Citizen Voices and Evidence-Informed Policy

Overview

In many places around the world, the quality of health care, education, sanitation and other public services is poor, especially for the people who need them the most. Even as economies grow and budgets increase, governments often fail to address the concerns of their citizens.

The Hewlett Foundation makes grants to organizations that help citizens in low- and middle-income countries access information about what their governments say and do, and use that information to encourage officials to improve social services. We also support organizations that help policymakers find and use high-quality evidence in their decisions. This includes building trust, collaboration, and capacity among those who generate, share, and use evidence.

 

Goals

Transparency, participation and accountability

Help citizens identify where government revenues come from and how governments spend those resources. We make grants to organizations that help citizens use information to improve the quality of public services. Read our strategy (PDF), (Spanish PDF), or (French PDF).  Read the consultation drafts of our fiscal transparency, governance, and service delivery monitoring substrategies.  

Evidence-informed policymaking

Ensure policymakers can access and use high-quality evidence in their decisions. This includes strengthening trust, collaboration, and capacity among those who generate, share and use data. Our grants strengthen the evaluation of public programs, support the use of new sources of data, and increase the ability of think tanks around the world to contribute to better public policy. Read our approach (PDF).

Ideas + Practice

Global Population and Development

Data gives a voice to people and also makes us aware of the world around us and what we can do to improve it.

Shaida Badiee, Co-founder and Managing Director of Open Data Watch

Our Grantmaking

Oxfam America
for strengthening women's participation in social accountability in the extractive sectors
Firelight Foundation
for developing an updated strategy based on their "Learning Journey"

Our Team

Ruth Levine
Ruth Levine 
Program Director
 @ruthlevine5
Norma Altshuler [Headshot]
Norma Altshuler 
Program Officer
Joseph Asunka
Joseph Asunka 
Program Officer
 @joeasunka
Jessica Avendano [Headshot]
Jessica Avendaño 
Program Associate
Kim Brehm
Kim Brehm 
Program Associate
Jodie Clark
Jodie Clark 
Program Associate
Sarah Lucas
Sarah Lucas 
Program Officer
 @sarahtlucas
Alfonsina Penaloza
Alfonsina Peñaloza 
Program Officer
Christine Preston
Christina Preston 
Program Associate
David Sasaki
David Sasaki 
Program Officer
 @oso
Pat Scheid
Pat Scheid 
Program Officer
 @pscheid6
Sarah Jane Staats
Sarah Jane Staats 
Communications Officer
 @sjstaats
Anupama Tadanki [Headshot]
Anupama Tadanki 
Program Associate

Learn More

The world has made remarkable progress in reducing extreme poverty, combatting childhood disease, and opening schools to more children. Yet low- and middle-income countries face persistent problems of access and quality of social services. Some of these deficits are a product of resource shortages or limited capacity, but the most egregious problems have less to do with the amount of money invested than with imprudent or corrupt use of that money—misuse enabled by weak mechanisms of public accountability.

If citizens have knowledge about their government’s actions and can engage those responsible to represent their interests, they can hold government accountable and ensure the delivery of quality public services. We provide about $30 million annually to support efforts that increase transparency, participation and accountability, particularly in East and West Africa, as well as Mexico.

Both citizens and policymakers, however, need credible, timely evidence to inform their advocacy and decisions. Unfortunately, almost none of this is available to decision-makers in the developing world, who face critical shortages of information about (and analysis of) social and economic conditions, problems, and solutions.

Even when evidence is available, there is no guarantee a policymaker can find, understand and use that evidence. Often, research and evaluation findings are hard to access or understand because those who generate, share and use it interact infrequently. We make about $15 million in grants each year to build the field of evidence-informed policymaking.

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