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Effective communication with policy makers

Effective communication with policy makers



Sharing scientific findings with policy makers remains a major challenge for many research project.This presentation by David Wafula of ISAAA AfriCenter gives you tips on how to effectively engage ...

Sharing scientific findings with policy makers remains a major challenge for many research project.This presentation by David Wafula of ISAAA AfriCenter gives you tips on how to effectively engage policy makers and make an impression about the findings of your reserarch. Making an impression is the first step towards policy influence!



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    Effective communication with policy makers Effective communication with policy makers Presentation Transcript

    • Communicating Science for Policy InfluenceBIPCEA Science Communication Training Workshop For Bio-Innovate Projects July 3rd - 4th 2012 Kigali, Rwanda David Wafula
    • Focus of the presentation• Why communicate science for policy influence• The importance of reaching out to policy makers• Tips for effective outreach• Outreach mechanisms- (strategies and tools)• Writing policy briefs• Challenges associated with engaging policy makers• Measuring impact
    • Why communicate science for policy influence?• Research, written in a reports only does not lead to positive action or outcomes.• We communicate to achieve results, to bring about a change• What changes can happen if you communicate• (your research) well? – A change in policy – A change in thinking among decision makers – Bring on board other actors who can affect policy (media etc)
    • Who are policy makers ?• Persons whose decisions and opinions have significant influence or impact on national policies, laws and regulations• Policy makers make decisions that impact on the society Directors in ministries, R &D institutions and Regulatory agencies Parliamentarians Ministers PS Senators Governors
    • The importance of reaching out to policy makers• Meeting the challenges of the 21st century and responding effectively to strategies such as MDGs, CAADP and national level strategies- requires fostering interaction between scientists and politicians and increasing the influence of scientific evidence on public policy• Scientists and politicians work at different paces. The scientist tackles a problem over many years, the politician must make decisions every day.• Scientists and politicians should have ‘a symbiotic relationship’• While the interdependency is crucial a huge communications gap between the political and scientific communities exists
    • Why policy-makers in the context of biosciences innovations? Enabling & supportive laws Resource Environment (L&P mobilization BIOINNOVATIONS Regulations Safety of Application & devept Environment Acceptance Compliance: Commercialization inspection & market access monitoringScientific and technological innovations remain fundamental for poverty reduction,socio-economic growth and environmental sustainability
    • Role of Policies in Agricultural Innovation Systems Enabling environment Political stability, law and order, infrastructure, Governance favorable micro-macro and sectoral policies, etc. Agricultural Agro industry Agro-industry (Product marketing) production (Input supply) Processing (Farm production) Value adding Marketing Facilitating Institutions Policies, legal framework, market, information, quality control Research, extension, training, credit, etc.) Facilitating Services Transport, storage, packaging, facilitating, equipment, import and export, communication, promotion, etc.
    • Agricultural value chain –needs enablingpolicy environment Consumption Retailing Trading Processing Trading Transport Post-harvest handling Production - - Input Supply
    • Tips for effective outreach to policy makers -1•Politicians or senior policymakers are always busy and in somecases few have scientific backgrounds•Yet they must frequently make vital policy decisions on S&T thatimpact on the society •Be accurate and always present the evidence/facts in a concise and precise manner. •Explain why the issue is relevant to them and why it is important (speak in terms of benefits and advantages )•Describe the urgency of the situation
    • Tips for effective outreach to policy makers -2•Science alone is not enough-focus on the impacts of technologieson people and glaring challenges such as climate change, nutritionand food security.•Policy makers are constantly overwhelmed with information. Donot write about a subject because it is new and exciting-it must havesome relevance for them (e.g funding decisions to be made orrelevant policies or legislation to be passed)•Provide timescales whenever talking about future developments(politicians interested in something that might happen during theirterm)
    • Effective ways of communication and outreach
    • Where do policy-makers get informationRanked in importance (in Kenya)1. Mass media – electronic & print (radio highly effective)2. Special groups – NGOs and civil society3. Special media – policy briefs, brochures, pamphlets,newsletters4. Websites and social media becoming popular
    • Seminars and oral briefings• Seminars and oral briefings- interactive and good in stimulating dialogue between the stakeholders & obtaining quick feedback – Breakfast meetings and sessions with targeted groups e.g select parliamentary committees or sectoral institutions – Use existing platforms such as OFAB• Venue- should be held in locations convenient for politicians and senior policy makers – Parliament – Convenient hotels – Ample notice through relevant channels & effective mobilization strategy
    • Workshop for Parliamentarians on the Biosafety Bill
    • Using existing platforms such as OFAB I S AA A Monthly networking sessions through OFAB
    • Traveling workshops and tours ISAAA EAC MPs on a visit to biotech facilities in KenyaParliamentarians visit to Bt cotton CFT in KARI MWEA Parliamentarians visit Kenyan parliamentarians to biotech facilities in the country visit to S. Africa
    • Tour of modern biotechnology facilities at the KARIBiotechnology Centre
    • Media Outreach I SAAAInvest in good relations with credible media/journalists for increased and balanced reporting (mass media)
    • Written reports & briefing papers• Formats- fact sheets, message maps, policy briefs, posters, pamplets and newsletters – Good for quick and detailed reference and less likely to be misquoted than oral presentations – BUT offer fewer opportunities for interaction and dialogue• Distribution list- consider targeting individuals with a specific interest in the subject
    • POLICY BRIEFS•A policy brief- is a targeted and focused tool for presentinginformation in a short- well designed and well-written formatthat decision makers can read and absorb quickly.•Purpose- of the a policy brief is to convince the target audienceof the urgency of the current problem or issue and the need toadopt the preferred alternative or course of action/decision•A vehicle for providing policy advice
    • Who Are Your Readers?• Who am I writing this brief for?• How knowledgeable are they about the topic?• What questions need answers?• What are their interests, concerns• What value does this have for them?
    • Writing a policy brief that serves the intended purpose•Focused and punchy writing-the key points should be expressed wellenough to be grasped easily and quickly-the “breakfast test”•Focused on a single topic -the focus of the brief should be limited to aparticular problem, concern or subject•Style- avoid dry and technical language- can make the reader rapidly‘switch off’ (simple and clear language)•It should be brief-not be more than 3, 000 words•Structure-ensure that the first page has something to•grab a reader’s attention (logos, statistics, photos, quotes)•Start and end- with a well-written summary re-emphasizing theimportance of action-this may be that a busy decision maker has time orinclination to read
    • Writing a policy brief that serves the intended purpose 2•Be persuasive and convincing- use ideas, evidence andlanguage that will convince the decision maker (benefits andadvantages)•Avoid using general terms like ‘large’ or ‘majority’•Accurate and evidence based -use information from reliablesources (may be used in a political debate or decision-making)•Headings-use plenty of catchy headings. These guide thereader through the text and help them to spot main points at aglance• Use graphs to illustrate facts & figures to support your views)
    • A policy brief that serves the intended purpose• Peer review- send your brief to colleagues or experts in the subject matter. It is a good way of checking accuracy.• Build a clear and coherent link to the conclusions, implications and recommendations – articulating the preferred policy option or action• Need to have concrete conclusion – Implications are what could happen – Recommendations are what should happen-state precisely next steps – Ensure they are relevant, credible and feasible
    • FAQs- Provide answers to FAQsProject 1: Delivering New Sorghum and Finger Millet innovations forFood Security and Improving Livelihoods in Eastern Africa• What are the objectives of the project?• Who are the partners?• How will the new sorghum and finger millet innovations be developed?• Are the innovations safe?• What will be cost of the seed and delivery mechanisms?• When will the technologies be available to farmers ?• What will be the IPR implications ?
    • How science communication can impact on policy regimes• Modifying existing programs or policies• Helping create a new policy regime in an emerging field• Policy making characterized by competiting interests in terms of priorities and funding- interaction with policy makers can help advance S & T interests and facilitate accomplishment of target goals
    • Measuring impact - effectiveness of Outreach to policy-makers• Analysis of media statements from policy-makers (positive/negative/neutral?)• Number of policy-makers participating in bioscience (events – official representation• Number of relevant policies and laws passed or amended• Number of relevant regulations developed and gazetted• No of products or processes commercialized (an indication of enabling environment )• Reports on parliamentary debates
    • Challenges of engaging policy makers• Engaging policy makers has to be a continuous process to deal with dynamism• Frequent changes in the government (reshuffles)- slows down/delays progress• Political differences/ vested interests can undermine good policies-not everyone is likely to support the policy option proposed or be satisfied with the policy adopted• Limitations of scientific solutions- provide answers only to problems facing a certain community- may not be applicable to others because of social, cultural, political or environmental factors• Financial implications are hefty
    • Recommendations & take home messages• Scientists should be proactive in penetrating political circles and effectively guide the policy making process• Scientists should incorporate communication activities targeting policy makers into the project- guided by critical milestones and appropriate timing• Public outreach- reaching out to the public is very important to support demands of scientists. Policies are intended for the public and politicians are more obligated to hear the demands of a large population
    • Thank you