Monitoring equity and research policy

Tracking progress in advocacy: Why and how to monitor and evaluate advocacy projects and programmes
O’Flynn M: International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC) M&E paper 4, October 2009

This paper begins by introducing the scope of and rationale for engaging in advocacy work as part of development interventions. It notes that effective advocacy can prove to be a very powerful and empowering strategy, and contrasts this with ineffective advocacy strategies, which can be hugely wasteful of time and resources and leave stakeholders feeling bewildered, disempowered or uninterested. It then focuses on the issue of monitoring and evaluating (M&E) these efforts – offering reasons why and when these processes should be planned and implemented, what’s involved, and who should be engaged in the process. The paper discusses organisational approaches to M&E of a number of agencies in the development sector, like Oxfam and the Institute of Development Research (IDR), and offers tools and methods for M&E of advocacy projects in international and national non-governmental organisations.

Tracking routes towards impact: id21 study on research to policy linkages

This study aims to assess id21's success in increasing the influence of UK-funded research within international development policy. It begins by examining the ways in which policy-makers access and employ research. The study then uses these findings to assess the validity and performance of the dissemination methods id21 currently uses.


Research on international development investigates new policies and strategies that can help in the fight against global poverty and for a better standard of living for all. But there is little point to this research if it is not communicated effectively to the people who have the ability to act on its recommendations and implement the necessary changes. Who are these people, what types of research are they interested in, and what are the best ways to communicate this research to them? In early 2002, id21, the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, set about addressing these questions by surveying, interviewing and collecting comments from over 1900 NGO and aid agency staff, politicians, policy-makers, students and researchers. The results of these surveys have now been analysed to produce a comprehensive set of insights into how development research and its effective communication can influence policy and help bring about social change. A summary of reports is available from, while the full report is available from the URL provided below.

Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report
World Health Organisation: WHO, Geneva, 2018

Energy is crucial for achieving almost all of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), from eradication of poverty through advancements in health, education, water supply and industriali­zation to combating air pollution and climate change. This new report includes updated data from WHO on household air pollution showing that 3 billion people – or more than 40% of the world’s popula­tion – still do not have access to clean cooking fuels and technologies. Household air pollution from burning solid fuels and using kerosene for cooking alone are responsible for some 4 mil­lion deaths a year, with women and children being at greatest risk. The report provides a com­prehensive summary of the world’s progress towards the global energy targets on access to electricity, clean cooking fuels, renewable energy and energy efficiency. It was launched at the Sustainable Energy for All forum held on 2 May 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Training Modules on Health Research for Policy, Action and Practice
The Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research

The Alliance for Health Policy and Systems research in Collaboration with the Council on health Research for Development, Global Forum for Health Research and INCLEN Trust have just published new training modules to support strategies aiming to increase the impact of health research on policy, programmes and practice. The modules focus on practical experience and best practices regarding:priority-setting in health research (6 training units); knowledge management (5 training units); advocacy and leadership (5 training units). Those interested in increasing the impact of health research will benefit from the modules. In particular, research managers, policy analysts within ministries of health and research and continuing education officers may find that training in these subject areas will be a valuable investment. To download the modules visit the Alliance Web site. In addition,
The Alliance in collaboration with regional HPSR networks is preparing a series of research to policy workshops with the aim of strengthening capacity to demand high quality, timely and relevant HPSR. This effort will be supported with the training materials just published. Indra Pathmanathan will be leading this effort and will rely on her vast experience with HPSR capacity strengthening and policy development. Workshops will be celebrated between November 2002 and March 2003. Grants will be available for selected participants.

Further details: /newsletter/id/29334
Translating evidence into policy in low-income countries: lessons from co-trimoxazole preventive therapy
Hutchinson E, Droti B, Gibb D, Chishinga N, Hoskins S, Phiri S and Parkhurst J: Bulletin of the World Health Organisation 89(4): 312-316, April 2011

In the April 2010 issue of the Bulletin, Date et al. expressed concern over the slow scale-up in low-income settings of two therapies for the prevention of opportunistic infections in people living with the human immunodeficiency virus: co-trimoxazole prophylaxis and isoniazid preventive therapy. In this short paper, the authors discuss the important ways in which policy analysis can be of use in understanding and explaining how and why certain evidence makes its way into policy and practice and what local factors influence this process. Key lessons about policy development are drawn from the research evidence on co-trimoxazole prophylaxis, as such lessons may prove helpful to those who seek to influence the development of national policy on isoniazid preventive therapy and other treatments. Researchers are encouraged to disseminate their findings in a manner that is clear, but they must also pay attention to how structural, institutional and political factors shape policy development and implementation. Doing so will help them to understand and address the concerns raised by Date et al. and other experts. Mainstreaming policy analysis approaches that explain how local factors shape the uptake of research evidence can provide an additional tool for researchers who feel frustrated because their research findings have not made their way into policy and practice.

Translating health research evidence into policy and practice in Uganda
Mbonye AK and Magnussen P: Malaria Journal 12(274), 5 August 2013

In Uganda, a team of researchers, policy makers, civil society and the media has been formed to build a collaboration that would help in discussing appropriate strategies to mitigate the high disease burden in Uganda. A preparatory secretariat identified researchers and key resource persons to guide four workshops, which were held between 2006 and 2009. A total of 322 participants attended of whom mid-level policy makers, researchers and the media were consistently high. The workshops generated a lot of interest that lead to presentation and discussion of nationally relevant health research results. The workshops had an impact on the participants’ skills in writing policy briefs, participating in the policy review process and entering into dialogue with policy makers. A number of lessons were learned: getting health research into policy is feasible but requires few self-motivated individuals to act as catalysts; and adequate funding and a stable internet are necessary to support the process. Mid-level policy makers and programme managers had interest in this initiative and are likely sustain it as they move to senior positions in policy making, the authors report.

Translating research into policy: Lessons learned from eclampsia treatment and malaria control in three southern African countries
Woelk G, Daniels K, Cliff J, Lewin S, Sevene E, Fernandes B, Mariano A, Matinhure S, Oxman AD, Lavis JN and Lundborg CS: Health Research Policy and Systems 7:31, 30 December 2009

This paper studied policymaking processes in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe to understand the factors affecting the use of research evidence in national policy development, with a particular focus on the findings from randomised control trials. It used a qualitative case-study methodology to explore the policy-making process. It carried out key informants interviews with a range of research and policy stakeholders in each country, reviewed documents and developed timelines of key events. Prior experience of particular interventions, local champions, stakeholders and international networks, and the involvement of researchers in policy development were important in knowledge translation for both case studies. In contrast to treatment policies for eclampsia, a diverse group of stakeholders with varied interests, differing in their use and interpretation of evidence, was involved in malaria policy decisions in the three countries. The paper concluded that translating research knowledge into policy is a complex and context sensitive process. Researchers aiming to enhance knowledge translation need to be aware of factors influencing the demand for different types of research; interact and work closely with key policy stakeholders, networks and local champions; and acknowledge the roles of important interest groups.

Translating Research into Practice

"In today's cost-conscious health care environment, translating evidence-based quality innovations into clinical practice is a challenge. Limited resources mean providers and health systems must follow proven methods for diffusing and adopting effective interventions.” For this study, the authors conducted case studies of four varied clinical programs to learn key factors influencing the diffusion and adoption of evidence-based innovations in health care.

Trends in health policy and systems research over the past decade: Still too little capacity in low-income countries
Adam T, Ahmad S, Bigdeli M, Ghaffar A and Røttingen J: PLoS ONE 6(11), 22 November 2011

In the context of recent global calls for strengthening the field of health policy and systems research (HPSR) as a critical input to strengthening health systems, the authors of this paper assessed the extent to which progress has been achieved in this regard. Two sources of data were used: a bibliometric analysis to assess growth in production of HPSR between 2003 and 2009, and a 2010 survey of 96 research institutions to assess capacity and funding availability to undertake HPSR. Both analyses focused on HPSR relevant to low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). Overall, the authors found an increasing trend of publications on HPSR in LMICs, although only 4% were led by authors from low-income countries (LICs). Improvements were noted in infrastructure of research institutions in LICs, but more limited gains in the level of experience of researchers within institutions. There has been only a modest increase in availability of funding for LICs.