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PSI and Plan International Ethiopia Signed MOU

The Policy Studies Institute (PSI) and Plan International Ethiopia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), solidifying their commitment to collaboration and cooperation in advancing research, policy advocacy, and program implementation on January 30, 2024, at the Premises of PSI.

This significant milestone marks the beginning of a powerful partnership aimed at improving the lives of children, particularly girls, in Ethiopia through evidence-based decision-making and transformative initiatives.

H.E. Prof. Beyene Petros, Director General of PSI,expressed his warm welcome to all the leadership and staff of Plan International Ethiopia (PIE) and thanked them for their presence at the MOU signing ceremony. As the Director General of the Policy Studies Institute (PSI), he stated that it was his great pleasure to officiate the event and initiate the partnership between PSI and PIE, which aimed to advance research, policy advocacy, and program implementation.

He conveyed his heartfelt gratitude to PIE for their support and commitment to the shared vision of promoting evidence-based decision-making and improving the lives of children, especially girls, in Ethiopia. The signing of the MOU symbolized a powerful partnership between the two organizations.

Prof. Beyene provided an overview of PSI, highlighting that it was established in November 2018 by merging the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) and Policy Study and Research Centre (PSRC). He explained that PSI's primary mission was to conduct rigorous research and policy analysis to generate knowledge and evidence-based inputs for policy design and implementation. Their research findings were disseminated to various stakeholders, including the policy and research community, academia, the development community, and other relevant parties.

                        Mr. Mudasser Siddiqui, Country Director of Plan International Ethiopia  

He emphasized that PSI aimed to bridge the gap between research and policy, offering evidence-based analysis and policy recommendations to contribute to Ethiopia's development. The institute focused on economic, social, and public policy studies.

Prof. Beyene mentioned that PSI had a team of over 60 researchers, half of whom held doctorate degrees, and they were engaged in six research centers and 14 research departments focusing on economic and social policy research. He expressed their intention to increase the number of researchers in the coming years and become one of the most renowned policy research institutes in sub-Saharan Africa and internationally.

Regarding the MOU, Prof. Beyene highlighted that PSI and PIE would leverage their expertise, resources, and networks to achieve common objectives related to research, policy advocacy, and program implementation. The collaboration would involve areas such as research, policy analysis, capacity building, advocacy campaigns, and program development based on mutual interests.

He expressed confidence that this partnership would enable them to produce evidence-based research, policy recommendations, and interventions with a tangible impact on the lives of children and young people in Ethiopia. He emphasized the importance of working together to create a society where all children, regardless of their gender or background, had equal opportunities to thrive and reach their full potential.

Prof. Beyene emphasized that this collaboration involved not only the two organizations but also the collective effort of all participants to address the challenges faced by children and young people in society. The goal was to build a brighter future for future generations.

He expressed his sincere appreciation to the teams from both PSI and PIE for their tireless efforts in bringing the MOU to fruition, acknowledging their dedication, passion, and commitment to shared goals.

In conclusion, Prof. Beyene expressed his optimism about the achievements that could be made through this partnership. He believed that together, they could create meaningful changes that would contribute to a more inclusive and prosperous Ethiopia, making a difference in the lives of children and young people.

He once again thanked everyone for joining this momentous occasion and encouraged them to embark on the collaborative journey with enthusiasm.

Mr. Mudasser Siddiqui, Country Director of Plan International Ethiopia, expressed gratitude to the Director General and Deputy Directors and provided a brief overview of the history of Plan International, stating that it began in 1971 in Lalibela as the first country office in Africa. Mr. Mudasser mentioned that Plan International has been present in Ethiopia since 1971, except during the Derge regime when operations were interrupted. However, it returned in the 1990s.

Mr. Mudasser proceeded to share a story about a village girl named Asiya who encountered numerous challenges. He emphasized Plan International's motto of helping children realize their potential and its commitment to supporting women and girls in achieving equality and fulfilling their full potential. He highlighted that Plan International adopts a lifelong approach to assisting countries in sub-Saharan Africa facing various crises. By investing in children, he said Plan international Ethiopia is investing in the future.

Mr. Mudasser expressed gratitude to PSI for offering this partnership and acknowledged his organization’s role in helping society and empowering children, girls, and women to reach their potential. He emphasized that research alone is insufficient and stressed the importance of advocacy and capacity building. He expressed happiness in accepting PSI into the pool of collaboration, as he believed that by working together, they could address issues concerning children and women.

Mr. Mudasser mentioned that by helping children, girls and women, their reliance on external assistance would decrease in the long run. He emphasized the significance of teamwork in effectively aiding children, girls, and women, and stressed the importance of gender equality. He emphasized that no society could progress when half of its population, namely girls and women, are left behind.

Mr. Mudasser concluded by expressing gratitude to all those involved in bringing the MOU to fruition and emphasized the need to implement the ideas outlined in the MOU to improve the lives of girls, women, and children in need.

Following the signing, H.E. Prof. Beyene, Director General of PSI and Mr. Mudasser Siddiqui, Country Director of Plan International Ethiopia along with other key stakeholders and participants, expressed their gratitude towards each other for their commitment and dedication in making this partnership a reality. They acknowledged the importance of working together to achieve common objectives and improve the lives of children, especially girls, in Ethiopia.

Next, Mr. Solomon Tilahun, who is a researcher at PSI, presented how the day’s MOU reached to the signing stage.  He said PSI's outreach efforts within the Education Sector have yielded fruitful results as the organization successfully initiated a partnership with key stakeholders. This was accomplished by developing a Letter of Intent, which was signed by the General Director, highlighting PSI's institutional mandate for conducting rigorous research, policy studies, and offering consultancy services to contribute to policy formulation.

Mr. Solomon added that Plan International Ethiopia (PIE) responded positively to the Letter of Intent, leading to further discussions. Three delegates from PIE participated in these discussions, joining four researchers from PSI's Social Development and Inclusiveness Center. During the deliberations, Solomon and Melkamu provided an overview of PSI and Plan International Ethiopia's mandates. The productive discussions ultimately led to the decision to formalize the collaboration through the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Today, we mark the beginning of a collaborative and impactful partnership between PSI and Plan International Ethiopia.

Mr. Solomon explained that the Social Development and Inclusiveness Policy Center at PSI focuses its research efforts on several broad thematic areas. These areas include education and training, which aim to enhance the quality and accessibility of education, and to develop effective training programs that align with the needs of individuals and the labor market.

Mr. Solomon underlined that the center also prioritizes research on human capital development for growth, recognizing the critical role that investing in people plays in promoting sustainable economic development. This includes studying policies and programs that enhance skills development, health, and well-being, and address issues such as poverty and inequality.

Mr. Solomon also noted that productive employment is another key area of focus for the center. Through research, analysis, and policy recommendations, the center aims to foster an enabling environment for decent work, job creation, and entrepreneurship. This includes examining labor market dynamics, skills mismatches, and the role of social protection in promoting productive employment.

Mr. Solomon also explained that gender equality and women empowerment are integral components of the center's work. By conducting research on gender issues, the center aims to inform policies and interventions that promote gender equality, address gender-based violence, and enhance women's economic and social empowerment.

Lastly, the center focuses on child development, recognizing the importance of creating conducive environments for children to grow, learn, and thrive. Research in this area encompasses child protection, early childhood development, education, and social policies that promote the well-being and rights of children.

Through its research and policy analysis in these thematic areas, the Social Development and Inclusiveness Policy Center at PSI strives to contribute to evidence-based decision-making and the development of inclusive policies that address social challenges and promote sustainable development in Ethiopia.

Mr. Solomon also detailed that the collaboration between the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) and Plan International Ethiopia encompasses a range of areas aimed at advancing research, policy advocacy, and program implementation.

Mr. Solomon said PSI and Plan International Ethiopia work together on various policy-related interventions. This includes engaging in policy dialogue on issues related to girls in crisis, advocating for policy and law adoptions by developing bylaws, and collaborating on the development and implementation of policies that promote quality education for girls. Additionally, the partnership focuses on developing policies that ensure meaningful youth engagement and participation in decision-making processes.

Mr. Solomon added that the collaboration between PSI and Plan International Ethiopia includes capacity-building initiatives to strengthen knowledge and skills in policy analysis. This involves providing capacity-building and training programs to enhance the ability of stakeholders to conduct rigorous policy analysis. The partnership also includes empowering stakeholders through training on policy brief development and advocacy skills. Furthermore, comprehensive training programs on research and knowledge sharing are conducted to promote evidence-based approaches in policy development and implementation.

Through these areas of collaboration, PSI and Plan International Ethiopia aim to generate evidence-based research, promote policy dialogue, and build the capacity of stakeholders to effectively engage in policy processes. The partnership strives to contribute to the development of policies and programs that address the needs and rights of children, particularly girls, and create an inclusive and equitable society in Ethiopia.

Mr. Solomon also noted that PSI and Plan International Ethiopia collaborate on generating evidence through comprehensive impact evaluations. This involves conducting rigorous assessments to measure the outcomes and impacts of programs and interventions. The partnership also focuses on generating valid and relevant national data and figures that can serve as inputs for policy formulation and decision-making processes.

Mr. Solomon also emphasized that PSI and Plan International Ethiopia work together to develop systems and strategic practices that support evidence-based policy development and implementation. This includes researching and developing policy guidelines that provide frameworks and recommendations for addressing specific issues, such as those related to girls in crisis. The collaboration also involves developing policy models and tools that can assist in policy analysis, planning, and monitoring.

Mr. Solomon highlighted that the partnership between PSI and Plan International Ethiopia includes collaborative research efforts on various topics, including girls in crisis. This involves conducting research studies to deepen the understanding of the challenges faced by girls and to identify effective strategies for addressing these challenges. Additionally, the collaboration extends to providing consultancy services, where PSI offers its expertise and guidance to support Plan International Ethiopia in revising or developing strategies to achieve their goals.

Through these areas of collaboration, PSI and Plan International Ethiopia aim to strengthen evidence-based practices, improve data availability for policy inputs, enhance strategic practices, and develop policy guidelines and tools. The partnership seeks to contribute to informed decision-making, effective program implementation, and positive impact on the lives of children, particularly girls, in Ethiopia.

The signing ceremony of the MOU between PSI and Plan International Ethiopia concluded with a vote of thanks and a group photograph. As the representatives of both organizations finalized the signing of the MOU, there was a sense of accomplishment and excitement for the collaboration ahead. 

 

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