The African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) and the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Clinical Research Programme are hosting the second annual workshop to support the use of research in informing health policy and practice in low and middle-income countries. Taking place between 25-27 February 2019 at the Bingu Wa Mutharika International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe, Malawi, the workshop theme is ‘Networks for Policy Engagement.’
The aim of the workshop is to provide opportunities to learn from the experiences of leaders in policy engagement from across Africa and Asia. The workshop will be attended by representatives from leading institutions, including AFIDEP, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, among others.
The workshop will also call attention to the innovative and collaborative work of the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Clinical Research Programme Policy Unit team and AFIDEP, through EVIDENT (the Evidence-Informed Decision-Making Network for Health Policy and Practice in Malawi). Comprised of the Malawi Ministry of Health, the Malawi College of Medicine, Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust, AFIDEP and DIGNITAS, EVIDENT is a network of institutions that seek to strengthen systems’ and individuals’ capacities to use evidence to improve health policy and practice in Malawi. EVIDENT is a microcosm of AFIDEP’s work and vision—to promote a culture where evidence is valued and used to make development decisions. The workshop provides a unique opportunity to discuss how to maximise the policy impact of networks, including the newly established EVIDENT network.
The forum will feature AFIDEP experts, including Prof. Nyovani Madise, Director of Research and Development Policy as the workshop’s facilitator; Dr. Eliya Zulu, AFIDEP’s Executive Director; and Dr. Rose Oronje, AFIDEP’s Director of Public Policy and Communications as panelists on ‘The role of networks in policy engagement’.
“Policymaking typically happens within networks and interactions. And so the focus of this workshop on ‘networks for policy engagement’ is critical as it provides a platform for researchers to deliberate and explore more effective ways of working through networks to promote and facilitate the use of research in policy and programme decisions.” Dr. Oronje says.
Other workshop sessions will provide insight on critical and emerging components of policy engagement. A panel on bringing public voices into policy engagement will, for instance, share different successful and unsuccessful approaches to bridging the public to policy gap. Generally, the session will highlight the importance of having public voices in policymaking. Among the panelists is Hon. Juliana Lunguzi, a Malawian Member of Parliament (MP) and also the Chair of the Health Committee in the Malawi Parliament.
Ultimately, the workshop aims to stimulate an exchange of knowledge between delegates, igniting learning and professional development through presentations, panel discussions, and networking. The workshop will carry momentum from the inaugural workshop in June 2018 to further the efforts of the Wellcome Trust’s Global Policy team to improve health for everyone.