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Context Assessment: Triangle Analysis

Toolkit/guidelines

Triangle Analysis a further technique for both analysing and finding answers to a problem, structured around structure, content and culture in the policy system. First, it can be used to analyse how a combination of policies, institutions, and social values and behaviour contribute to or perpetuate a problem (issue). Second, the framework can be used to map and clarify strategy options to address each of the three dimensions.

Content refers to written laws, policies and budgets relevant to a specific issue. For example, if there is no law to criminalise domestic violence, one part of a solution may be introducing a law. Also, even if a law or policy exist, unless there is funding and institutional mechanisms for enforcement, it will not be effective.

Structure refers to state and non-state mechanisms for implementing a law or policy. This would include, for example, the police, the courts, hospitals, credit unions, ministries, and agricultural and health care programs. Structure can refer to institutions and programmes run by government, NGOs or businesses at the local, national and international levels.

Culture refers to the values and behaviour that shape how people deal with and understand an issue. Values and behaviour are influenced, among other things, by religion, custom, class, gender, ethnicity and age. Lack of information about laws and policies is part of the cultural dimension. Similarly, when people have internalized a sense of worthlessness or, conversely, entitlement, this shapes their attitudes about and degree of benefit from laws and policies.

This tool first appeared in the ODI Toolkit, Tools for Policy Impact