“The road to inaction is paved with research reports,” said Marya Khan, our Population Reference Bureau facilitator, opening today’s East Africa Population-Health-Environment (PHE) Network workshop on bridging the research-to-policy gap.
At the Environmental Change and Security Program, we know all too well that even the best program or most dramatic research findings don’t stand a chance of being implemented unless they are communicated to policymakers in succinct, persuasive formats. Yet researchers often neglect to convey their results to decision makers and donors, assuming they won’t be interested or won’t appreciate their methodologies, explained Khan. Furthermore, researchers are often hesitant to draw out the policy implications of their findings, believing this is policymakers’ responsibility, while policymakers tend to think this is researchers’ duty—so these critical implications are often never explored.
Today’s sessions aimed to empower the PHE working groups from Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya to develop their own strategies to bridge the research-to-policy gap. The groups brainstormed policy communications objectives they wished to achieve—such as officially launching their country PHE network—as well as concrete outcomes that would contribute to accomplishing those objectives—such as convincing representatives from various national government ministries to join their network.
Rachel Weisshaar is attending the meeting of the East Africa PHE Network in Kigali, Rwanda. She will be posting daily updates on the New Security Beat throughout the week (see yesterday’s post).
Photo: Members of the Kenya PHE Working Group discuss communications strategies. Courtesy of Rachel Weisshaar.