APHRC working groups seek to bring together key experts and role players to engage in joint, incisive thinking, evidence generation and policy engagement on core policy questions or challenges. Working Groups are one method of policy engagement at APHRC and are a proven way to create the connection between our research and the creation of evidence-based policy impact. This is accomplished through cultivating buy-in from key policy makers and policy influencers both as members of and connected to the Working Group. Working Groups are a major tool in the APHRC policy engagement tool kit, and can be cross cutting such as APHRC’s inaugural Working Group on data quality across the continent of Africa or on a very specific policy question related to the areas the Center is doing research. Working Groups are time bound lasting approximately 12-18 months and involve both technical and policy relevant discussions. Products developed as part of each Working Group range from research studies to working papers, case studies, final reports and outreach documents such as policy briefs and press releases. The APHRC Working Group model is based on the Center for Global Development model.
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Working Group Objectives
In pursuit of its goals, a Working Group typically seeks to achieve six key objectives:
- Consolidate and refine the contextual and conceptual framing and arguments relevant to the Working Group policy problem/question.
- Pinpoint the kinds of evidence that are most needed to verify and make a clear case on the topic or policy questions of the Working Group.
- Distil a priority rapid evidence generation agenda for the Working Group and a broader, longer-term research agenda for the wider scientific community (dependent on the topic of the Working Group).
- Implement the Working Group rapid evidence generation agenda to support and inform the Working Group in developing their recommendations.
- Put forward an incisive, evidence based case for the recommendations developed by the Working Group.
- Effectively broker the ‘case’ to relevant national, regional and global level policy and civil-society role-players and stakeholders as well as relevant academic communities through internal and external consultations and outreach efforts.
Working Group Membership and Activities
Working Groups usually comprise of 10-15 high-level representatives of key policy, civil society, international and academic institutions as well as donor and private organizations. The work of the Group generally centers on seven core activities, to be undertaken over a 12-18 month period:
- Development of an initial full background paper and concept, setting out key perspectives, issues and evidence thus far, as well as specific conceptual, empirical and policy queries to be addressed by the Group
- Convening of two to three in-person Working Group meetings
- Rapid evidence generation through secondary analysis of relevant existing data, systematic reviews, and ‘rapid surveys’.
- Deliberations and external consultations on the interpretation of generated evidence
- Writing of a final report and supporting dissemination products that set out key findings and recommendations
- Launch event/push
- Policy outreach/follow up
- Monitoring and evaluation of impact
Examples of Expected Outputs
The findings, conclusions and recommendations generated by the Working Group are generally disseminated and brokered to relevant policy, academic and civil society audiences through the following kinds of products:
- Thematic working papers/case studies/research reports
- A final working group report
- A series of fact sheets
- One or more tailored policy briefs
- Active web presence: Web description page, blogs, social media by lead organizations and Working Group members
- Multimedia items (where possible): info-graphic, interactive web feature, or video