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Strengthening statistics in Sudan

The Sudan Evidence Base Programme aims to strengthen statistical know-how and data literacy of Sudanese producers and users of statistics and evidence.

Alia Aghajanian

Alia Aghajanian, Cora Mezger, Mary Strode, A0722, Sudan

The programme provided continuing capacity development over the period of one year for 51 participants drawn from ten government ministries and agencies.

In collaboration with the Statistical Services Centre at the University of Reading, we designed and delivered eight training modules in Khartoum. These modules were delivered in parallel to an independent training for journalists, CSOs and NGOs, with the aim of increasing the understanding and awareness of statistics used for policymaking. The topics covered ranged from data exploration in Microsoft Excel to national accounts statistics, using a variety of pedagogical approaches.


This project addressed the considerable data challenges in terms of availability, quality, and accessibility in Sudan and sought to provide training in statistics to a cohort of data producers and users drawn from the Sudan civil service. The challenge for the EBP training is to move from the acquisition of individual skills in handling and interpreting quantitative material, to developing an institutional culture of using evidence in decision making and in civic life. The training sought to influence decision makers through a technical training approach.

Our approach

The programme has been implemented successfully with high participant satisfaction feedback, and eight modules were delivered between January and October 2016. The course syllabus was tailored to the needs and background of the participants, who were assessed during the introductory module in January.

 A variety of pedagogical approaches were applied to achieve sustainable capacity development, including:

  • The practical use of data drawn from Sudan and the development of computer skills. Participants from approximately ten government ministries and institutions were introduced to a variety of statistical software.
  • Theoretical discussion with practical exercises and interactive group work.
  • A mini-dissertation: topics were selected by participants, who used statistical software to answer a research question of policy relevance.
  • Evaluation quizzes at the end of each module.
  • A web based training platform and open source learning materials, developing specifically for the project.


The implementation of the course has shown a significant increase in the knowledge of, and application of statistics by, the participants. This is primarily reflected by the large and significant change in assessment scores between the baseline and the endline when the initial assessment was repeated. The majority of participants (92%) were able to produce a mini-dissertation project that met the minimum required standards.

 The training material used has been made available to the course participants and academics from Sudanese Universities using the e-learning platform. This will allow for the re-delivery of the course to a separate group of participants, perhaps even in another country, or more in depth training for the same participants.

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