|Best Practices: Strengthening Policy Research Capacity around the World (IFPRI, 2000, 6 p.)|
IFPRIs training and capacity-strengthening experience yields five main lessons that point the way to best practices
Choose institutions carefully
Long-term research collaboration builds institutional capacity, which in turn helps support and maintain human capacity but does not guarantee it. Choosing the right institution is crucial to the success of capacity-strengthening efforts. Academic institutions, for example, are better suited than other types of institutions to strengthening capacity for policy research and policy analysis training.
Use demand-driven approaches
When the developing-country governments and institutions take the lead on assessing the need for policy analysis capacity and linking it to policy decisionmaking, the benefits of capacity-strengthening efforts can be manyfold. How well developing countries can make such an assessment, however, depends or their existing capacity for identifying gaps. Short-term technical assistance can help in this effort.
Match the approach with the capacity needs
Increasing the impact of policy research can involve strengthening two types of capacity: policy research and analysis and policy training. Organizing a variety of courses, ranging from data collection methods to specialized policy courses, helps to meet the capacity-strengthening needs of various groups of participants and to generate capacity in various spheres.
Organize training locally
Locally organized training has proven to be cost-effective in creating an overall capacity for understanding policy issues and for generating information from the field on specific policy problems. Supplementing local training with overseas training for selected policy analysts can help create a core group of trainers. Postgraduate training should ideally take place at home or in a neighboring country to prevent brain drain. Regional cooperation in training and policy research can help.
Whether a newly developed capacity for policy analysis continues to be used depends on the motivation and commitment of participants and on the continued demand for policy information. Sustainability must be built into training and capacity-strengthening activities.