Workshop for Policy Entrepreneurs

27 October - 1 November 2005
Workshop
Description

There is widespread agreement on the vital role that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) can play in influencing policies and practices to make them pro-poor. More and more CSOs are recognising the need to understand policy processes better and use evidence to engage with them more effectively. Sometimes, however, it seems that CSOs, policymakers and researchers live in parallel universes. This DFID-Trocaire-ODI workshop focused on how CSOs can use evidence to promote pro-poor policies. Active participation was the cornerstone of the approach in the workshop, with emphasis placed on participants' own knowledge and experience.

Objectives
These two workshops were designed for staff of DFID and Trocaire partners in Kenya who wanted to know more about how to influence policy. The workshops provided a forum for participants to:

  • discuss the opportunities and challenges for CSOs to inform policy
  • learn about the latest worldwide research and practice in this area
  • share experiences about ongoing activities and what works
  • identify gaps for future work

Nairobi, Kenya
Workshop participants shared a wide range of other examples based on their own experience. Several cases discussed during the workshops illustrate how it has been possible to influence energy policy through participatory research, information provision and the strategic use of simple policy advocacy tools. While it clearly is possible for CSOs to influence policy, the policy context in Kenya makes this difficult and few CSOs have well developed policy advocacy skills.

Participants at the workshops made a number of suggestions for further work by ODI to help them to promote pro-poor approaches to policymakers in Kenya, including practical training, information about policy options from other countries, and help to establish policy fora and networks in Kenya.

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