On the 2nd November 2023, AFAAS in collaboration with FARA organised a policy development training for its stakeholders (Country Fora , Regional Fora and Secretariat Staff) that was aimed at building their technical capacities in policy and how to effectively engage policymakers using policy briefs as an advocacy tool.
A policy brief is a vital tool to show research and recommendations to non-specialized audience and serve as a vehicle for offering fact-based policy advice to help readers make informed decisions. It is further described as a succinct, stand-alone documents aiming at a particular issue that requires policy attention. Policy briefs are important research products for use by decision-makers. It can be particularly effective in linking research/ evidence and policy. A strong policy brief condenses research findings in plain language and draws clear links to policy initiatives.
As important as it may be, policy brief development has been identified as a major challenge to staff of many organizations, particularly research organizations and academic institution. The inability for researchers and staff to develop good policy briefs has led to low adoption of policy recommendation by policy makers especially in Africa. Policy makers often find policy brief bulky, not based on facts, and often do not respond to emerging issues of social and political interest. This has also led to the low rate of use of policy briefs as advocacy tool for stakeholders, which is one of the functions of a well-written policy brief.
According to Mr. Max Olupot, the Director of Programmes, For AFAAS to carry out their mandate and influence policies concerning agricultural extension and advisory services across the African continent, the capacities of its stakeholders need to be built in policies in general and in agricultural extension and advisory policies
Additionally, The CFs and RFs as well as staff of the AFAAS secretariat needed to communicate clearly to policy makers through various channels including well-written policy briefs. Current capacity gaps include the challenge of translating complex agricultural extension and advisory services messages into messages that will resonate with the wider public and policymakers.
Among other objectives were, to improve the knowledge of participants on various aspects of public policies including what policies are, how policies are formulated, how policies are implemented and evaluated, develop writing skills in policy brief development processes (principles, methodological approaches, frameworks etc.
The Training is expected to Increase participation and engagement of participants in agricultural extension sand advisory services policy and policymaking processes, Increase of participants influence agricultural extension sand advisory services policies through effective communication with policymakers through well-written policy briefs and Participants leading the development and implementation of evidence-based agricultural extension and advisory services policies at local, national and continental levels.