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Oxfam's use of evidence for influencing - Irene Guijt

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As part of the Global Development Institute Lecture Series Dr Irene Guijt, Head of Research at Oxfam GB, delivered a lecture entitled: Evidence for Influencing: Balancing research integrity and campaign strategy in Oxfam

When using evidence to influence, what compromises have to be made in different contexts due to practical, political and strategic reasons?
Dr Guijt presents on challenges and successes, using examples of Oxfam research and campaign strategies from across the world.

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Oxfam's use of evidence for influencing - Irene Guijt

  1. 1. The Global Development Institute Lecture Series #GDILecture @GlobalDevInst @Guijti @OxfamGB
  2. 2. Evidence for Influencing Balancing research integrity and campaign strategy in Oxfam Dr. Irene Guijt Head of Research and Publishing Oxfam Great Britain GDI Lecture, Manchester December 13, 2017
  3. 3. Page 3 For people who want the truth evidence is adequate but for those who don’t want the truth overwhelming evidence is inadequate. Adv Thuli Madonsela (former public protector)
  4. 4. Page 4 1. Why does evidence matter to us? 2. How do we go about it? 3. What are the challenges?
  5. 5. Page 5 1. Why does evidence matter to us? Essential to know what to do with who and how… but never enough
  6. 6. Page 6 What is influencing? ‘systematic efforts to change power relations, attitudes and beliefs, the formulation and implementation of official policies, laws/regulations, budgets, and company policies and practices, in ways that promote more just and sustainable societies without poverty’ Oxfam International's National Influencing Guidelines
  7. 7. Page 7 What is evidence? Evidence Data, information presented in support of an assertion. Evidence-informed The purposeful and systematic use of the best available evidence to inform, e.g. the various options for influencing strategies and policy- making.
  8. 8. Evidence generation in OGB Research Team in Campaign, Policy, Influencing Team Programme impact evaluators Action research in programmes Policy advisors Private sector policy advisors Market insightsTechnical specialists Monitoring
  9. 9. Page 9 Credible Relevant Impactful Relevant campaigns & programmes High quality campaigns & programmes Partnerofchoice Leverage Access Risk management Thought leadership
  10. 10. Page 10 KeyResearchTeamFunctions 1. Undertake forward looking trend and context analyses 2. Influence and support planned campaigns, programmes and media 3. Strengthen research quality, incl data assurance 4. Engage externally to inform & be informed
  11. 11. Page 11 Oxfam is huge so this stuff happens in lots of places and ways • Around 9,300 staff • 20 affiliates • 90+ countries • Global, regional and national programmes and policy work on: • Economic justice • Gender justice • Climate justice • Right to be heard • Humanitarian response • Refugee and migration policy • Natural resources and livelihoods • ….
  12. 12. 23-24 October 2017, Soesterberg, the Netherlands EVIDENCE FOR INFLUENCING CONFERENCE #OxfamEvidence
  13. 13. Page 13 2. How do we go about it? Doing, brokering, checking
  14. 14. Page 14 Evidence has its limits  Decision-makers are influenced by many individual, institutional and societal factors and actors • So evidence is vital but (rarely) sufficient on its own to achieve change • Effective research needs to be: • Credible • Well-timed - to take advantage of (existing or created) windows of opportunities • Carefully framed and communicated • Propositional - with policy solutions packaged up & hooked to recognised problems & policy maker’s value • Supported - by other campaigning or wider influencing strategies
  15. 15. Page 15 The Influencing Journey • What needs to change? • Who has power to make the change, and who and what influences them? • How to achieve change • Context in which we try to achieve change
  16. 16. Page 16 ResearchPriorities
  17. 17. Page 17 Nexus Synthesis Trends Propositional Voice
  18. 18. Page 18 Diverse types of evidence and knowledge product
  19. 19. Page 19 And many knowledge products Inequality: statistical input to Davos 2018; National inequality reports; Strong input on constructing/correcting CRI Index; Fiscal sector and inequality; perceptions research Gender justice; Gender –equitable fiscal policies; Unpaid care economic narratives; How to diagnose and shift social norms; Women’s collective action and transformative leadership Influencing; Evidence for Influencing Conference; Meta-review of what works for policy change; Behavioural change paper (gender, WASH); Blog series; populism paper Human Economy: joint framing paper; WeAll governance paper and foundation member; Arrival book (forthcoming) People’s voice work: Displaced people’s agency (CAR case study, 2 more in MENA); M&S study on impact of commercial decisions on workers’ rights; SenseMaker manual And more … (lots and lots of sign-off, data checking)
  20. 20. Page 20 Case 1. Unpaid Care and Economic Narratives work by Anam Parvez and Martin Walsh
  21. 21. Page 21 Why they matter Narratives can express values and worldviews, including true and false beliefs Narratives can be very persuasive and spread rapidly and widely Can be equally difficult to counter, change or replace e.g. right-wing populist narratives Campaigning organisations use research and classic influencing strategies, e.g. by generating new and persuasive evidence and zooming in on key audiences to change the terms of debate
  22. 22. Page 22 1. Understanding our change audiences better 2. Understanding what kind of arguments would be most effective and what evidence is needed 3. Identifying potential partners 4. Capacity building 5. Questioning our own narratives Examples of influencing outcomes informed by economic narratives research: • Policy briefing for national governments/economic policy-makers • International Development Forums- Skoll World Forum • Capacity building for influencing: Pan Africa Dialogue Using research on narratives for influencing
  23. 23. Page 23 1. Identify problematic narratives on UCW and its link to economic development that need to be shifted - UCW is not relevant/only has a negative influence on economic development; addressing UCW is not central to achieving health, education and economic policy objectives - Evidence type: statistical Unpaid care: an ignored economic policy concern
  24. 24. Page 24 2. Identify potential opportunities within existing narratives - Recognition of the importance of investing in health, education in existing economic narratives - showing links with unpaid care work - SDGs - Women’s participation in paid work
  25. 25. Page 25 3. What are persuasive transformative narratives? - Unpaid care work has a crucial economic value and is a significant component of local, national and global economies and economic wellbeing ($10 trillion of output per year) - Inadequate provision of care results in costs to the society, economy, companies and the government (20% higher prevalence of mental health for carers, $17.1 billion a year cost to employers) - Potential partners: gender departments at IFIs, feminist economists
  26. 26. Page 26 Case 2: Oxfam research for Patents and Access to Medicines campaign work by Ruth Mayne
  27. 27. Page 27 1. What needs to change? Solutions (Oxfam campaign) • greater flexibility of WTO patent rules for developing countries • an end to rich and corporate bullying of poor countries • systematic price reductions by pharmaceuticals in LICs • increased funding for LICs to purchase essential medicines & R&D Evidence to investigate & address counter arguments • companies say poor health systems are the main cause of lack of access to medicine not patents, patents are needed to reward innovation, etc. Problem & Causes • millions of people in poor countries die &suffer due to lack of access to life saving HIV/AIDs and other medicines • high prices due to unfair WTO patent rules & company pricing policies/business models, lack of R & D into neglected disease, weak health systems, poverty
  28. 28. Page 28 2. Who needs to take action Power analysis & research to identify who has the power and capabilities to achieve change and who and what influences them • Formal duty bearers : WTO member governments • Key influencers: • Opponents: • Big pharmaceutical companies : GSK as possible positive industry leader; Pfizer as ‘bad guy’ • Rich country governments - UK, US • Supporters: people suffering from HIV/AIDS, investors, many developing country governments, scientists • Opponents: swingers – EC
  29. 29. Page 29 3. How to achieve change Power & systems analysis, plus additional research to understand & identify: • Wider system influences and contextual opportunities • Decision-making processes of duty bearers and key influencers • Mix and sequencing of research and complementary influencing strategies/tactics - informed by above & power analysis
  30. 30. Page 30 What went into the evidence mix?  Secondary data from existing credible sources and data bases e.g. UNAIDs, WHO • Qualitative/case study research from: • Primary data e.g. Oxfam case study in Uganda • Secondary data e.g. from Oxfam country programmes & credible partner organisations – MSF, Jamie Love, Treatment Action Aid in South Africa, partners in Brazil and Thailand • Stakeholder workshops, consultations, horizon scanning • Oxfam campaign & influencing guides • Research, evaluations, theories of change • Peer review & research by academics
  31. 31. Page 31 Multiple knowledge products Foundational research for campaign launch Feb 2001 • Overarching public facing campaign report: Patent Injustice: How World Trade Rules Threaten the Health of the Poor, Feb 2001 • Technical briefing: Fatal Side Effect: Medicine patents under the Microscope, Feb 2001 • Company briefing paper: GlaxoSmithKline: Dare to Lead – public health and company wealth, Feb 2001 • Country case studies e.g. Make vital medicines available for poor people: Bangladesh, Feb 2001
  32. 32. Page 32 Follow up briefings Related to new contextual developments & openings • South Africa vs the Drug Giants – Feb 2001 (plus update April 2001) • Drug companies vs. Brazil: The threat to public health, May 2001 • WTO Patent Rules and Access to Medicines : The Pressure Mounts, June 2001 • US Bullying on Drug Patents: one Year after Doha – Nov 2002 • TRIPs and Public Health: The next Battle – March 2002 • Public Health at Risk: How a US bilateral free trade agreement could threaten access to medicines in Thailand – 2006
  33. 33. Page 33 How evidence helped influencing • Provided high quality of research to: • Undermine intellectual foundations of company’s influence over government policy • Strengthened hand of developing country governments & emboldened them to take action at the WTO • Demonstrated viable alternatives • Used powerful human framings that helped humanize & popularize the issue contributing to a huge public outcry and media coverage around the world
  34. 34. Page 34 3. And what about the challenges? Plenty of them, internal and external
  35. 35. Page 35 Evidence and data alone won’t change hearts and minds • Alliance building • Advocacy • Media pressure • Public campaigning • Taking strategic advantage of windows of opportunity
  36. 36. Page 36 Challenges galore
  37. 37. Page 37 Many Demands • Ensuring focus around long term questions vs agility to respond to emerging needs • OGB needs vs needs of OI/country offices/other affiliates • Campaigns (in all their diversity) vs programmes • Globally focused pieces of work vs nationally focused efforts
  38. 38. Page 38 Foundations for a solid and persuasive evidence base • Capacity • Training on research quality pitfalls • Expanding our capacity • Standard raising and sharing • ToRs sign-off • quality check and peer review • research guidelines and case studies • Formats beyond publications • Confederation wide
  39. 39. Page 39 Now over to you - question time!

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