ACET is undertaken a 5year project on SEDI for the period 12/07/2019 until 12/07/2024. The contract was signed between ACET and OPM in October 2019. Within Ghana, SEDI is exploring three potential sectors for intervention i.e. health, economic development, and public finance management/taxation. The first phase of SEDI is the Analysis phase which has two components 1) conducting a political economy analysis in each of these sectors and 2) understanding how evidence is used in each sector for policy making. The objective of this phase will be to discuss the potential of each of these sectors with the project funder i.e. DFID as a sector SEDI can deep-dive into in its subsequent phases. To attain this objective, SEDI is on track to meet its tight timeline with work on multiple workstream progressing without significant hurdles. During Q4, progress was primarily made within three key areas: • Literature review, fieldwork and report writing: o The sector teams and the macro-team continued working on the literature review, primarily as a triangulation mechanism as they underwent their interviews while also ensuring any major gaps in the literature review process was plugged. o The sector teams spent a significant amount of their time in the first half of November in conducting interviews with key stakeholders within each sector. Special care was taken to ensure that diverse perspectives were collected during this phase and we saw cross-fertilization in this process between the Macro, ED and PFM teams. o In the latter half of November, the teams focused their energies on the analysis of the information that they collect from the literature review and interviews as they drafted version 1 of their sector-level reports which were received from all sectors within the Nov 29-Dec 1 timeframe. • Relationships with Partners: o ACET continues to have weekly check-ins with ODI and the sector teams in-person or virtually from a technical and program management perspective, and these interactions have been very collaborative and constructive. o ACET has signed contracts with all six of its sector consultants. • In-country engagement with DFID: o ACET staff along with the Economic Development and PFM sector teams met with Ama Blankson-Anaman (DFID PFM Advisor) to introduce her to the SEDI project, its scope and objectives and give her an update on the work that the teams have been engaged in. Ama shared her insights with us on the PFM and ED landscape in Ghana and demonstrated willingness to continue engaging with the SEDI project team on the draft and final reports, as well as the sector-selection process. o ACET staff met with Uzoamaka Gilpin (DFID Health Advisor) to similarly introduce her to SEDI and discuss how we intend engaging with her through the Analysis phase of the project. The Health team lead will be meeting with Uzo this week to discuss insights collected so far from our work o In addition to Ama and Uzo, Clara has also introduced ACET to three other DFID advisors. While we are currently occupied with the analysis and writing of the draft report, ACET and the sector team leads aim to engage with them in December. The two major milestones under the SEDI analysis phase i.e. the draft analysis report and the final analysis report were successfully submitted to OPM and DFID in January 12 and March 12 respectively. ACET hosted a SEDI validation workshop in Accra with consortium partners and the DFID-Ghana team in late-January to identify gaps in the draft report that could be plugged in the final report. Discussions on contracting between ACET and OPM for the next phase of the project commenced in the second half of March. Other ongoing deliberations were on the impact of covid-19 on planned project activities, and how ACET and SEDI in Ghana could support the government in its covid-19 response over the next few weeks. Activities planned for Q2 2020: a. ACET looks forward to participating in a virtual SEDI workshop in late April to design potential interventions that could be customized for testing in-country as part of the inception phase. b. OPM and DFID are in discussions on potential implications of covid-19 on the scope and timeline for the inception phase. This will help define activities to be undertaken in Q2.
In Q2 2020
The original plan for the SEDI program was to move into the Inception Phase of the project which would involve the selection of a sector of focus, active engagement with government agencies associated with that sector and the co-design and piloting of interventions that the SEDI project could drive to improve evidence use. However, due to COVID-19, DFID has delayed the sector selection decision to Q1 2021. While the team continued to engage in design work through a workshop, the absence of a clear sector has paused government engagement and the piloting of interventions as originally planned. The consortium has therefore focused on pivoting quickly towards providing COVID-19 support to the Government of Ghana. The Ghana team has also been exploring opportunities through which SEDI could smoothen evidence use in COVID-19 policy decision-making. While this is still a work-in-progress we are focused on building government engagement within the constraints of social distancing norms and relative government program prioritization.
The project is delayed due to COVID-19, DFID will undertake the sector selection in first-quarter 2021.
Covid-19 epidemiological modeling support: We continue to wait for further guidance from our FCDO partners on the way forward for the Ghana study. A meeting has been arranged between the former DFID Chief in Ghana (now absorbed into FCDO) and the Hon. Minister of Health. We have indications that the Ghanaian government is still keen to draw on FCDO and SEDI support for this, but any further decisions on SEDI’s role will be taken post this meeting.
Ghana Priorities program: An engagement has been initiated with the country lead of the Ghana Priorities program (website link) being led by NDPC and the Copenhagen Center. The program is a research and advocacy project that analyzes and promotes investments to establish how to achieve the most social, environmental and economic good for Ghana with cedi spent’. The program with its focus on evidence use in the Economic Development space could have great complementarities with SEDI and matches our broad ‘Economic Development’ sector perfectly. Our preliminary call with the country lead was positive and he is open to collaborate with SEDI. Next on the radar is to engage with the NDPC leadership to broadly inform them about SEDI and discuss if and how we can support their work under this program.
Ghana Civil Service Capacity Building program: ACET had good preliminary conversations with INASP, PACKS-Africa and representatives at the Ghana Civil Service Training Centre (CSTC). We plan to use October and November to finish a scoping exercise of potential entry points for SEDI with CSTC in preparation for developing a tasking note if entry points are identified.
The second phase (April – March 2021) has been focused on finalizing the PEA report, building relationships, and developing discrete bodies of work for the implementation phase. We have currently engaged stakeholders like the Ghana Health Service, the Civil Service, the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, NDPC, and others to explore opportunities for implementation.
• COVID-19 epidemiological modeling support: ACET is acting as a focal point for SEDI Ghana on a Technical Working Group created to support the Ghana health Service with an epidemiological model for COVID-19. The working group met and agreed on adapting the COMO model for Ghana.
• Ghana Civil Service Capacity Building program: During this period, ACET conducted a scoping exercise to identify potential entry points for SEDI with Ghana’s Civil Service Training Centre (CSTC) and other institutions responsible for capacity building within Ghana public service system. The report has been reviewed by INASP and updated with reviewer’s comments. The final report further informed preparations for a tasking note and a learning brief. Initial preparations for a diagnostic and design workshop in Q2 is ongoing.
• Political Economy Analysis (PEA): The PEA Ghana report was finalized and disseminated across the SEDI partners this period. Following completion of the report, ACET reached out to the Ministry of Employment and Labor relations to explore possible entry points for SEDI. The team has also drafted a letter to the clerk of Parliament explore additional entry points for SEDI.