Kenya Evidence Forum
June 14, 2016Nairobi, Kenya | Windsor Hotel

Using Evidence to Improve Policy and Program Designs

How can we use evidence more effectively to inform and improve government policies and programs? Despite the fact that Kenya is one of the largest producers of impact evaluations in the world, this evidence often does not reach its intended audiences, limiting its potential to inform policy. Furthermore, research in its traditional form is often seen as lacking relevance for the operational and political realities that policymakers and practitioners face on a daily basis. The Development Impact Evaluation (DIME) group within the World Bank works jointly with National Government counterparts to build evidence that focuses on informing policy and operations by working throughout the life cycle of projects to improve the potential for development impacts. With this purpose, this one-day event brings together policymakers, practitioners and researchers in a high-level discussion on how evidence can be used to generate relevant insights from conception to completion of projects, and showcases a series of ongoing impact evaluations that provide examples of how to do this in practice. 


Building accountability systems to improve service delivery

Across different sectors in Kenya as in many developing countries, multiple constraints including lack of information, inadequate use of risk assessment of service providers, and weak monitoring and enforcement systems are common, usually leading to low-quality public services. By sharing a similar framework across different sectors, three impact evaluations in this portfolio look at these issues: the Kenya Patient Safety Impact Evaluation; the Judicial Performance Improvement Project; and the Nairobi SmarTTRans Impact Evaluation. By strengthening monitoring, improving the information and rules of the game and providing feedback and other incentives to different relevant actors, this line of work aims at improving patient safety, increasing the efficiency of the judiciary system, and reducing road traffic accidents in Kenya. There is overall agreement on the potential of such mechanisms to improve the quality of service provision but there are significant knowledge gaps regarding the right balance of the parameters (e.g., the type and level of monitoring, information feedback, and incentives/costs, and state-of-the-art technology) that can help build systems where those mechanisms are effective, particularly in contexts like Kenya.

Maximizing the returns to large scale infrastructure investments

The costs of public infrastructure are substantial, and these are typically rationalized because of the potential for transformative impact that these programs can provide. However, the returns to these investments in the form of development impacts are not fixed and fundamentally rely on the appropriate use and management of the infrastructure. This is particularly true for investment in public infrastructure that is only effective when individuals make the last mile connections to bulk infrastructure. The ongoing impact evaluation work explores the investments required for household electrification and sanitation bulk infrastructure and the consistently low connection rates observed, particularly of poor, marginalized communities. The work asks “what can be done to ensure that these investments reach the poor and yield the impacts that justify their investment?” The ongoing evaluation work also explores how complementary “soft” interventions can be incorporated into infrastructure program designs to improve development impact of irrigation schemes.


Last Updated: Jun 13, 2016

8:00 - 8:30AM

Registration and coffee


8:30 – 10:00AM

Welcome and Introductory Panel

Discussion Question: Is the research being generated in Kenya improving policy decisions?  Chairs:

Arianna Legovini, Manager, World Bank DIME


Ladisy Chengula, Lead Agriculture Economist, World Bank

Dr. Rose Oronje, Director, Science Communications and Evidence Uptake, African Institute for Development Policy

Eng. Nahashon Muguna, Technical Director, Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company

Patrick Mwangi Nduati, Irrigation Principal Secretary, Ministry of Water and Irrigation


Coffee Break


How do we interpret evidence? An interactive session

Aidan Coville, Economist, World Bank DIME

Building accountability systems to improve service delivery

The success of accountability systems to affect the quality of public services is predicated on at least three critical elements: 1) well-defined, adequate, known, and transparent rules of the game; 2) effective monitoring/information-revealing systems to check adherence to rules; and 3) an enforced system of punishments and rewards or incentives. Many systems fall short on several of these elements. This session will explore the potential to strengthen these three pillars with examples of regulatory reforms in the health and justice sectors to improve patient safety and efficiency in the courts.

10:45 –11:30AM

SAFETY FIRST. Improving access to quality health services in Kenya, expanding global knowledge on disease prevention: Kenya Patient Safety Impact Evaluation (KePSIE)


Guadalupe Bedoya, Economist, World Bank DIME

Improving efficiency in courts

Dr. Paul Kimalu Deputy Director, Performance Management Directorate of the Judiciary

Lacey Ramirez, Impact Evaluation Coordinator, World Bank DIME

Making Kenyan roads safer for all: Improving accountability in the matatu industry

Arianna Legovini, Manager, World Bank DIME

11:30 - 12:15PM

Q&A: How can we move from addressing symptoms to focusing on core challenges of governance and accountability to deliver better services?  


12:15 – 1:15PM



Maximizing the returns to large scale infrastructure investments

Infrastructure investments command a large portion of the Government’s budget, but the returns to these investments are variable and often do not live up to expectations. This session explores how operationally-focused research can be used to identify the often overlooked missing links necessary to ensure that infrastructure investments are transformed into development impacts.   


1:15 – 2:15PM

Chair: Meskerem Brhane, Program Leader, World Bank

Ensuring that public infrastructure improves the lives of the poor: Examples in Energy and Sanitation

Aidan Coville, Economist, World Bank DIME

Francis Meyo and Emma Smith, Innovations for Poverty Action

Don’t forget the soft components that make infrastructure effective: An example from the Nzoia Irrigation Program

Susumu Yoshida, Operations Officer, World Bank DIME

Dr. Ezekiel Ndunda, Kenyatta University, School of Environmental Studies

Sustainable Mobility for All

Nancy Vandycke, Lead Economist, Transport Global Practice


2:15 – 3: 00PM

Q&A: Should subsidies be used to support service delivery to poor households, and if so, where and when?


3:00 – 3:15PM

Coffee Break


3:15 – 3:45PM

Opportunities for using Big Data for Policymaking

Chair: Kiwako Sakamoto, Data Scientist, World Bank DIME

Wenfei Xu, Civic Data Design Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


3:45 – 4:15PM

Q&A: What big data opportunities exist for Kenya and how can these be integrated into program designs?


Last Updated: Jun 29, 2016

Event Details
  • Location: Nairobi, Kenya
  • Contact: : Aidan Coville