Stakeholder Engagement for Influencing Policy
In July, WCCC Director ‘Ofakilevuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki was invited to attend the Commonwealth Leadership Exchange organized by the Commonwealth Foundation and hosted by Voluntary Action Network India (VANI), New Delhi, India.
The Leadership Exchange aimed at developing the potential of civil society leaders to meet the needs of the sector. “Participants took an active role on the Exchange, bringing their own knowledge, experiences and expertise to train and educate their peers. They will had as much to give as to learn and the exchange provided an opportunity to meet other leading thinkers and actors who are challenging traditional views and methods. The programme was thus structured around a combination of action learning, peer support and structured discussion and training” according to Guy Holloway from the Commonwealth Foundation.
The 2012 Leadership Exchange focused on ‘Stakeholder Engagement for Influencing Policy’. The Leadership Exchange provided an opportunity for leaders from across the Commonwealth to exchange their own knowledge, experiences and expertise to train and educate their peers, while learning from one another.
Recognising the need to engage, understand and incorporate a wealth of knowledge, opinions and approaches, governments are increasingly looking to civil society to present new, alternative and progressive views for the future. Thus the Exchange aimed to shape civil society leaders to meet this demand and have an impact on policy. “The exchange took things to a higher level where we were constantly challenged to look at improving ways and methods of influencing government policy – and the only way we could really offer any meaningful exchange was to get down to the nitty-gritty of things and talk openly and honestly about advocacy and lobbying tools that have NOT worked so well in the past and to share the tools that have worked. Sometimes we spend a lot of time on sharing of best practices but at the end of the day what we also need to do is ensure monitoring and evaluation outcomes are reflected in the re-thinking of strategies, tools and methodologies of ‘influencing’ the key decision makers. What may work in Nigeria may not necessarily work in Tonga and so for leaders and emerging leaders participating in this dialogue – this was something we had to come to terms with – that there is not a one size fits all model,” according to Guttenbeil-Likiliki.
The Exchange was for civil society leaders and emerging leaders, who are currently, engaged in national and international policy development and implementation activities, and who are current working in Commonwealth member states in the Asia, Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific regions.