CSO-Legislature Linkages In East Africa


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A presentation given by Nicola Jones from ODI on a research project looking at CSO-Legislature linkages in East Africa. It was presented at the 3rd Annual ebpdn Partners Meeting held from 26-27 November 2007 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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CSO-Legislature Linkages In East Africa

  1. 1. CSO-Legislature Linkages in East Africa ODI, CDRN, ESRF, AFREPREN An EBPDN action research project
  2. 2. Background and research aims <ul><li>CSO-legislature linkages are an under-studied dimension of the research-policy-practice interface. </li></ul><ul><li>Typically policy engagement initiatives focusing on policy-makers target powerful line ministry officials (e.g. ministries of finance and economics) who are mandated with the coordination of PRSP processes. Policy advocacy work directed towards legislators has been less common. </li></ul><ul><li>But if good governance initiatives are to promote a system of checks and balances, working to strengthen the pathways through which legislators are able to access and make use of quality policy-relevant evidence to monitor government policy should be seen as an important goal. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Research design <ul><li>The project explores the strengths and weaknesses of the formal and informal relationships and mechanisms that currently exist in the East African sub-region between civil society organisations (including think tanks, NGOs and CBOs) and parliamentarians (either individual MPs and/or parliamentary committees). </li></ul><ul><li>It also solicits views of civil society representatives and parliamentarians as to how these linkages could be improved in order to enhance the uptake of evidence-informed development research in national policy debates and processes. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Research design (2) <ul><li>In order to provide a concrete focus for the work we have selected a specific policy sector in each country: energy policy in Kenya and health policy in Uganda and Tanzania. </li></ul><ul><li>This allows us to make some initial comparisons about similarities and differences across countries and sectors. We hypothesise that factors such as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the level of technical expertise demanded in a particular policy area, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the level of civil society organisational coherence, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the extent to which an issue resonates with broader national policy agendas and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the level of donor support </li></ul></ul><ul><li>are all likely to play a role in shaping the type of relations that civil society organisations and parliamentarians can be expected to forge. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Research methodology <ul><li>The research will combine the following methods: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a) a desk-based literature review, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>b) structured questionnaire surveys among CSOs working in the health or energy sectors, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>c) follow up focus group discussions and semi-structured key informant interviews with CSOs and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>d) semi-structured key informant interviews with parliamentarians by ex-parliamentarians. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Together this mixed methods approach will address the following broad questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The history of CSO-parliamentarian engagement in each country </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The range of current linkages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Factors which facilitate or promote effective CSO-parliamentary relations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The role of research evidence in this policy engagement process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recommendations to strengthen the knowledge translation and uptake process by both CSOs and parliamentarians </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Target audiences <ul><li>Country reports and a co-authored overarching working paper will be finalised by February 2008 and presented at national-level workshops in March. </li></ul><ul><li>All partners will meet for a final workshop in Tanzania to disseminate the findings and discuss with the East Africa Community Parliament in May 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>We would also like to expand this work to other CSPP partner countries to understand similarities and differences across regions, and to share experiences, strategies and tactics. </li></ul>