Policy Outreach at J-PAL Africa

Students participating in a TaRL activity in Africa

Ongoing policy pilots

Teaching at the Right Level

Based on the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) pedagogical approach, the program aims to improve the basic literacy and numeracy skills of primary school students by grouping them according to ability and providing them with instruction tailored to their learning level. In Zambia, the policy team is working with the Ministry of General Education to roll out the Catch-Up Program. The policy team is also conducting exploratory work for this program in a number of countries across the continent. Learn more »

Contact: Ashleigh Morrell

Incentives for Immunization

In Sierra Leone, the policy team is working with the World Food Programme on a pilot of a program that provides food based incentives at health clinics in Moyamba district to increase immunization rates and reduce chronic malnutrition. The incentives are conditional on children receiving timely immunizations and mothers receiving regular and timely antenatal care (ANC). Learn more »

Contact: Emily Cupito

Parliamentary Debates

In Sierra Leone, the policy team is assisting Search for Common Ground as they expand parliamentary debates between MP candidates from 14 to 45 constituencies for the 2018 parliamentary elections. By filming, publicly screening, and publicizing the debates in constituencies, the program aims to improve voter knowledge, inform voting behaviour, and increase MP accountability.

Contact: Emily Cupito

Asset-collateralized loans for water tanks

In Rwanda, the policy team is working with the Rwanda Agricultural Board on a pilot of the Water Tanks Loan Program. The program aims to improve dairy farmers’ access to water by getting Savings and Credit Cooperatives to offer them asset-collateralized loans for the purchase of rainwater harvesting tanks. Learn more »​​​​​​​

Contact: Emily Cupito

The J-PAL Africa Approach: Globally Informed, Locally Grounded

Our approach to evidence-informed policymaking is informed by a practical framework that you can learn more about in this Stanford Social Innovation Review article by J-PAL North America's Mary Ann Bates and J-PAL Global's Rachel Glennerster.

Flow chart: 1. Share evidence with a view to program implementation; 2. Collaborate on program design that is responsive to demands of local context; 3. Work with local stakeholders to pilot evidence-based program; 4. Support policymakers in scaling up

The policy team supports policymakers interested in scaling evidence-informed innovations. By embedding ourselves locally with international assistance from J-PAL affiliated professors, our team’s unique perspective is both locally grounded and globally informed. 

We initiate globally informed action by synthesizing and packaging rigorous research in a way that allows policymakers and practitioners to dive into the practicalities of program implementation. We ensure that programs are grounded in the local context through context scoping and collaborative program design. This work includes working with policymakers to map their needs to the evidence, identifying areas of greatest impact, and determining the potential for effective implementation and donor and government interest.

If we deem the intervention appropriate for the local context and succeed in achieving government, donor, and local implementer buy-in, we work hand-in-hand with local stakeholders to build evidence-based programs that maintain effectiveness while working within a country’s constraints. This includes providing technical assistance to policymakers on maintaining effectiveness as they bring policy initiatives from pilot to scale. 

As part of our commitment to maintaining effectiveness at scale, optimizing the use of relevant rigorous research, and setting up systems for scale, we assist partners in designing careful monitoring systems for scaled-up, evidence-based programs. Monitoring data allow policymakers to strengthen systems, weave in new and appropriate lessons from other projects, and regularly re-assess whether a program is maintaining impact. Our monitoring work thus enables us to continuously inform the decisions of policymakers as they scale up effective programs.

For more information on policy outreach at J-PAL Africa, please contact Ashleigh Morrell.