Naved Chowdhury - ODI
The objective of the CSSP is to help Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) influence national policies and practices to make them pro-poor. Through the CSPP, ODI has organised regional and national workshops in Africa and Asia to provide a forum for CSOs to discuss the opportunities and challenges they face when trying to inform policy and share experiences about what works and what does not, learn about the latest worldwide research and practice in this area, and identify gaps for future work.
The objectives of this three day workshop were to enable participants to:
- Share experiences about CSO-policy context in Asia
- Learn about the latest worldwide research and practice in this area
- Share experiences about approaches to influence policy and what works
- Start to develop strategies to improve policy impact
Participants expectations were to learn more about advocacy strategies and tools, best practice, opportunities for policy change, how to move from challenging to engaging with the policy process, frameworks (e.g. RAPID) and failures and successes of civil society.
At the end of the workshop various suggestions and recommendations were made for the way forward, including:
- Concern Bangladesh's organisational stance on various advocacy issues should be clarified;
- Concern Bangladesh should establish a centralised advocacy committee, as opposed to project-specific advocacy work, although there were some objections to this suggestion, as it was believed that this might lead to a neglect of advocacy issues on the project/field level;
- Leadership on advocacy is needed;
- An advocacy focus group to build staff capacity on advocating, while providing technical assistance on various issues relating to advocacy;
- At any given time, the organisation should focus on no more than be 3-4 advocacy issues in order to avoid a 'dilution' of messages;
- On a national level, senior management and the Country Director have big roles to play in terms of raising the profile of various advocacy issues. On a local level however, all staff have a role to play.