Ordinary citizens often feel removed from the world of think tanks, not always fully understanding the work and research they do. This can lead to a lack of engagement by citizens in both the research and policy process, and lead to a lack of basic knowledge with regards pressing policy issues.
The think tank I work for in Amenia, Advanced Social Technologies (AST), has sought to use mechanisms such as Town Hall Meetings to involve ordinary citizens in our work, and to solicit input and feedback on various topics. The presentation and video below describe our experiences and learning from these meetings.
These meetings were conducted by in June 2012 in Armavir, Armenia. One of the meetings discussed policy alternatives for improving access of rural women to antenatal health services, while the other focused on policy options to improve the efficiency of public spending on drinking water. Each meeting accommodated 50 participants and examined different policy options, providing a wide array of different policy ideas that we could feed into our work - proving very valuable indeed!