Summer school 2023: "The summer school
enabled us to enhance our knowledge of impact"
For a week, about 100 project leaders and researchers from African countries took part in the summer school organized by FID, AFD, J-PAL and Mohammed VI Polytechnique University in Rabat, as part of the "Development Methodologies" Chair held by Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee with the objective to consolidate their knowledge of impact evaluation.
An opening conference on the role of innovation in education
The new edition of the summer school, held this year from July 4 to 7 in Morocco, started with a high-level day introduced by Hicham El Habti, President of Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Rabat; Christophe Lecourtier, French Ambassador to Morocco; and Thomas Mélonio, Executive Director of Innovation, Strategy and Research at AFD.
Speeches by Chakib Benmoussa, Morocco's Minister of Education, and Esther Duflo, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics and Chairperson of the FID Board of Directors, opened the discussions about improving the quality of learning. They were followed by various panels highlighting the need for innovation and research in the development of public policy. Abhijit Banerjee, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, closed the day's proceedings with an overview of the last twenty years, stating that "solutions that seem obvious often don't work".
A training on impact evaluation
The "Development Methodologies" summer school was created in response to the observation that African research teams are under-represented in economic publications, whereas it is recognized that the involvement of local researchers is necessary to improve the impact of public policies. For the past 3 years, the summer school has been offering a training program on impact evaluation, including methodological courses and conferences for development practitioners, researchers, project leaders and decision-makers. The ultimate objective is to stimulate reflections surrounding local public policies.
This edition of the summer school brought together researchers who had demonstrated their willingness to integrate impact evaluation into their research, as well as project teams wishing to use this method in their projects. Participants were split into two training courses: one was dedicated to project implementers, while the other was designed for research teams.
Work sessions and discussions were organized to foster links between participants. According to Silété Devo, Managing Director of the National Identification Agency (ANID) in Togo, who attended the module dedicated to project leaders, "the summer school is a good interface between researchers and project teams. It is an opportunity to get to know other project leaders and talk to researchers. Decision-makers' timelines are not the same as that of researchers, which are longer. Therefore, this type of collaboration must be efficient".
10 FID-funded project teams - Social Broker, Projet Jeune Leader, Coursier d'Hôpital, Bluemind Foundation, CassVita Inc, Togo's Ministère du développement à la base, de la jeunesse et de l'emploi des jeunes, Haskè Conseil, Solthis, African Management Institute, Agence Nationale d'Identification (ANID) took part in the course dedicated to project implementers. This was an opportunity for these teams to reflect on impact evaluation and apply the lessons learned to the development of their projects.
Mihaja Raonivololona, monitoring and evaluation manager for Projet Jeune Leader in Madagascar, commented: "The summer school enabled us to enrich our theory of change. We are in the pilot phase of the project supported by FID, and this training has enabled us to reflect on the key points we need to review in order to implement the program". Koffivi Agbetiafa of the Coursier d'Hôpital organization, which benefits from the support of the agency 3ie to carry out the monitoring-evaluation and eventually the impact evaluation of its project, explains that this training will enable him to consolidate the work he recently began: "The summer school enabled us to enrich our knowledge of impact. We a are going to pass on everything we have learned to the evaluation agency, namely what we have learned from the theoretical courses and from our exchanges with the research team providing the course".
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