Utilizing Data for Evidence-informed Advocacy in Kenya

Evidence for Action Mama Ye (E4A Mama Ye) works to improve maternal and newborn survival by using evidence and advocacy to drive accountability at the national and county level in Kenya. By ensuring decision-makers, media and advocates have access to data at the right time and in the right format, our team in Kenya works to influence how health resources are used to improve quality of care for women, children, adolescents and young people. E4A Mama Ye thus acts as a catalyst for action!  In this article, we share insights on how E4A Mama Ye is promoting use of Family Planning (FP) data for decision making and accountability.

E4A Mama Ye Kenya analyses and packages data on FP in ways that help decision-makers allocate resources effectively. A variety of credible sources are used to get the data for analysis including the DHIS2, FP dashboard and data from PMA2020. The data is then presented in the form of scorecards and dashboards.

Working jointly with like-minded civil society organisations, E4A shares the data and trains advocates to influence policy, practice and resource allocation. We also engage champions and the media, build their capacity to understand FP data and related evidence and use it for accountability. Our advocacy approaches bring on board communities, activists, media and civil society organisations using highly visible campaigns that amplify public voice and build momentum for action. This critical mass creates demand for improved transparency in government planning, budgeting and implementation of budgets and holding governments to account for commitments.

Among the key lessons learnt from E4A include:

  • Evidence sources must be credible and justifiable – it is critical to base advocacy on accurate and complete data from sources that can be backed up. Data can be controversial and in many cases its users can face push back from concerned audiences, hence the importance of using trusted sources
  • Evidence is not an indictment – how data is presented determines how it is received. As E4A, we have learnt that the role of evidence is not to name and shame but to find common ground towards workable solutions to challenges affecting mothers and children
  • Decision makers are allies, not just targets – in the search for evidence, it is good practice to walk hand in hand with those expected to make the necessary changes by involving them from the start
  • Collaboration with other actors is essential so as to leverage on resources, knowledge and funding towards a common goal

 

Case Study: The #JazaShelves Campaign

#JazaShelves is a campaign led by E4A seeking to improve FP commodity security in Nairobi and Bungoma Counties. The campaign was informed by data gathered on commodity availability and stock outs in the two counties. In Nairobi, three sub-counties did not have FP supplies as of May 2018. Deeper analysis of the data in the FP dashboard also revealed that in April 40 percent of FP methods were below the recommended 4 months of stock. Some of the reasons identified were: delivery of quantities less than ordered for, delayed deliveries, limited skills in quantification and forecasting and inadequate funding.

Informed by the evidence, the campaign was co-created with other CSOs and implemented by mobilising decision makers, media entities, and local communities. The evidence was presented in diverse formats including fliers, placards, social media messages and a public walk. Some notable achievements of the #JazaShelves campaign included:

  • Development of redistribution strategies – as a short term measure, the counties put in place redistribution plans so that sub-counties/facilities without commodities can be supplied by those that have as a stop-gap measure as long-term solutions are sought
  • KEMSA allowed for supplementary ordering and made a one-off supply to one of the sub-counties in Nairobi that reported not having received commodities

 

Evidence for Action Mama Ye is a programme by Options. See how they work here: APPROACHES