The need for rapid evidence and learning in times of crisis

Published on 13 September 2022

The Knowledge, Evidence and Learning for Development (K4D) Programme is hosting an event on 21 September to discuss the importance of putting evidence into action during turbulent times.

Crisis and complexity define the current political, social, and economic landscape. Increased global turbulence and crises, from the Covid-19 pandemic to climate change, and multiple conflicts, create a context where decisions must be made quickly. This calls for agile, robust, and innovative knowledge, evidence, and learning. For the past six years, the K4D Programme has been providing rapid evidence and learning for development policy and action.

As the programme comes to a close, register to join international development experts and practitioners in London (or online) as they share reflections on a way forward for evidence into action.

Six years of evidence and learning on demand

The K4D model is demand-led, supporting the UK’s Foriegn Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)’s (and the former Department for International Development – DFID) knowledge needs, and fostering evidence-informed dialogue on critical development issues. Over 1,200 rapid evidence reviews and 55 reports on emerging issues have been produced to fill knowledge gaps, in response to queries from FCDO advisers. At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, K4D researchers were producing daily health evidence summaries which informed decision-making on pandemic responses. This is an example of how K4D’s agile and rapid synthesis of evidence has supported agile decision-making within FCDO and the UK government.

“K4D is the resource we draw on for our thousands of advisers and other colleagues exploring difficult development issues.” – Mark Harvey, Head of Profession (Infrastructure and Urban) at FCDO

Organisational learning has also been instrumental in deepening understanding of current development issues and crises within FCDO, other UK government departments and with partners. K4D has facilitated 45 learning journeys, covering a range of themes such as inclusion in crises, water security, tax and gender, systems thinking, health systems strengthening, and beyond. As well as strengthening up-to-date knowledge within organisations, K4D’s learning journeys have also played an important role in creating connections between development actors –across institutions and sectors, and within the UK government’s departments and teams. As an FCDO partner in Pakistan reflects:

“K4D facilitated us to share experience and insight into the commonalities of complex issues and how we can learn from the solutions that others have achieved.”

Towards a future of evidence into action

K4D is hosting a final event on 21 September 2022 at One Birdcage Walk in London (online option available to those outside London) in order to commemorate the end of the programme and to share lessons learnt about mobilising evidence and learning in policymaking and action. As well as sharing the lessons and reflections from the programme, the event will feature a panel of leading international development experts, practitioners and policymakers who will unpack the importance of rapid, reliable, and agile evidence in decision-making moving forward.



  • Keynote speaker: Adil Najam, Professor at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University
  • Rhona Mijumbi-Deve, Senior Research Scientist, Makerere University, College of Health Sciences
  • Eliya Zulu, Executive Director and Founder of the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)
  • Chris Lewis, Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor, Head of Expertise & Science Advice, FCDO
  • Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies
  • Moderator: Jim Woodhill, K4D Director


  • 21 September 2022
  • 14:00 – 17:30 (UK time)


  • One Birdcage Walk, London, SW1H 9JJ (Limited online tickets available for those based outside London)

Register Now

Book your ticket on Eventbrite.

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