On July 19th and 20th, 2016, EPoD held a training for members of the Nepali civil service and faculty from the Nepal Administrative Staff College (NASC), held at NASC facilities in Kathmandu, Nepal. The training, part of EPoD’s Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence (BCURE) program and the first EPoD training to be held in Nepal, included 14 NASC members and 15 Joint Secretaries from various government departments. Represented departments included the Office of the Prime Minister and Council Minister, the Supreme Court, the National Planning Commission, and the National Reconstruction Authority. Course sessions were instructed by Professors Rohini Pande and Michael Callen, both of Harvard Kennedy School, and Dr. Santosh Harish of The Energy-Policy Institute of University of Chicago.
The training taught participants to systematically apply important principals of policy evaluation and data analysis to help them better interpret and apply evidence relevant to policy formulation and program implementation. The two-day program included two of the BCURE modules: Becoming an Effective Consumer of Descriptive Evidence and Becoming an Effective Consumer of Impact Evaluations. EPoD staff facilitated participants’ use of the digital units, and faculty delivered in-class, Nepal-specific cases to supplement the digital content.
Highlights of the two-day training included interactive faculty lectures and collaborative problem solving. Participants engaged in lively discussion during Professor Callen’s session on becoming an effective consumer of descriptive evidence, in which they analyzed data on poverty and migration in Nepal to suggest recommendations for improved migration policy.
Participants also worked in groups to apply steps of EPoD’s Smart Policy Design framework to address problems across various sectors. Participant-identified problems included decentralization within the Nepalese government, aid distribution for reconstruction, ensuring accurate performance evaluations for civil servants, increasing female secondary school enrollment in western Nepal, and effective waste management in Kathmandu.
The program concluded with closing remarks by Professor Pande and Dr. Tirtharaj Dhakal (participant and Joint Secretary, National Planning Commission). Trainees were enthusiastic in their praise for this initial engagement, and EPoD and NASC look forward to future collaboration.