Demand-Driven Research Initiative (DDRI)

Jennifer Nyakinya, Program Manager for the Network of Impact Evaluation Researchers in Africa describes the Demand-Driven Research Initiative (DDRI), a new project that will enable NIERA to fully deploy its technical capabilities and respond to specific evidence needs.


In the last three years, we have learnt that policy makers need research partners they can trust, who understand them and are able to provide timely and reliable evidence and solutions that are grounded in local contexts. Through our needs assessment and ongoing policy outreach efforts, we know for certain that there is strong demand for Decision Focused Evaluation’s (DFE). To this end, NIERA intends to press on with its mission of advancing DFE’s of development programs by making more substantive contributions to evidence generation and policy outreach, while at the same time contributing to building capacity in Impact Evaluation across Africa.

With support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, we now seek to exploit this demand and implement a Demand-Driven Research Initiative (DDRI) that will enable us to fully deploy our technical capabilities and respond to specific evidence needs. With an overarching goal to advance the uptake of evidence-based research in development programming and policy decisions, the DDRI is anchored on four broad objectives: 

1. To develop and implement rigorous Decision Focused Evaluation (DFE) projects that respond to        specific policy needs

2. To create a greater awareness and understanding among key stakeholders of the role of DFE in informing development policies and programs

3. Effectively communicate and disseminate the results and implications of these projects to policymakers and other stakeholders and

4. To advance NIERA’s credentials as the partner of choice for advancing DFE research in Africa.


The funded research studies will involve a consortium of NIERA members adopting a multi-disciplinary and multi-country approach in the implementation of the projects in either of NIERA’s thematic areas. Specifically, the aim of DDRI is to:

·       Cultivate use of DFE methodologies

·       Promote co-creation among researchers and policy makers ultimately increasing the uptake of research evidence in policy and development programming decisions.

·       Deepen NIERA’s engagement with policy makers and program implementers.

·       Promote collaborations and peer-to-peer learning amongst NIERA members.


We will additionally disseminate the results of these research projects at regional and global forums such as the Africa Evidence Summit which is an annual gathering that brings together a network of East and West African scholars, U.S.-based faculty, policymakers, and practitioners to disseminate the latest research findings from the region and forge new connections. The summit is co-hosted in partnership with the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA).





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