This toolkit describes a range of tools that CSOs might use to understand and map political context, in order to engage more effectively in policy processes.
Policy is the result of interactions among different organisations about what course of action should be taken. The sum of these interactions constitutes the policy process. And the policy process – the interactions among organisations – is part of a wider environment, or context.
Political context includes aspects such as the distribution of power, the range of organisations involved and their interests, and the formal and informal rules that govern the interactions among different players. Political context shapes the ways in which policy processes work. If CSOs can better understand the contexts for their actions, then they will be in a better position to devise more effective strategies, which may allow them to have more influence on policy.
This guide introduces a series of tools that have been designed to map various dimensions of political context. The tools have been selected because they cover a wide variety of political dimensions. As such, they provide a menu of different approaches to mapping political context; CSOs and others can select from this menu and make use of the tools according to their own needs.