APHRC – patience and planning rewarded

The African Population and Health Research Center is a world-renowned pan-African research institution that conducts high quality policy-relevant research on population, health, education, urbanization and related development issues across Africa. APHRC actively engages policymakers and other key stakeholders to achieve measurable policy impacts and ensure decision making across the continent is informed by rigorous evidence-based research.

APHRC’s education and communications teams work closely together to ensure that firstly there is a demand for their research and secondly that policy makers are supported and encouraged to act upon it. In all her work, communications chief Ruthpearl Ng’ang’a has identified five common ingredients that help all good communications.

1. Context Counts
APHRC ensures there is clear government demand for evidence
2. Intent to Influence
Desire to create change must be explicit in the research objectives, questions, methods and language
3. Strategy for Communication
Research teams define their objectives, decision-makers, targeted messages and tactics
4. Networks
APHRC works hard on its relationships
5. Exploit Contingency
Research and communications teams innovate whenever possible

As a result of a clear strategy, good networks and a speedy capability to exploit contingency she persuaded Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Education to throw his weight behind Dr. Moses Ngware and his team’s report on education in urban slums when they launched it in early 2014.

Back when Professor Kaimenyi was first appointed she had sent a photographer to his old primary school, who shot pictures of “where it all began”. A framed collage was presented to the professor soon after he started his new job. And a year later when she approached him to launch the report he was glad to do so because he remembered the picture – indeed had taken it home and hung it on his sitting room wall. She had been strategic, she had targeted correctly and she had chosen the right channels. The Cabinet Secretary endorsed APHRC’s recommendations and now they are monitoring the results. Patience and planning have been rewarded.

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