Utafiti Sera (Kiswahili for research-policy) is a combination of many things that ensure and enhance policy outcomes. It is a ‘process’, place’, ‘forum’, ‘platform’, or a ‘vehicle’ for transforming research evidence-based knowledge for policy uptake.
Utafiti Sera, as work in progress, supports, contributes to building and enhances a community of researchers and policy actors working together to ensure that appropriate and negotiated policy actions and uptake occur either through programmes, legislations, policies or administrative and other forms of civic actions around issues for which research has provided evidence or for which a synthesis of available evidence has been made.
As a ‘process’ Utafiti Sera involves sequences of activities that enable the building of a community of interests and practice from where existing and new ideas and evidence flow from members of the community resulting in collective action and interventions to improve policy design and implementation. As a ‘place’ Utafiti Sera provides a space for key stakeholders with interest, power, capacity and motivation to act in diverse ways to ensure that research evidence becomes available and are used to make informed policy decisions and practices.
As a ‘forum’, it provides a non-partisan platform for knowledge engagement, ‘outreach’ and ‘in-reach’ by different members of the community irrespective of theoretical and ideological differences, in order to build bridges and work together to establish common ground for the pursuit of agreed upon goals. As a ‘vehicle’, Utafiti Sera constitutes motor and pathways, transmission belts or/and channels for shared knowledge (common areas on which there are agreements and consensus), and experiences to enhance policy uptake.
In short, Utafiti Sera is a phenomenon whose form is determined by the specific conjuncture or/and context in which it is expressed or put in place. It has no permanent form except that of community formation or action of a collective of researchers and policy actors in the pursuit of policy uptake.
Utafiti Sera at national, local and regional levels is an innovative mechanism to inform and positively advocate, proffer and contribute to appropriate and relevant policies and programmes that address inclusive development and the wellbeing of citizens through research evidence for policy. Given that policy formation is always and often a dynamic work in progress, there are other possible routes.
Where circumstances permit such as the presence of most of the actors and conditions, Utafiti Sera may take what can be termed a shorter route towards ensuring policy uptake. In contexts that require more preliminary work of bringing the different players and actors together, facilitating contacts, networks and identifying interests; it is more of what can be termed a longer route of communication, building bridges, working out advocacy plans, facilitating ownership, and identifying and mobilizing collective and individual champions. This involves a more detailed set of incremental activities. There are therefore different time frames, starting points and steps in making Utafiti Sera work.
The scheme above depicts possible short and long routes that PASGR intends to pursue. Utafiti Sera begins with building a community or an imaginary house (a space) where all stakeholders converge for building consensus.
With the support of Dutch Knowledge Platform on Inclusive Development (INCLUDE), PASGR has started operationalising the concept of Utafiti Sera in Kenya on social protection and employment creation and in Nigeria and Kenya on employment creation. PASGR has also registered Utafiti Sera.
Reports and papers about Utafiti Sera initiatives
- Utafiti Sera (Research-Policy Community): First Forum on Wage Employment Creation in Agriculture and Agro-Processing in the Context of Inclusive Growth
- Stakeholders Mapping for Research-Policy Community of Practice (Utafiti Sera) on Employment Creation in Agriculture & Agro-industries in Kenya
- Mapping of Studies on Employment Creation of Agriculture and Agro-Processing in Kenya
- Utafiti Sera Research Policy Community on Social Protection in Kenya: First Forum Report
Blogs, web posts and other media coverage
On partner websites
- Knowledge Platform of Inclusive Development Policies (INCLUDE)
- Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurship (CABE)
On social media
- Cane growing is now a bitter toil with little gain (Nation Newspaper, Kenya)
- There’s no evidence social protection payees binge on alcohol (The Star Newspaper, Kenya)
- How proper research led to success of Inua Jamii project for disabled people (The Star Newspaper, Kenya)
- From begging for food to farming: Grannies cash in on welfare plan (The Star Newspaper, Kenya)