J-PAL Africa ran its annual Evaluating Social Programmes (ESP) course in Abuja, Nigeria, from 25-29 July. Run by a team of 11 J-PAL staff members and three J-PAL affiliated researchers, the five-day course provided a thorough understanding of randomized evaluations and pragmatic step-by-step training for conducting one’s own evaluation. This is the first time the course has been run in West Africa and we were very encouraged by the high demand from governments and organisations across the continent, receiving almost 300 applications for 40 spaces. Participants included policymakers, individuals from multilateral organisations and NGOs and researchers.
J-PAL Africa uses the ESP course as a project development tool for policy pilots and randomised evaluations, so we were excited to have a large number of policymakers and implementers attend that we are currently working with, or expect to work with soon. For example, we had six representatives from three state governments in Nigeria who are working with our policy team on a World Bank-funded evaluation of a girls’ education and empowerment intervention, as well as a number of policymakers from Malawi, Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria who are working with our DigiFI team to develop digital identification and finance projects.