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					Creating a Window of Opportunity
        for Policy Change

            By Nancy Yinger,
     The Population Reference Bureau

                  AMDD Conference
                 Kuala Lumpur, 2003
                Workshop Objectives

•   Goal: To provide overview of the role of
    information in policy process.
•   Topics:
     The research-to-policy gap
     A model of the policy process
     Policy-relevant findings, implications, and
      recommendations
     The importance of evaluation
    The Research-to-Policy Gap

•   Large investments have been made in policy-
    relevant data collection and research.

•   Yet, opportunities for increasing knowledge
    and putting data to use are often lost.

•   Researchers and decision makers work in
    different spheres.
How is the gap manifested?

• Stereotypes
• Assumptions about how
  decisions are made
Researchers' Stereotypes of
              Policymakers

   Uninterested or too busy to read
   Reach hasty conclusions
   Actions unsubstantiated by data
   Distrust survey and research findings
   Limited perspective
   Should be responsible for drawing
    implications from the data
Policymakers’ Stereotypes of
                Researchers

   Avoid policy implications of findings
   Prone to professional "faddism"
   Excessive use of technical jargon
   Inconclusive generalities about broad
    theoretical matters
   Little appreciation of real problems and
    data needs
Assumptions about Decision-making

   Researchers may assume that
   policymakers:
     • Practice rational decision-making
     • Prioritize goals and objectives
     • Examine alternative solutions
        systematically
     • Choose alternatives that maximize
        goals
Policymaking is Not Linear


              POLITICS




  SOLUTIONS              PROBLEMS
A Window of Opportunity
      for Policy Change

             POLITICS         Window of
                              opportunity




  PROBLEMS              SOLUTIONS
Moving the Spheres Together

             POLITICS




      PROBLEMS     SOLUTIONS
The Goal of Agenda Setting

Help issues gain and keep the
attention of:
 The   media
 The   public
 Policymakers
   Characteristics of Issues that
      Get on the Policy Agenda

• Clear, measurable indicators
• Policy champions
• Feasible policy or program
  alternatives
• Attention-focusing events
     Agenda Setting Activities

• Press conferences and other kinds of
 support for journalists
• Public events, seminars and
 speeches
• One-on-one meetings with
 policymakers
            Coalition Building

Links together individuals from
  Government
  The academic community
  The media
  NGOs and advocacy groups
  Businesses
  Coalition Building Activities

• Create and/or facilitate media or
 advocacy networks
• Provide information to existing
 networks
                Policy Learning

• The ongoing stream of
 information to policymakers

• An understanding by all actors
 of complex power relations and
 changing institutional
 arrangements
    Policy Learning Activities

• Policy analyses
• Publications
• Electronic communications
  (websites, CD-roms, e-
  newsletters)
• Seminars and briefings
 Crafting the Policy Message

Policy communication messages
  derive directly from the data
  help decision makers to
   understand policy implications
   and to make grounded policy
   recommendations.
Research to Recommendations

           Research

              Key
            Findings


          Implications


         Recommendations
                Implications are:

• Broad statements that express a
    direction, new information, or a
    need implied by the findings.
•   Analyses derived from two or more
    findings.
•   Guides to help the audience begin
    to interpret the findings.
          Making the Link to
          Recommendations

Implications are a bridge from
your key findings to policy
recommendations.
          Recommendations:

• Offer specific actions that you
 urge a policymaker or
 program planner to take.

• Should start with an action &
 be S.M.A.R.T.
               A S.M.A.R.T.
         Recommendation Is:

• Specific
• Measurable
• Action-oriented
• Realistic
• Timebound
Skilled Attendance at Delivery, by
         Residence, India 1998-99
 Percent of live births
 60            56

  50
  40
  30                                              23
                           18
  20
                                                               11
  10
   0
                    Urban                              Rural

                     Doctor      Trained nurse/midwife

 Source: OCR Macro, India National Family Health Survey, Demographic and
 Health Surveys.
                         Implications
•   Rural women may be at significantly
    higher risk of maternal death than
    urban women because of the low
    level of skill attendance at birth.
•   A higher percentage of the urban
    women who have skilled care rely on
    doctors, which may result in higher
    medical costs.
                  Recommendations
•   Within one year, conduct a behavior change
    campaign in rural areas to increase
    awareness of the importance of skilled care,
    and in urban areas to build support for using
    nurse/midwives.
•   Within two years, expand the number of
    trained nurse/midwives by 50%, and include
    a community service requirement to increase
    the pool of skilled providers in rural areas.
         Place of Delivery, by Education,
                               Peru 2000
 Percent of live births
90                84                                          81
80                                          69
70
60
50
40                                  29
30
           15                                                          18
20
10
 0
        No Education           Primary Education            Secondary +

                 Delivery at health facility        Delivery at home

  Source: OCR Peru Demographic and Health Survey.
                            Implication
•   Educational level is clearly related to
    whether women in Peru deliver their
    babies at home or in facilities, but only
    the most educated women rely on
    facilities. Since women with primary
    education are quite similar to those with
    no education, programs need to target
    both groups to address their needs for
    safe delivery.
                 Recommendations
•   Within 6 months, conduct additional
    analysis on the constraints to facility-based
    delivery faced by the 2 lower-education
    groups.
•   Within 1 year, start a community-based
    project to address those constraints,
    including materials for low-literate or
    illiterate populations about the danger
    signs of obstetric emergencies.
               Evaluating Policy
               Communications
Have policy communications
  activities :
• Helped your issues gain the
  attention of policy makers;
• Enhanced coalition efforts to
  increase the saliency of your
  issues; or
• Supported policy learning?
And Ultimately…The Window
              of Opportunity
Is there evidence of change in
• Policies,
• Programs,
• Strategies, or
• Resource allocation?
       Need for Benchmarks

Coalition building          Policy Learning




          “best”

“worst”
                     Agenda Setting
              Initial Assessment

                             Policy
Coalition building           Learning




                     Agenda Setting
                  Post-Intervention
                      Assessment
Coalition Building:         Policy Learning:
No change                   Improved



                                Window open


                       Agenda Setting:
                       Improved
                              In Summary

•   Policy change is a complex, dynamic
    process.
•   Research can play a key role but the
    research-to-policy gap must be bridged.
•   Agenda-setting, coalition building & policy
    learning are key elements in policy change.
•   Effective policy communication depends on
    clear findings, implications &
    recommendations.
       Saving Women’s Lives

Communicating your research
findings to policymakers will help
open the Window of Opportunity for
improved maternal health policies.

          Thank you!

				
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posted:9/30/2011
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