Knowing your audience

The Advocacy Skills workshop: A participant’s view

By 21 January 2015

by Sukanya Bhaumik, Programme Officer, PAC

As a part of our PEC programme, our facilitator (Ms Aditi Kapoor) conducted 3 workshops including the Advocacy Skills workshop which was held from 24th to 27th June, 2014. The workshop aimed at enhancing the advocacy skills of the Public Affairs Centre (PAC) team through a hands-on approach. For this workshop the team was divided into four groups; each group was assigned a PAC project and was asked to write a policy brief on the same.

The five projects selected were:

  • Monitoring expenditure & outcomes to improve health services for urban poor women in Bangalore.
  • Climate adaptation and resilience in South Asia.
  • Alliance for Green Karnataka.
  • Citizens against corruption.
  • Community monitoring of PMGSY.

On the first day of the workshop Ms Aditi Kapoor gave the team a presentation on writing a good policy brief, she discussed the “dos and don’ts” at length. After this the teams were asked to work on their respective policy briefs. At the end of the first day all the teams presented their briefs and Ms Kapoor gave several comments. She also asked the rest of the teams to give their inputs. Based on these inputs the teams then continued work on their policy briefs.

Ms Kapoor had invited Mr Kapil Mohan (Principal Secretary, Water Resources, Government of Karnataka) a very senior bureaucrat, to be part of the workshop the following day. The teams presented their briefs in a role-playing exercise and Mr Mohan responded and asked questions as a bureaucrat, wearing different hats depending on the department he was deemed to represent per policy brief. This gave us researchers an opportunity to have one-on-one interaction with a ‘live’ policy maker and garner feedback that would help improve the quality of our advocacy instruments in the future.

The guidelines on how to write a good policy brief were then included in a resource pack to be available on PAC’s intranet. The resource pack comprises all the materials used during the workshops and the summary of learnings from each of the workshop. The pack can be used by the research teams as reference material to create PEC products (policy briefs, media briefs, press releases). The pack will also be helpful in inducting new research staff at PAC.

Below are a selection of the policy briefs produced during the workshop.

Closing the Gap in Social Safety Nets for Fishing Communities

Strengthening Citizen Monitoring of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act’

Improving Quality of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) Roads through Social Audits and Monitoring Platforms