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Building Policy Influence


The advice given in this course will help you to build policy influence. You need influence in order to build political will in favor of policy change. Whilst evidence is important to establishing your credibility, there is more to influence than evidence. You need to establish what is important to the battle for influence in your own country. Then you can use your resources to achieve the maximum influence. There has been some interesting generic research in this field; and this may also help you in this task.

The Top ‘Ways in Which Organisations Seek to Influence Policy’ (Kornsweig et al. 2006) are said to be:

  • Networking with other organizations
  • Providing training to key people
  • Commenting on draft policy documents
  • Organizing policy seminars
  • Publications on policy issues
  • Providing services
  • Articles in the media
  • Pilots of alternative policy approaches
  • Insider lobbying
  • Websites
  • Newsletter to policymakers
  • Work on projects commissioned by policymakers

(This is not a comprehensive list)

For more on this see Kornsweig 2006

Another important avenue of policy influence is the building of important and influential allies.

In terms of personal strengths relevant to influencing policy, the following are very important:

  • Being an effective communicator: to find common ground and communicate well with various audiences (including coalitions and partners, as well as policy targets)
  • Creativity: to identify new opportunities and approaches, and design innovative campaigns
  • Flexibility: to cope with rapidly changing circumstances
  • Pragmatism and tolerance: to understand allies and opponents and negotiate agreements
  • Legitimacy: credibility and trustworthiness, to be considered as an important player in the policy arena


Lobbying is best designed and carried out by nationals of a country with a good political understanding.

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