25. Approaches for Effective Policy Engagement
Description and Purpose:
This tool is a table providing suggested solutions to key obstacles encountered by NGOs/CSOs in policy engagement.
Use the table below for guidance.
|Key Obstacles for CSOs/NGOs||Potential Solutions|
|Adverse political contexts constrain CSO policy work||
|Limited understanding of specific policy processes, institutions and actors||Conduct rigorous context assessments. These enable a better understanding of how policy processes work, the politics affecting them and the opportunities for policy influence.|
|Weak strategies for policy engagement||Identify critical policy stages – agenda setting, formulation and/or implementation – and the engagement mechanisms that are most appropriate for each stage.|
|Inadequate use of evidence||Ensure that evidence is relevant, objective, generalizable and practical. This helps improve CSO legitimacy and credibility with policymakers.|
|Weak communication approaches in policy influence work||Engage in two-way communication and use existing tools for planning, packaging, targeting and monitoring communication efforts. Doing so will help CSOs make their interventions more accessible, digestible and timely for policy discussions.|
|Working in an isolated manner||Apply network approaches. Networks can help CSOs: bypass obstacles to consensus; assemble coalitions for change; marshal and amplify evidence; and mobilize resources|
|Limited capacity for policy influence||Engage in systemic capacity building. CSOs need a wide range of technical capacities to maximize their chances of policy influence|
Policy Engagement: How Civil Society can be More Effective Overseas Development Institute (ODI)