Enhancing the use of evidence in South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs

Working and discussion papers
December 2016
Ajoy Datta, Louise Shaxson and Mapula Tshangela

Efforts to improve the use of evidence amongst policy-makers have largely taken an individual approach – focusing on training and mentoring – assuming a lack of knowledge and skills. Whilst there was value in this, policy-makers were often unable to put this into practice because of the constraints they faced in the form of institution-wide systems and structures. It was thus seen as essential to work at the level of the whole institution.

The VakaYiko project in South Africa aimed to test this organisational approach through its work with the Department for Environmental Affairs. This paper reflects on some of the lessons learned through the course of the project.