Interview with Frejus Thoto, winner of the Africa Evidence Leadership Award 2020

Our Executive Director, Frejus Thoto, is the third recipient of the Africa Evidence Leadership Award offered by the Africa Evidence Network (AEN). He offered an interview to the AEN about receiving the award and shared about what the Africa Evidence Leadership Award means for ACED’s work.

Africa Evidence Network (AEN): How did you feel and respond when you were told that you had received the award?

Frejus Thoto (FT): I was very excited to hear that I won the Africa Evidence Leadership Award. I am very grateful for ACED, the organisation I work for because it has created the institutional environment that is instrumental in applying my ideas about advancing evidence use in the food and nutrition security sector. I am very grateful to all my colleagues as this Award is to celebrate the work ACED has been doing in the past 10 years.

AEN: What role do you think the Africa Evidence Leadership Award plays in the evidence-production and evidence-use ecosystem in Africa?

FT: By celebrating those who are advancing the evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) field, the Africa Evidence Leadership Award creates incentives for the different stakeholders to do more to help decision-makers and practitioners in using evidence. As such, the Award contributes to greater and faster adoption of evidence-use on the continent as the awardees and their organisations will work more towards that objective.

AEN: Name three ways you believe that you or your work will benefit from receiving the award? Why are these three things important to your work?

FT: First, this award celebrates my personal commitment to EIDM in Africa. Thus, it will help me continue advocating and working for greater institutionalisation of evidence use in Africa. At the organisational level, the award will improve the visibility of ACED. Through this award, more people will learn about how we have been working to connect evidence to policy and action to create a lasting impact on the food and nutrition security sector. We look forward to creating more and better partnerships across the world to advance our mission.

Through this award, more people will learn about how we have been working to connect evidence to policy and action to create a lasting impact on the food and nutrition security sector. Click To Tweet

AEN: What is the one thing that you are most looking forward to about attending EVIDENCE 2020?

FT: I am so sad that EVIDENCE 2020 will not happen in person because of the current crisis but I am sure the online experience will also create a nice opportunity for learning. I look forward to learning from the brilliant EIDM community in Africa and I am excited to share our vision of EIDM at ACED that combines Evidence, Policy, and Action.

AEN: What one piece of advice do you have for new colleagues coming into the evidence-informed decision-making space in Africa?

FT: I would tell them that they have chosen a field of great importance for Africa’s development and that they are well-positioned to support Africa’s transformation. I would recommend that they make sure they go beyond evidence generation and sharing to facilitate its use in an impactful way. It is relevant to generate evidence and share but the critical factor of success is when this evidence is put into use to address concrete development challenges in sectors such as education, health, agriculture, or transport. If impact is your north star in the EIDM space, you will make a tremendous contribution to Africa’s development.

If impact is your north star in the #EIDM space, you will make a tremendous contribution to Africa’s development. Click To Tweet

This article was originally published on the AEN blog

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