Giving Compass' Take:

• PEAK Insight Journal interviews two program officers for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation about the use of high-quality evidence to support policies in sub-Saharan Africa and how data helps make decisions.

• What can other organizations learn from the Hewlett Foundation's efforts in this field? One main takeaway is that shared learning can go a long way to putting quality data to use.

• The Hewlett Foundation also made the moral case for evidence-informed policy-making.

Norma Altshuler and Sarah Lucas are two Program Officers in the Global Development and Population program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Established through the personal generosity of the Hewlett family, the foundation is wholly independent of the Hewlett Packard Company and the Hewlett Packard Company Foundation. Norma and Sarah are focused on increasing the use of high-quality evidence and data to improve social and economic policies in low- and middle-income countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa ...

"Our portfolio is dedicated to what we call evidence-informed policymaking. The idea is that governments make decisions every day that fundamentally affect the people they serve," says Lucas. "They make decisions about how to allocate scarce budget resources or what policy areas to prioritize. Let’s take an example in the health sector. [Policymakers may ask themselves,] should my administration or my agency prioritize reducing mortality associated with tobacco use or reducing infant mortality? Once they have set policy priorities, they make decisions about how to design programs to implement those priorities. For example, if I want to reduce mortality associated with tobacco use, do I need to [levy] a tobacco tax, or do I need to outlaw smoking in public places? They have to make decisions about who to target. How do I know where the most smokers are in my community?"

Read the full article about evidence-based policies in sub-Saharan Africa by Aimee Bruederle at PEAK Insight Journal.