I have recently been reflecting on a knowledge sharing and learning session I organized in Nepal in March 2015 on the topic of Policy Engagement. This is part of my capacity building role in the South Asia Urban Knowledge Hub. A highlight of the 2 days was a panel on policy engagement which was held in a circle where those listening could ask questions by joining the speakers in the inner circle. The speakers included Dr Mahendra Subbha, Joint Secretary DUDBC from Nepal’s Ministry of Urban Development, Bhushan Tuladhar from UN-Habitat (South Asia), Mr Nand Kishor Agrawal of ICIMOD and Vivian Castro-Woolridge of the Asian Development Bank.
Some interesting points that came out of the circle discussion included:
- In academic and applied research, framing of issue needs to be considered
- Consider who is the best gatekeeper? Who is a good messenger?
- Get embedded on major committees so you can take advantage of policy windows, opportunities.
- Sell how your research can contribute to long-term change
- Materials should be readable, use native language, have colour and a summary
- Reach out to those that can help – i.e. media
- Publish science, be credible but also communicate and be relevant to society
- Its our responsibility as researchers to create demand.
- Collaborate (public, private and academic)
At the end of the session, each speaker was asked to give one final piece of “Key Advice”. This is what they said:
- Think design, pre-policy and disseminate
- Advocacy, Advocacy, Advocacy
- Never take a top scientist to a meeting – take a communications expert
- Rephrase and repackage
What are your tips and lessons? Please share in the comments feature!
As the Khub continues on the path of research and engagement in the urban development field I am constantly reminded of this spirited discussion. I hope it has stuck in our researchers’ minds as well 🙂
I have posted presentations from the 2 day gathering online:
- Key Message/Elevator Pitch: http://www.slideshare.net/michellelaurie/key-messages-elevator-pitch
- Data visualization slides: http://www.slideshare.net/michellelaurie/data-visualization-session-for-khub
- Policy Brief session: http://www.slideshare.net/michellelaurie/introduction-to-policy-briefs-for-researchers
- Review of Engagement Strategy and Research Communications: http://www.slideshare.net/michellelaurie/improving-our-policy-engagement-strategiessouth-asia-urban-khub
If interested in the session workbook, email me for a copy (michelle.k.laurie(@)gmail.com).