SK for SFE – Sustaining Knowledge beyond a program’s lifetime

This is a cross-post of a piece written by Leandro Echt (CIPPEC), entitled “A researcher in search of a policy maker: reflections on the sustainability of a project aimed at linking policy and research in developing countries and published on Politics and Ideas

Running a multi-year development programme successfully is not an easy straightforward task; but rather a long journey characterized by its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges. The latter become even trickiest to overcome when this program is coming to an end.

In which case, the remaining challenge/question is how to sustain such program; in other words, how to make sure all programme products and learning material do not die away when programme closes. The programme “Spaces for Engagement: using knowledge to improve public decisions” (SFE) illustrates this situation. Not only the knowledge produced throughout the lifetime of the programme has been made available for public use, but also a reflective exercise on the programme resulted in a lessons learned paper which has also been made public with the aim to empower other intermediaries and knowledge brokers working in the same field.

The programme “Spaces for Engagement: using knowledge to improve public decisions” (SFE) is a six-year joint initiative by Global Development Network’s GDNet’s program and the CIPPECCenter for the Implementation of Public Polices promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC). Many of the lessons learned along these six years have been systematically reflected about in a Lessons learned paper, so as to improve our future work, as well as empower others who are walking or want to walk down the same path.

Started in 2008, the project encompasses six years of intense work aimed at creating diverse range of spaces of engagement with the participation of researchers from policy research institutions that conduct and use research to influence policy, policymakers, and/or decision making processes. For this purpose, SFE has deployed a va­riety of complementary methodologies to engage stakeholders in the field: an ef­fective combination of cutting edge research production, development of training materials, coordination of networks and debates and capacity building (both online and offline) allowed the programme to work with more than 300 researchers, prac­titioners and policy makers from more than 40 countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

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How can we make the Egyptian people employable?

Labor market is a valuable pillar to achieve economic and social progress and is key to alleviating poverty and promoting inclusion in Egypt. This is why labor market indicators are among the most timely and important measures of economic performance. The Economic Research Forum (ERF) recognizes the value and determines the need to comprehensively study the Egyptian Labor markets. Hence the ELMPS survey- The Egyptian Labor Market Panel Survey.

Timing of the survey results is key, after the January 25th revolution Egypt is no longer the same. Egyptians calling for their ‘right to information Access’, people need to know. ‘To complement two previous surveys of 1998 and 2006, ERF carried out a new round of the Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey (ELMPS) in 2012. It thus marks the third round of a longitudinal survey that tracks the labor market and demographic characteristics of households and individuals interviewed in the two previous rounds.’ (ERF website)

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South-South cooperation efforts within “Spaces for engagement” program

By Leandro Echt, Coordinator of the Influence, Monitoring and Evaluation Program at CIPPEC

Every two years, the Colombian Confederation of NGOs (CCONG) holds the National Conference of NGOs in partnership with regional NGO Federations. This year, CCONG and the Caldas’ Federation of NGOs brought the “V National Meeting of Colombian NGOs: social innovation for development, an analysis from the NGO” to Manizales, Colombia.

Encuentro-Nacional-de-ONG-2012-090-e1380738795998The meeting aimed at creating a space for dialogue and reflection among leaders and representatives of social organizations, as well as other stakeholders in Colombia. The dialogue was targeted at the importance of having an innovative social sector to contribute to the peace process, governance and territorial development.

Established throughout the meeting, a South-South Cooperation Forum aimed at knowing the trends of South-South cooperation in Colombia, sharing experiences of South-South cooperation between NGOs and other stakeholders, analyzing South- South cooperation as a modality to be strengthened among NGOs, and identifying realities, challenges and opportunities for cooperation among NGOs.
CIPPEC was invited to participate in this Forum and share its experience within the program “Spaces for engagement: using knowledge to improve public decisions (SFE)”. A joint initiative between GDNet and CIPPEC, SFE encompass­es six years of intensive work (2008-2013) that aimed at creating diverse spaces of engagement with the participation of researchers from policy research institutions (PRIs) that conduct or use investigations to influence policy, policymakers, and/or decision making processes. For that purpose, it sought to work with a Community of Practice (CoP) gathering selected researchers from think tanks and research institutes, as well as policymakers who are strongly committed to improving the use of development research in policymaking in Latin America. The program also seeks to promote South-South cooperation on linking research and policy between Latin America, Asia and Africa.

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Building the capacity to produce policy relevant research

As development and the global economy evolve in the direction of knowledge, the ability to communicate research effectively is essential; one of the means to ensure that, is the connections between researchers and policy makers from one side and between researchers themselves from the other side. Policy makers turn primarily to international organizations to obtain credible information, even though, local organizations and southern researchers may have the capacity but are often not able to engage in cooperation with policy makers. GDNet gathers the views of members of the development community who either have first-hand experience of overcoming the barriers faced by southern researchers or that working towards promoting southern knowledge.

Professor William LyakurwaAERC former Executive Director, stresses on the urgent need of conducting the researchers’ work to policy makers since they are considered as the end users. Further, researchers should get engaged into policy making to better understand the output of the research papers to apply it effectively in the policy content.

Watch Professor Lyakurwa’s interview and learn more about the work GDNet is doing to support Southern researchers and help their research travel further to reach policymakers; through capacity building programs.

A leap for generations!?

When senior researchers and younger ones work together they complement each other; since the latter have the enthusiasm, energy and the skills, whereas the senior researchers have greater experience which they can share with the young. Young researchers do not have the eye that can catch on the most important issues that society faces.

According to Wafik Grais (Viveris Mashrek), there is a need to foster these connections between both generations to make use of the strong points of each. In addition, combining between the skills, enthusiasm and expertise will deliver the best outcomes, and he stressed that this connection can be promoted by GDNet.

Inequality of Access to Information: Can Information Sharing be universalized?

Access to information has long been established as one of the major problems faced by southern researchers. Enhancing information accessibility and use helps to better understand, analyze and research ongoing development challenges so that practical solutions can originate from those directly affected by them. This cause is supported by the Connect South Campaign that has pledged to promote sharing knowledge and fostering connections between researchers and decision-makers in the global south, supported by GDNet, GDN’s Knowledge services.

Building on the World Bank’s “Mobilizing Knowledge Networks for Development” conference, Alex Bielak, Senior Fellow and Knowledge Broker (UNU-INWEH) and Louise Shaxon, Research Fellow (ODI), tackle the issue of access to information & the equality of access to information from the perspective of internet access. However Bielak argues the importance of communications infrastructure and how everyone should be connected through information sharing backbone networks that facilitates high-definition data transfer. He raises two interesting questions regarding the current global potential of information access, especially in the south; as to who can afford it, and the sufficiency and quality of this access to knowledge. He emphasizes on accessibility granting and whether it is in fact universal.

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LACEA 2012 Annual Meeting, Lima, Perú

lacea-lames-2012

LACEA-LAMES 2012

The 17th Annual LACEA Meeting kicked off today in Lima, Perú. Hosted by Universidad del Pacifico (UP), the annual meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association (LACEA) and the Latin American Meeting of the Econometric Society (Lames) will take place from November 1st – 3rd, 2012. As last year, 2012 LACEA and LAMES meetings will share a common program, under a single local organization.

Topics to be covered at the Meeting will include (but not limited to):

–          The shortage of safe assets

–          Knowledge growth and the allocation of time

–          Financial crises: Why they occur and what we can do about them

–          Economic mobility and the rise of the Latin American Middle Class

–          Room foe Development – Housing Markets in Latin America and the Carribbean

–          Eurozone spillovers and policy responses

–          Quality of education in Latin America and the Caribbean: The importance of teachers

–          Inequality in the world: Facts, perceptions and public policy

–          Launch of the World Development Report on Jobs

Read the daily blog on GDNet to catch up on plenaries and parallels discussions and listen to interviews from speakers and participants.

Follow @Connect2GDNet for live updates and comments on discussion ( #LACEA2012Lima  &  #LaceaLames2012 )

Sessions from the Meeting will be broadcasted on the web

Open Access: One small step or one giant leap?

By Clare Gorman

GDNet Connect South Campaign

GDNet Connect South Campaign

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) recently announced the welcome news that all publically-funded development research is to become freely available.  As the recent ‘Academic Spring’ debate attests, this is good news for most, not least of all southern researchers who rank accessing research high up a long list of problems they face when trying to engage with the wider development community.

Charging the developing world to see findings of new scientific research will mean fewer people escape poverty and could cost lives” warned International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell as he set out the Department’s new open access policy.  “Even the most groundbreaking research is of no use to anyone if it sits on a shelf gathering dust… What’s just as important, though, is ensuring that these findings get into the hands of those in the developing world who stand to gain most from putting them into practical use.”

Although some may disagree, surely any attempts to make research available easily and at little or no cost to researchers in developing world deserve applause (bravo, Eldis)? Yes… but while open access initiatives and policies such as these are hugely significant, it’s important to understand that the ‘apartheid of knowledge and analysis’ (as Duncan Green of Oxfam puts it) doesn’t end with improving access.

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How to win an online and offline audience

The second day of the Awards and Medals Training Workshop covered more ground in terms of the do’s and don’ts of presentations and how to effectively handle and win your audience. Starting with a brief Q&A session, Megan Lloyd Laney (CommsConsult) discussed how to deal with contentious questions, and effectively address them, and win the crowd in the process.

Pearls of wisdom were also handed out, such as not getting defensive or aggressive, and admitting when not knowing how to do something. It’s also never a bad idea to crack a few jokes and get your audience laughing. Some final thoughts reiterated the importance of taking deep breaths, having confidence in the subject matter, your ability to deliver, and just being sincere; as surefire ways to captivate your audience.

The second highlight of the day, led by Pier Andrea Pirani (Euforic Services), was a session devoted to social media tools for researchers and how and why to use them. It started with a fun, hands-on activity involving a human spectrogram where finalists were asked three questions, relating to their attitudes towards social media, and how beneficial they believe it is in terms of their research, and making it travel.

Having fun during social media session

Needless to say, responses were varied, with some believing in the efficacy of social media as a powerful way to communicate to a wide audience, and others seeing it as a cumbersome, at times useless approach to spreading the message. The session was fun, informative, and helped shed light on the options available to researchers. The choice to use or not to use the tools, remains theirs.

Kstar: Views, hopes, fears, and next steps

So the Kstar conference 2012 comes to an end?…. Or is it just the beginning?! What stood out for you? Where should we be going next? Over the past three days we’ve gathered your views and insight, which are all brought together in this collection of videos:

Academics need to find their place in the new ‘open knowledge society’

In this video Peter Moll (International Analyst and Consultant) talks about the emergence of the ‘open knowledge society’ and what this means for academic researchers. Moll believes that academics have to move away from holding the view that their knowledge is superior to other forms. He says that linear views of knowledge that tend to dominate within the academic community need to be replaced by a more dynamic understandings of how knowledge operate in the open knowledge society.

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