Even though opportunities to develop new capacities to better link research and policy are very scarce when we do find one, the decision to invest time and energy in this type of activities is not an easy one. Frequently, we are not that sure about the results and also we are aware that we will probably need to work hard to find the space to commit time to this effort when our plates are already loaded with responsibilities, projects, etc.
Hence, the power of incentives plays a key role in who finally decides to join the group as well as how participants keep engaged and satisfied with the activity.
Among the possible drivers for participants, we can list:
- Identify potential partners in their region or other developing countries
- Links to reckoned practitioners/researchers, and/or to well-known organisations, both in terms of trainers and trainees
- Participate in upcoming and related courses, workshops, etc.
- Development of concrete products (i.e a policy influence plan) that they can do with or share with other members of the organization
- Qualified facilitators and focused follow up (i.e. by giving them personal feedback on the mandatory exercises)
- Access to relevant and high quality practical tools and literature
- Funding implementation of something that was learned in their organisations.
- Internships as a follow up to the training in an institution with high reputation
- Empowerment due to the seniority/authority of the capacity building event
- Support for a peer exchange/assistance by a colleague/peer organisation
- Funding to share what they have learned in diverse formats (blogging, creating a workshop, etc.)
- Doing a concrete project with the coaching of senior experts from different parts of the world
- Fulfill a requirement made by the donor (this happens too frequently and as stated above and argued by Buldiosky, it is advised to avoid this type of single-purposed participation!)
Also, there are surely reasons to strongly doubt about the value of participating in capacity building activities in this field… any experiences to share? What do you frequently like or do not like about capacity development to better link research and policy?