The Think Tank Initiative’s (TTI) Policy Engagement and Communications (PEC) Programme aimed to support think tanks to produce, synthesize and communicate research in ways that would strengthen their impact.

CommsConsult were brought in to partner the Results for Development Institute (R4D) in order to design and lead the Policy Engagement and Communications Programme as the Regional Lead for Africa.

The PEC programme provided over 40 participating think tanks in Africa, Latin America and Asia with customized capacity development through mentorship and peer-exchange to better:

  • Understand policy processes in specific contexts

  • Engage in knowledge brokering

  • Contribute to the public debate

  • Synthesize and package knowledge and evidence

Policy engagement and communications have been identified as key precursors to change, helping think tanks strengthen their position within public policy debates.

“In an increasingly interconnected world, Northern and Southern think tanks are joining forces in partnerships and networks to generate and use knowledge more systematically to address national, regional, and global challenges. Networks of think tanks can provide an extremely effective mechanism for learning and innovation, and enable collaboration beyond the usual institutional, cultural, and functional boundaries of an organization.”

Ajoy Datta is a Research Officer and John Young is Deputy Director at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), World Bank Institute.

CommsConsult’s role involved mentorship which was highly focussed on the needs of the individual organisations and providing the type of tailored support that is often missing in larger-scale communications training events. We provided quality assurance to monitor and support the work of a group of regional mentors to guarantee that their mentorship was being delivered according to guidelines provided during their training. Find out more about the Regional Mentors we worked with on this project on our associates page.

The mentoring was well received and the feedback outlined that researchers had an increased awareness and understanding of the necessity of building communication practices into the foundations of all future programmes. Reports from mentees highlighted that researchers felt better informed on how to “package materials for usability” in policymaking, and believed that the mentorship programme had helped them to build “stronger media relationships” to get their research noticed.

For videos, photographs, blogs and further outputs from the programme, check out the Research to Action Policy Engagement Communication (PEC) Programme Dialogue page. You can also follow the conversations which emerged from the project via Twitter using hashtag #ttipec.

More information can be found in the document below.

Think Tank Initiative’s Policy Engagement and Communications Program

  • Project Type: Building Capacity
  • Client: International Development Research Centre (IDRC)