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What we have learnt (so far) about deliberative dialogue for evidence-based policymaking in West Africa
  1. Valéry Ridde1,2,3,
  2. Christian Dagenais4
  1. 1 School of Public Health, Universite de Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  2. 2 University of Montreal Public Health Research Institute (IRSPUM), Montreal, Canada
  3. 3 IRD (French Institute For Research on sustainable Development), CEPED (IRD-Université Paris Descartes), Universités Paris Sorbonne Cités, ERL INSERM SAGESUD, Paris, France
  4. 4 Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Professor Valéry Ridde, IRD (French Institute For Research on sustainable Development), CEPED (IRD-Université Paris Descartes); valery.ridde{at}


Policy decisions do not always take into account research results, and there is still little research being conducted on interventions that promote their use, particularly in Africa. To promote the use of research evidence in Africa, deliberative dialogue workshops are increasingly recommended as a means to establish evidence-informed dialogue among multiple stakeholders engaged in policy decision-making. In this paper, we reflect on our experiences of conducting national workshops in six African countries, and we propose operational recommendations for those wishing to organise deliberative dialogue. Our reflective and cross-sectional analysis of six national deliberative dialogue workshops in which we participated shows there are many specific challenges that should be taken into account when organising such encounters. In conclusion, we offer operational recommendations, drawn from our experience, to guide the preparation and conduct of deliberative workshops.

  • deliberative dialogue
  • evidence-based policy
  • Africa
  • reflexivity
  • knowledge transfer

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Handling editor Seye Abimbola

  • Contributors VR and CD analysed the process and wrote the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding Part of this work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), which funded the programme (ROH-115213). VR holds a CIHR-funded Research Chair in Applied Public Health (CPP-137901).

  • Disclaimer The sponsors had no role in the writing of the paper or in the decision to submit the article for publication.

  • Competing interests The authors were paid as consultants for some of the workshops mentioned in this article.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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