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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

Research into policy

 

­­­­­­­This section of the site is being redeveloped and is under construction. The main focus of the 'Research into Policy' collection of documents will be on;

  • evidence based policy making
  • research and science communication
  • research uptake and utilisation.

­­­­­­­­Submissions on these focus areas can be submitted online by subscribers or to imagaya@hsrc.ac.za.

 


Related publications

Over the last decade, there has been increasing debate around how to most effectively use research evidence to inform policy processes. A two-year study led by Young Lives set out to identify challenges and opportunities for translating research into policy and practice in the area of child poverty and child protection. On the basis of two case studies – one focusing on orphanhood and vulnerability in Ethiopia and the other on children’s work in Andhra Pradesh, India – the team developed a consultative approach involving a mixed group of stakeholders in each country. The groups identified several barriers to using research to improve policy and practice for children. These included lack of interaction between stakeholder groups, problems with who sets research agendas, lack of resources for supporting research uptake, and researchers’ lack of awareness of policy contexts. Part of strengthening the links between research, policy and practice is supporting the inclusion of children’s perspectives and participation in this process.

Document(s): PDF icon Policy_Brief_1.pdf

Dignity is a foundational value in South Africa’s Constitution and is also experienced as a psycho-social phenomenon. Dimensions of dignity were explored with almost two hundred low income female caregivers and the impact of poverty on dignity was examined.

Document(s): PDF icon Policy_Brief_2.pdf

The child support grant is social assistance paid for children living with low income caregivers. The experiences of applying for the grant, using the grant, and being a grant recipient were explored with almost two hundred low income female caregivers in South Africa and the impact on dignity was examined.

Document(s): PDF icon Policy_Brief_3.pdf

This study explored lone mothers’ experiences of social security in South Africa in terms of whether it protects and respects their dignity. Interviews were undertaken with almost two hundred low income lone mothers and the impact on dignity was examined. Interviews were also held with senior policy makers in government, and social attitudes were explored more broadly in relation to dignity, poverty and social security using data from the South African Social Attitudes Survey.

Link: Policy brief

RIATT-ESA is seeking to improve understanding and build the evidence base around the kinds of interventions which are most effective in improving outcomes for children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS in the family. Related to this is how children's health, protection, care and support are interrelated. RIATT-ESA consequently commissioned secondary analyses of existing data sets in the eastern and Southern Africa region (ESA) and systematic reviews in order to better understand how children affected by AIDS in the region are made vulnerable. In particular the research sought to establish if and how being orphaned by HIV and AIDS leads to an increased likelihood of negative outcomes for children in comparison to other orphans or non-orphans. This included investigating factors that can predict vulnerability and tracking the different pathways by which HIV and AIDS impacts child outcomes, hence identifying key risks to children for targeted action.

Link: Policy brief

This policy brief deals with the issue of television advertising of food products to children in South Africa. During 2012, a study was undertaken by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) and the University of Athabasca in Canada to examine the extent of television advertising of food products to children by the SABC across its four television broadcasting stations. The study evaluated the number and type of food products advertised in order to determine whether children were being exposed to unhealthy food and beverage advertising.

Trafficking in persons is a complex, multidimensional, multisectoral, illicit industry affecting both individuals and nations across the globe. In addition to being an issue of international and criminal law, trafficking affects human rights, labour, migration, public health, socio-economic development and morality. In recent years, South Africa has undertaken the formulation of Trafficking in Persons legislation. Despite the evidence that traffi cking affects most countries in the world and is a growing illicit industry with devastating impacts, very few African countries have policy related to Trafficking in Persons. In an attempt to contribute towards the creation of human traffi cking policy, this policy paper includes concrete recommendations that should be considered concerning prevention, protection and prosecution.

This policy brief from World Vision provides insight on child mortality ahead of the World health Assembly. There is a brief discussion of the major causes of newborn and child death as well new global initiatives to end preventable child death. In addition, the role of government in securing life saving commodities of chidren under five is addressed and recommendations are provided.

This guide is a short introduction for decision-makers and researchers or anyone else considering whether a systematic review may be appropriate to fill a gap in knowledge or to use as a resource. It aims to help anybody planning or commissioning a review of what research is already out there. It would be of value to  analysts, evaluators, policymakers or commissioners.  The guide is aimed at anybody from central government, local authorities, public service providers, regulatory and advisory bodies, charities or the consultancy sector.

This book is a guide to planning and conducting a particular type of literature review, one that is increasingly used as a scientific tool: the systematic literature review. The book is aimed at social science researchers, but it provides a more general discussion of systematic reviews for those who want to use and understand them, but don’t necessarily want to do one themselves.

Most of the recent interest in systematic reviews focuses on reviews of the effectiveness of interventions, reflected in the growth of initiatives like the Campbell and Cochrane Collaborations. This book therefore focuses on reviews of effectiveness, but not exclusively. Systematic reviews are also widely used to synthesize other sorts of evidence, for example in order to answer questions about etiology (causes of problems), or about people’s experiences, and we discuss and present examples of such.

The Nutrition Barometer provides a snapshot of national governments’ commitments to addressing children’s nutrition, and the progress they have made. It looks at 36 developing countries with the highest levels of child undernutrition. The Barometer measures governments’ political and legal commitment to tackling malnutrition (eg, whether they have a national nutrition plan), as well as their financial commitment. Countries’ progress in tackling malnutrition is measured by children’s nutritional status – the proportion who are underweight, stunted or suffering from wasting – and children’s chances of survival.

An easy-to-read guide which identifies the most important stages in the development of a communication strategy. It is divided into three parts – Concept, Policy Briefs and Practical Means – and is intended to help exploit research concepts into genuine policy action.

Explores six key areas of the knowledge–development policy interface, aiming to stimulate nuanced debates and the development of tools for knowledge translation for actors involved in knowledge translation processes – including knowledge generators, brokers or users.

Brings together the lessons learned from different stakeholders on the strategic role of monitoring and evaluation in evidence-based polic.

"Family planning is a human right. Yet today some 222 million women in developing countries are unable to exercise that right because they lack access to contraceptives, information and quality services or because social and economic forces prevent them from taking advantage of services even where they are available. The State of World Population 2012 explains why family planning is a right, examines the challenges in ensuring that all women, men and young people are able to exercise that right and suggests actions that governments and international organizations can take to give everyone the power and the means to decide freely and responsibly how many children to have and when to have them."

Bridging the know-do gap

This book from the Australian National University focuses on three groups—policymakers, service providers and researchers—to examine how to enhance their ability to work together. The particular emphasis is on how to improve the uptake of sound research evidence into government policy and into service provision. How can research knowledge be brokered to achieve effective decision making and action that improve children’s wellbeing? The aim is to provide examples of different ways this can be achieved, as well as laying foundations for further development of knowledge-brokering initiatives.

Link: Publication

This paper presents a case study on the transfer of research into policy and describes how evidence was used to inform, develop, frame and ultimately agree a National Strategy for Research and Data on Children’s Lives in Ireland. The paper highlights key issues arising in the research–policy exchange, but also argues that evidence on its own, while vital and helpful, is insufficient to develop strategy. The paper concludes by highlighting other brokering, pragmatic and strategic considerations that need to be addressed if implementation is to be agreed.

Series of case studies which seek to trace the history of each public action in order to identify and characterise the role played by knowledge. Involves tracing the genealogy of the public action, paying attention to how policy learning and knowledge are involved throughout the process (Know & Pol).

PAN:Children from time to time invites experts in the child rights field to write opinion editorials on specific topics to stimulate debate. This piece on the gaps in the implementation of legislative provisions and policy pertaining to children with disabilities in South Africa was written by Sue Philpott an expert in disability issues in South Africa.

Link: Publication

Evidence-based research is widely recognized as an essential input in effective economic policymaking. However, for the results of their research to influence policy, the research community must overcome a variety of challenges, including the absence of adequate and relevant data, differences of research results on the same policy issue, and deficiencies in effectively communicating policy conclusions to the policymakers. This paper stresses the need for increased investment in the generation of adequate and relevant data, and the responsibility of the researchers to seek to reach a consensus or narrow the range of and explain the reasons for their differences, thus enabling the policymakers to exercise their judgment.

Link: Publication

This new report is the first in a series to be published annually by the ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour. It brings together research on child labour and social protection, identifying policies that are designed to achieve multiple social goals. It discusses the role of poverty and economic shocks in rendering households vulnerable to child labour and considers the impact on child labour of cash transfers, public employment programmes, social insurance and other social protection initiatives as they have been implemented around the world. The report distils a broad range of research in economic and social policy and should be of interest to those looking for ways to combat poverty in the present and reduce its burden on the next generation.

Link: Publication

This fact sheet is an update to the global estimates on child domestic work 2008.

Link: Publication

This publication is a companion volume of the "Children in Hazardous Work: What we know, what we need to do" report, outlines the problem of hazardous work and highlights possible solutions. Although it is too early to say, in most cases, that the activities included here are proven "good practices" ready for emulation, nonetheless items in this selection have already demonstrated some unique or notable elements.

Link: Publication

This paper presents an overview of the impact that demographic changes will have on  development over the first half of the 21st century by taking a close look at three demographic  trends: fertility, mortality, and immigration; and examining how these will touch policy issues  including poverty, public finance and infrastructure, and climate change. 

Link: Publication

A comment by The Lancet, on how unprecedented growth in the continent's child population came about, and its implications for Africa and the rest of the world, is the subject of Generation 2030 Africa, a report on child demographics released by UNICEF on Aug 12, 2014.

Link: Publication

A new report from UNICEF, Generation 2030 | Africa, shows how Africa, already the world’s second most populous continent with over 1 billion inhabitants, is experiencing a demographic shift unprecedented in its scale and swiftness. In the next 35 years, 1.8 billion babies will be born in Africa; the continent’s population will double in size; and its under-18 population will increase by two thirds to reach almost 1 billion. By 2050, Africa will be home to two in five of the world’s children. This unprecedented projected increase gives policymakers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to craft a child-focused investment strategy that enables the continent, and the world, to reap the benefits of Africa’s demographic transition.

Link: Publication

Media technology is an integral part of children’s lives in the twenty-first century. The world of electronic media, however, is changing dramatically. Television, until recently the dominant media source, has been joined by cell phones, iPods, video games, instant messaging, social networks on the Internet, and e-mail.This volume examines the best available evidence on whether and how exposure to different media forms is linked to child well-being.

Link: Publication

Multiple incidents of violence in South African schools have elevated the issue to being a national concern. The aim of this article is to report on an investigation into the perception of school communities regarding conditions that make violence such a persistent problem in schools. 

Link: Publication

UNICEF hosted a Global Partners Forum (GPF) on Protection, Care, and Support for all children at the AIDS Conference in Melbourne on 20th July, 2014.  The forum addressed the social and economic factors that continue to hinder progress towards achieving an AIDS-free generations.  Specifically, the call to action aims to: propose innovative solutions to challenging problems, leverage existing evidence and experience on protection, care and support services, and mobilize action on a community and national level. The Call to Action framework was endorsed by USAID, PEPFAR, The World Bank, UNAIDS, and the Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS.

The annual report highlights the main accomplishments and results UNICEF achieved in South Africa during 2013, with special features such as infographics and human interest stories. UNICEF’s work is aligned with the South African Government’s Medium-Term Strategic Framework for 2009–2014, including its 12 priority outcomes and the priorities outlined in the National Development Plan. Within this context, UNICEF focuses on reducing inequities, addressing child poverty and promoting children’s rights.

 

Every Newborn: an action plan to end preventable deaths sets out a vision of a world in which there are no preventable deaths of newborns or stillbirths, where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth celebrated, and women, babies and children survive, thrive and reach their full potential. Nearly 3 million lives could be saved each year if the actions in the plan are implemented and its goals and targets achieved. Based on evidence of what works, and developed within the framework for Every Woman Every Child, the plan enhances and supports coordinated, comprehensive planning and implementation of newborn-specific actions within the context of national reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health strategies and action plans, and in collaboration with stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, professional associations and others. The goal is to achieve equitable and high-quality coverage of care for all women and newborns through links with other global and national plans, measurement and accountability. 

The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health identified the actions, policies and solutions from 10 countries making substantial progress in improving women and children’s health. This report highlights 10 low- and middle-income countries and the factors that have led to their progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health, from 1990 to present. The 10 ‘fast-track’ countries with notable achievements in maternal, newborn and child health include: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Lao PDR, Nepal, Peru, Rwanda and Viet Nam. This report summarises the highlights of a three year multi-disciplinary, multistakeholder series of studies.

The 2014 report, Fulfilling the Health Agenda for Women and Children, was released exactly 18 months to the day from the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals at the end of 2015. Like previous Countdown reports, it includes an updated, detailed profile for each of the 75 Countdown countries, which together account for more than 95% of the global burden of maternal, newborn and child death. The report shows that progress has been impressive in some areas, but it also highlights the vast areas of unfinished business that must be prioritized in the post-2015 framework. The 2014 report also provides an assessment of the state of the data to support evidence-based decisions in women's and children's health, and describes elements of the Countdown process that might inform ongoing efforts to hold the world to account for progress. It concludes by laying out concrete action steps that can be taken now to ensure continued progress for women and children in the years ahead.

Maternal and neonatal mortality rates remain high in many low-income and middle-income countries. Different approaches for the improvement of birth outcomes have been used in community-based interventions, with heterogeneous effects on survival. The research paper assess the effects of women's groups practising participatory learning and action, compared with usual care, on birth outcomes in low-resource settings.

Poverty, inequality and exclusion are hallmarks of a highly iniquitous society. In order for the rights of all children to be realised, it is essential that this gap- and the resultant chasms in service delivery and overall quality of life- be removed. The child population is one of the segments of the population more prone to becoming trapped in poverty and therefore the most logical site for successful poverty-ending intervention.  The publication seeks to explore the kind of intervention that would be necessary to bring this about through literature reviews and policy simulations. This research report investigates the extent to which groups of children are caught up in the intersection of poverty and exclusion, what the characteristics of these children are and to what extent they are or are not reached by policies and the additional efforts necessary to break free from the surrounding traps.

Document(s): PDF icon 20 Year Review.pdf

The purpose of this Twenty year review is to reflect on the legacy that democratic South Africa inherited, how the country has progressed in realising the objectives it set for itself in 1994, the challenges which still remain and how could the South African government best address these as South Africa enter the third decade of democracy. 

Towards a fifteen year review is not only about taking stock of progress. It is equally  about identifying shortcomings and challenges, the better to contribute to initiatives  aimed at further improving the country’s development efforts. This review was supplemented in 2006 by a report on macrosocial trends. The report, entitled A Nation in the Making, concluded that South African society was making advances in terms of both hard (socio-economic) and soft (identity and social cohesion) issues, but that there were still many challenges to be overcome to fully realise the vision of a better life for all.

PAN:Children is hosting a Colloquium on lone mothers, social security and dignity in South Africa on 6 June 2014 at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in Pretoria. The purpose of this colloquium is to share results from DFID/ESRC -funded project that is nearing completion and to discuss with the attendees the emerging findings and policy implications. The project entitled ' Lone mothers in South Africa- The role of social security in respecting and protecting dignity' was led by Professor Noble at the University of Oxford and involved collaborations with colleagues at the Human Sciences Research Council and the University of the Western Cape. This event is for stakeholders in government and civil society.

A sampling of over 50 anonymous good practices gathered from online searches or submitted by UN Global Compact participants in response to our call to share actions and initiatives that their companies are undertaking to respect and support children’s rights. The actions and policies adopted by these companies demonstrate the abundance of ways that business can respect and support children’s rights around the world. The practices are organised under one of the 10 Principles which it addresses and/or supports, although some practices might also be relevant for multiple Principles.

Link: Publication
PAN: Children

The Sixth Report aims to communicate to policy and decision makers the future perspectives of the world food and nutrition situation through 2015, the implications that these hold for achieving international development goals and realizing the right to adequate food, and ways in which things could be improved.The report by the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) is part of a series of UNSCN publications reporting on trends in nutrition. It suggests ways to realize the human right to adequate food, focusing on local food production and maintaining agricultural diversity. At a time when human achievements are being threatened by economic and climatic crises, ensuring adequate food and nutrition is more important than ever. 

A multi-armed randomised control design was used to find answers to three research questions: do policy briefs influence readers? does the presence of an op-ed type commentary within the brief lead to more or less influence? does it matter if the commentary is assigned to a well known name in the field?

Findings include that a policy brief is more effective in creating ‘evidence-accurate’ beliefs amongst those with no prior opinion, that messengers matter when it comes to readers’ intended actions and that gender and self-perceived levels of influence affect people’s intention to act after reading the policy brief.

Recommends that policy briefs have clear key messages including opinion and authority features as they may help to ensure briefs are shared and passed on, consider whether a policy brief’s design or format is less appealing to women and/or makes them less inclined to take action and that the ‘movers and shakers’are targeted.

The guide discusses the way scientists use uncertainty to express how confident they are about results. Also argues that uncertainty can be abused to undermine evidence or to suggest anything could be true: from alternative cancer treatments to anthropogenic CO2 not changing the atmosphere. Looks at why uncertainty is not a barrier to taking action – decision makers usually look for a higher level of certainty for an operational decision (such as introducing body scanners in airports) than for a decision based on broader ideology or politics (such as reducing crime rates).

Children with disabilities

Each year, UNICEF’s flagship publication, The State of the World's Children, closely examines a key issue affecting children. 2013 focuses the attention on children with disabilities. Their many vulnerabilities are explored and highlighted and the report advocates for equity for these children through inclusion. Extensive recommendations are given.

Document(s): PDF icon ECD Policy.pdf

The purpose of the paper is to:

Describe the principal government commitments to children 0-4 years, including priority targets as set out in the leading policy statements and legislation relating to children aged 0-4; Provide a profile of vulnerable children aged 0-4 (child outcomes and demographics) in South Africa and flag data gaps in this regard; Provide an overview of provision of the primary National Integrated Plan (NIP) for ECD service components to children aged 0-4 and flag data gaps in this regard; Make recommendations for targeting in implementation of the policy for scaling up services; and Draw inferences for the design of demonstration projects to test options for scaling up ECD services that will improve child outcomes and create jobs.

Link: Publication

The Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC) was founded in 2000 to challenge, through research, the apparent omission of almost a billion people from the 2015 poverty target of the Millennium Development Goals. The first decade of the 21st century has illustrated the power of economic growth and human development to bring large numbers out of poverty. But a large number of people remain abjectly poor, among them almost half a billion people who are poor over long periods of time, their entire lives, and who may pass poverty to their children.

The essential argument advanced in this report is that if these people are to escape poverty beyond 2015, they require additional policies and political commitment, underpinned by greater understanding and analysis, compared to what is currently practiced at global and national levels. MORE

This Journal Article is found in 'South African Medical Journal, 2013, 103 (3):133.' for more READ HERE

Link: HSRC

Conceptualizing father presence or absence in discreet terms masks the fluidity of men's involvement with children. It is necessary, in the case of African contexts, to understand the determinants of male presence or involvement, the nature of benefits that accrue to both, and the circumstances that allow these benefits to fully materialize. This chapter reviews fathers' roles and presence through the early years of children's lives in southern Africa. It draws on the available scholarship on men and masculinity in southern Africa to outline the determinants of male involvement, including the role of social, economic, and historical dynamics in shaping the lives of men and their functioning as fathers.

If you would like to obtain a copy of this Research Output, please contact Hanlie Rossinger at researchoutputs@hsrc.ac.za.

Publication was sourced from www.hsrc.ac.za

This publication by FAO identifies the knowledge gaps on child labour in the livestock sector.

Section 27 of the Constitution of South Africa guarantees the right to access healthcare services; this right places a legal obligation on the government to ensure that access to health is not hampered and to create conditions in which there is progressive realisation of the right to access healthcare services. The Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and Section27 gathered information from February 2012 to December 2012 and compiled a report showing how healthcare in Gauteng has declined. The report highlighted shortages in medication and staff, infrastructure collapsing, and misuse of funds; this resulted in access to health in Gauteng being compromised.

The present report, submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 66/229, provides an overview of the status of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It contains a list of signatories, ratifications or accessions to the Convention and the Optional Protocol thereto, information on the work of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and reporting on the ongoing efforts of Governments towards the ratification and implementation of the Convention. The report also presents an overview of the progress made by the entities of the United Nations system towards implementation of the Convention and describes relevant activities by non-governmental organizations.

The present report is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 8/4 and 17/3. It is devoted to technical and vocational education and training from a right to education perspective. It highlights international obligations as well as political commitments to promote technical and vocational education and training. The report analyses norms and standards developed through international instruments, and underlines the importance of national-level normative action to maximize the contribution of technical and vocational education and training to empowerment and social and economic development.The Special Rapporteur stresses specific characteristics of technical and vocational education and training as a right, and analyses evolving national legal and policy frameworks. He underlines the need to ensure quality in such education and training and the responsibilities of various stakeholders involved in its implementation. The report also addresses the importance of technical and vocational education and training in the post-2015 “Education for All” and development agendas and concludes with a set of recommendations.

The present third annual report of this kind reviews key developments and initiatives undertaken at the global, regional and national levels.  The report provides an overview of results achieved and progress promoted in the area of the protection of children from violence, identifying efforts required to sustain and scale up achievements made, and informing a strategic future agenda.

In this report, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing analyses the ruling paradigm of housing policies that focus on housing finance as the main means of promoting homeownership. The report assesses the impact of prevalent housing finance policies on the right to adequate housing of those living in poverty. The Special Rapporteur concludes that the full realization of the right to adequate housing, without discrimination, cannot be promoted solely by financial mechanisms and requires broader and more holistic housing policies and State interventions. She calls for a paradigm shift from housing policies based on the financialization of housing to a human rights-based approach to housing policies.

This report presents the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) undertaken from August 2011 to July 2012, illustrating the implementation of the six thematic priorities of the Office as defined in its management plans for 2010-2011 and 2012-2013. The six areas are: Strengthening of human rights mechanisms and the progressive development of international human rights law; Countering discrimination, in particular racial discrimination, discrimination on the grounds of sex or religion and discrimination against others who are marginalized; Pursuing economic, social and cultural rights and combating inequalities and poverty, including in the context of the economic, food and climate crises; Human rights in the context of migration; Combating impunity and strengthening accountability, the rule of law and democratic society and Protecting human rights in situations of armed conflict, violence and insecurity. The report shows that while determined to undertake these challenges, the Office of the High Commissioner needs adequate political and financial support if it is to fulfil its mandate in a timely and meaningful manner,with a view to contributing effectively to the protection of human rights everywhere.

This article focuses on how to place children's rights on the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS)agenda. ODI and UNICEF have been working to address these concerns. This article highlights how this has been done to date. The discussion includes: alignment between poverty and rights discourses, analysis of the PRS process, visibility of child rights within PRS planning process and NDP documents, translation of commitments into programmes and tools for child rights integration.

This paper examines the current policy and practice around children’s participation in South Africa. By situating the analysis from the perspective of the socio-economic and normative context within South Africa the paper critiques current typologies of children’s participation for focusing too narrowly on processes internal to participatory processes. The paper argues that theorisations of children’s participation need to take account of the range of activities which are labelled as children’s participation and interrogate issues around who gets to participate and why, what the purposes of the participation are and under what conditions it is possible. This requires examining participatory processes and the children involved in them in relation to adult actors within and beyond the process as well as in relation to broader socio-political and economic environments.

This volume is a compilation of recent thinking on the issue of child poverty and inequalities. It draws on over two years of UNICEF’s collaboration with innovative and leading thinkers on these matters. Papers in this volume discuss child poverty measurement, trends in global poverty and inequality, outcomes for children, and policies to address them.

This paper explores strategies for effective policy communication and provides some suggestions on how policy researchers can reach policymakers and the media to enhance the impact of their findings.

The South African Child Gauge is published annually by the Children’s Institute, University of Cape, to monitor government and civil society’s progress towards realising children’s rights. This issue focuses on children and inequality.It was launched on the 17th October 2012.This document is divided into three parts:

PART ONE: Children and law reform Part one discusses recent legislative developments affecting children. This issue comments on litigation and law reform in relation to the Children’s Act; the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act; the Social Assistance Act regulations; the National Health Act; and the Traditional Courts Bill. See pages 14 – 19.

PART TWO: Children and inequality: Closing the gap Part two presents 10 essays – the first four essays set the scene by defining children’s equality rights and explaining the nature and extend of inequality, the spatial dimensions of child deprivation in South Africa, and the impact of place, care and migration on children’s lives. The following five essays outline the potential of particular policies and programmes to reduce inequalities amongst South Africa’s children, including social grants, early childhood development services, access to health care, HIV treatment and prevention services, and access to quality education. The final essay reflects on emerging opportunities and challenges, and critical considerations for policy. See pages 22 – 77.

PART THREE: Children Count – the numbers Part three updates a set of key indicators on children’s socio-economic rights and provides commentary on the extent to which these rights have been realised. The indicators are a special subset selected from the website www.childrencount.ci.org.za. See pages 80 – 105.

This is one of the most definative and widely utilised South African child rights documents, providing a concise and focused synopsis of the situation of children throughout the country.

INVITATION: On 4 March 2016 the Africa Evidence Network and PAN Children are hosting a roadshow at the Human Sciences Research Council  (HSRC) offices in Cape Town. We have invited researchers, policy makers, parliamentary representatives and civil society. The event centres around the value of networks and building capacity in the use of evidence in decision-making across government. Ample time has been allocated to discussion and joining the networks. Please RSVP vfichardt@hsrc.ac.za (link sends e-mail) or imagaya@hsrc.ac.za (link sends e-mail). Note that the event can also be attended via videoconferencing facilities at the HSRC's Durban and Pretoria offices, with a webstreaming facility to be set up. Final programme to be circulated by 26 February 2016.

SAVE THE DATE:. On 4 March 2016 the Africa Evidence Network and PAN Children are hosting a roadshow at the Human Sciences Research Council  (HSRC) offices in Cape Town. We have invited researchers, policy makers, parliamentary representatives and civil society. The event centres around the value of networks and building capacity in the use of evidence in decision-making across government. Ample time has been allocated to discussion and joining the networks. Please RSVP vfichardt@hsrc.ac.za or imagaya@hsrc.ac.za. Note that the event can also be attended via videoconferencing facilities at the HSRC's Durban and Pretoria offices, with a webstreaming facility also be set up.

PAN:Children is hosting a policy dialogue titled 'Children and the media: Yesterday, today and tomorrow ' on 28 July 2014. Cognisant of the fact that the state cannot achieve the realisation, protection and promotion of children’s rights alone, the seminar seeks to bring forth a discussion on how the media can play an important role in ensuring the realisation of children’s rights. The seminar discussion on children and the media seeks to provide a brief overview of how children are represented in the media. It will chronicle some of the challenges and map out possible solutions or policy interventions to some of the problems children face, from existing media challenges to addressing the growth, dangers, potential and development of digital media and what they mean for children and the future of our country.

Presentation from HSRC seminar on 14 August 2013 which gives information on PRIME's approach to research uptake. Note the link to the YouTube presentation on slide number 26 where PRIME's research director Prof Vikram Patel makes a compelling case on improving mental healthcare in developing countries.

On the 14th and 15th of November 2012 The Centre for Child Law, Section27, Equal Education and Centre for Applied Legal Studies, organized and hosted an Education Conference.

The aim of the conference was to analyse the outcomes of litigation, implementation of policy and law reform as well as to facilitate dialogue with other actors in order to address the difficulties in the realization of the right to education. READ MORE

Various publications and reports from the I-K-Mediary Group including blogs and documentation from a workshop conducted in South Africa on the contribution of research intermediaries to evidence based policy and practice.

In this issue of From Evidence to Action we focus on PAN: Children, a knowledge portal launched just over a year ago in a partnership between UNICEF and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). Our Feature traces the ideas and inspiration behind the portal, where we are after a year online and our plans to expand PAN: Children’s facilities and reach. As a learning network we have consulted widely with experts and other platforms and our Case Study highlights an expert retreat and exchange we held in May 2013 where we refined our strategic plans and grappled with issues around policy influencing and key institutional arrangements which we need to put in place. We shine our Spotlight On PAN: Children’s topical guides, the rationale behind them and how they can be updated by online users. Under Toolkits and guidelines we have sourced some useful documents on children’s participation, one of the priority areas for PAN: Children. Our Resources Section collates information about events, opportunities and related documents.

In this issue of From Evidence to Action we focus on research synthesis as a tool for supporting evidence informed policymaking, some organisations involved in this kind of work, and how they go about it. Our Feature focuses on systematic reviews and we interview Ruth Stewart who leads the evidence-informed policy team at the Centre for Anthropological Research at the University of Johannesburg as well as contributing to research at the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre (EPPI-Centre) in London. The EPPI-Centre is part of the Social Science Research Unit at the Institute of Education in the University of London. In our Case Study we profile the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre which is based at the University of Birmingham and look at the research synthesis facilities that this successful knowledge intermediary has built up. Our spotlight is on two partnering South African institutions, the Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care (CEBHC) at Stellenbosch University and the South African Cochrane Centre and their involvement in systematic reviews in the area of public health. Our Resources Section collates information about related events, opportunities and other useful documents.

In the first issue of From Evidence to Action for 2013/14, we focus on communication for research uptake, which, as we highlight in our Feature article, is not a straightforward subject to get to grips with. For our feature we spoke to Amit Makan, Research Uptake Manager at the PRogramme for Improving Mental health carE (PRIME) about institutional arrangements aimed at enhancing research uptake and successful communication with policymakers. Our case study highlights the research uptake strategies at Strive in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. We shine our Spotlight on a relatively new regional network, the Zimbabwe Evidence Informed Policy Network (ZEIPNET) where you can join up on their Facebook page and participate in their science cafes and policy dialogues. As always, our resources section collates information on events, training, associations, toolkits and guidelines.

In this first issue of From Evidence to Action for 2012, we look at networks and, specifically, the role they play in changing policy. Our feature article, Getting the most out of policy networks, examines what a network actually is and what makes them effective. Through the example of the Regional Network on Equity in Health in Southern Africa, EQUINET, our case study further explores how to build networks and how they can be used to influence policy. We also find out more about the Policy Action Network, how to manage a Community of Practice. 

Outputs from ODI RAPID evidence-based policymaking project. Aims to identify lessons and approaches from evidence-based policymaking in the UK which may be valuable for progressive policymakers in developing countries. It responds to a repeated call from partners in the South to understand more about what is happening in the UK regarding evidence-based policy and what can they learn from the UK experience.

Government policy & legislation

PAN:Children from time to time invites experts in the child rights field to write opinion editorials on specific topics to stimulate debate. This piece on the gaps in the implementation of legislative provisions and policy pertaining to children with disabilities in South Africa was written by Sue Philpott an expert in disability issues in South Africa.