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
|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)