GINKS, ACEPA Organise Workshop for Information Support Staff of Parliament

A two-day workshop on strategic approaches to evidence for information support staff of parliament has ended in Accra.

The workshop, which started on Wednesday, aimed to increase the knowledge of the parliamentary staff-drawn from Research, ICT, Hansard, Committees and Library departments-to overcome organizational obstacles that affect the use of evidence.

It was organized by the Ghana Information Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS) and African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) with support from International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), an international development organisation.

The workshop was also to assist the parliamentary staff to understand the factors affecting evidence in the various departments of parliament and approaches to handling these issues.

GINKS is the lead agency for the VakaYiko Consortium in Ghana-a consortium of five organisations working in Ghana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Uganda to build capacity for the use of research evidence-while ACEPA builds the capacity of African parliamentarians and elected representative bodies at all levels of governance.

Throwing more light on the training, Dr Rasheed Dramani, Executive Director, ACEPA, said the collaboration with INASP and GINKS is a six month extension phase of the VakaYiko programme, adding that the phase, called the learning and exchange phase, is a peer learning phase where the different parliaments-Ghana, Uganda and Zimbabwe- share the knowledge they had gained from EIPM training, learn together and if there are challenges, the rough edges are smoothen.

Over the last three years the information support staff of parliament of Ghana have learnt to generate evidence to support the work of parliament through training programmes organized by GINKS.

According to Dr Dramani, the workshop took participants through practical experiences by choosing strategic issues and examining how evidence could be used to solve those issues. Hence, it was hypothesized that if the genetically modified organism (GMO) bill, which has been on the debating table since 2013, came back to parliament next year, how would the information support staff of parliament help parliament to generate evidence so that parliamentarians argue on the basis of evidence rather than speculation?

Based on this, a working strategy has been developed to guide this thinking, using the information and knowledge the participants already have.

Source: ISD (Sule N. Jotie)