Data have never been more mainstream and accessible. At the same time, the world has never confronted as many urgent challenges to ending hunger and malnutrition–urbanization, climate change, persistent conflicts, growing inequality, and more. In many developing countries, however, the capacity to analyze complex datasets is limited, which stifles the government’s capacity to make the kind of timely, data-driven decisions critical for accelerating progress. Bangladesh—a longstanding partner of IFPRI of over 30 years and a Compact2025 focal country—faces this gap, and is working with IFPRI and Compact2025 to fill it.
In October 2017, under the Compact2025 initiative, the Governance Innovation Unit (GIU)–the apex body for monitoring Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country—and IFPRI-Bangladesh partnered to establish a Knowledge & Innovation Hub in the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office. Central to Compact2025’s mission is nurturing the potential of policymakers and development practitioners to use local evidence and datasets such as IFPRI’s Bangladesh Integrated Household Survey (BIHS) and make informed decisions to help countries like Bangladesh achieve their development goals.
Having timely access and correctly interpreting data are key ingredients for sustainable development. As a first step in the partnership, from March 4-15, 2018, IFPRI researchers under the Bangladesh Policy Research and Strategy Support Program (PRSSP) designed and facilitated a two-week customized quantitative data analysis training using the STATA statistical software for 8 government officials in the GIU of the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office.
IFPRI’s initial training will provide the basis for further sophisticated analytical trainings on assessing the impact of programs, evaluating performance in achieving SDGs, and food policy analysis. Altogether, these trainings aim to sharpen the critical thinking and practical skills needed to poise Bangladesh to rise above today and tomorrow’s development challenges and accelerate progress to end hunger and malnutrition.
“Evidence-based policies can make dramatic, life-saving changes for millions of people. But research and policy alone are not enough to implement lasting change. The capacity to actually turn policies into action is critical, and IFPRI is committed to strengthening such capacity in Bangladesh” says Akhter Ahmed, IFPRI Country Representative for Bangladesh.
This post was written by Akhter Ahmed, Chris Rue, and Julie Ghostlaw
Photo Credit: Mr. Nazrul Islam, Senior IT Specialist, IFPRI-PRSSP