Crossing boundaries: from evidence to impact? Some reflections.


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Presentation given at the Sixth RENEWAL Regional Workshop: A decade of work on HIV, food and nutrition security. By Scott Drimie

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Crossing boundaries: from evidence to impact? Some reflections.

  1. 1. Crossing boundaries: from evidence to impact? Some reflections. Scott Drimie Regional Network on AIDS, Livelihoods and Food security
  2. 2. Objectives• Focus on the challenge of translating this emerging evidence into large-scale action, and ultimately better impact.• Discuss the pathways for policy influence when dealing with such complex interactions.• Highlight some of the lessons from RENEWAL activity in eastern and southern Africa.
  3. 3. Science – Policy Interface• Interface not well understood, and is often assumed.• At least three distinctive perspectives: – a linear and logical approach; – an iterative and incremental approach; and – an approach centered more on discourse.
  4. 4. Moving in the Divided Space Improved Research Policy Multi-Directional“Evidence” Dialogue Programming
  5. 5. Diversity of experiences• Network centred around a focal institution and advisory group in each country• Network waxes and wanes around issue/ project• Partners diverse approaches: research objectives, learning• Evolution of thinking
  6. 6. Malawi MOA Capacity Strengthening NAC: 2008 Irish Aid: 2009 MOA: Ext Services HIV and Agriculture Task Force Strategy – based on Capacity limitations scientific evidence RENEWAL / Bunda SADC VAC training on HIV/FSScience Modules for MOA FAO Funding Sam Bota RENEWAL Malawi
  7. 7. TB and HIV in Mbekweni, South Africa Participant feedback Community engagementZAMBART Research Policy “dialogue” with NAC, DoH Project RENEWAL National Fora MSc degrees, publications Collaboration – build on strengths Feedback Meeting: “march on the councilors”
  8. 8. Working as a network: lessons• The nature of politics and political engagement: – peculiar politics of HIV&AIDS – labyrinthine institutional issues – focus on sustaining relationships
  9. 9. Working as a network: lessons• The maintenance of integrity of interactive research: – adherence to principles of science whilst maintaining close relationships with those with political authority – ensuring accountability to the communities within which the research is conducted. – To “reach-in” to what individuals and organisations share rather than to focus on differences. – Need for a strong centre (presence)
  10. 10. Working as a network: lessons• Selecting and nurturing ‘champions’ in government and scientific organisations: – senior officials regularly move to new posts – scientists have a ‘natural’ reticence against use of their research in different forms and ways – Need to engage in critical commentary and interpretation with different ‘non-science’ parties
  11. 11. New Ways of WorkingThe “U-Process” in Mamelodi, South Africa:– Urban-rural links research • Urban epidemic • Urban informal settlements have double the HIV prevalence of urban formal areas in South Africa • Risk factors (Weiser et al) • Mobility and spatial connections
  12. 12. Sickness and HIV:if the individual in Johannesburg becomes toosick to work, the majority will return back home 54 % 67% Urban livelihood Support Importance of that supportsanother household food Burden on the household back‘back home’ would be affected. home.
  13. 13. The “U-Process”: Phase 1“ Co-Sensing “Learning to see… the Co- first schooling” – Realizing Nietzsche Activities: foundation workshops, learning journeys. Output: Documented shared understanding of reality. Co-Presencing
  14. 14. The “U-Process”: Phase 2“ Co- Retreat and Reflect Sensing Getting in touch with own Co- relationship to the Realizing system, ‘inner knowing about it. Activities: Innovation retreat, Wilderness solos Output:: Clarity and commitment about what to do to create new reality Co-Presencing
  15. 15. The “U-Process”: Phase 3“ Co- Bringing the new Sensing reality into existence Co-Realising Activities: Implementation of innovations with potential to change the system, prototyping, piloting, learning by doing Co-Presencing
  16. 16. Working as a network• The seemingly interminably slow process of influencing policy requires a long-term perspective: – Need to be persistent, to adopt an informed, supportive, flexible and adaptive approach. – gradual strengthening of networks allows trust to be built while securing diverse representatives as a key source of legitimacy and, hence, influence.