effective use of evidence at scale can take time, and thus engage in long-term partnerships with scaling partners to effectively bridge the gap between research, policy and practice. Our support to evidence application includes:

  1. Nurturing the development of policy relevant research

    Our team supports the development of policy-relevant research, including identifying cross-cutting policy priorities, supporting fundraising and matching researchers to governments and implementing partners, an example of this work is the DigiFI Africa.

  2. Sharing relevant policy insights

    Our team tailors global evidence to local contexts to provide clear, concise and relevant lessons with policymakers and implementers to inform policies and programs.

  3. Supporting the scale-up of effective programs

    We provide support to scale-up evidence-informed interventions in the context where they were studied if shown to be successful. This includes convening and coordination of partners, knowledge management and technical assistance for scale partners. We also support the application of global evidence to new local contexts. This includes working with governments and NGOs to assess whether a program is a good fit using the generalizability framework, connecting scaling partners to the original implementing teams, providing implementation resources, and initiating strategic multi-partner collaborations to pilot and scale-up programs effectively. An example of this kind of work is Teaching at the Right Level Africa.

Case Study: Scaling Teaching at the Right Level across Contexts. 

J-PAL Africa achieved a meaningful policy milestone by launching Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa with the NGO Pratham in 2019. TaRL Africa collaborates with governments and partners across Africa to address the learning crisis in primary schools through TaRL, an educational approach that builds foundational reading and math skills. In Zambia, the Ministry of General Education, supported by many partners including USAID, UNICEF, and VVOB, reached over 3,000 schools and more than 500,000 children in 2022 through Catch Up, Zambia's Teaching at the Right Level program. In 2022, Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) Africa became an independent entity and registered as a Kenyan organization. The TaRL Africa team continues to successfully support governments and partners to use the evidence-based TaRL approach in over ten African countries with over three million children reached.

For more information on policy outreach at J-PAL Africa, please contact Tessie Lezcano.