Policy approved – and implemented?

I want to use this blog to help you to use Net-Map in your own work. This is why  – every once in a while – I give you examples of how exactly I tackle a concrete question in the field.

For example: Policy approval and implementation in Nigeria.

The Nigeria Strategy Support Program of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) aims at improving policy making and implementation through research. They asked us (Noora Aberman and me) to look into these processes, so that they will have a better understanding of where, when and how to intervene. Through our discussions we realized that we can really only understand this system if we look at two steps separately: The process in which a policy is made and the process in which it is – or is not – implemented.

The new fertilizer policy we  are looking at aims at making Nigeria independent from fertilizer imports by increasing the local production. It has been approved – but is still waiting to be implemented.

When Noora is going to the field, she will mainly undertake two activities: In individual interviews with people who were involved in (as policy makers or observers) the writing and approval of the policy she will find out, what the formal and informal networks were, with which the actors influenced this process. After a day to consolidate her findings and develop a preliminary common map of her interviewees’ understandings, she will facilitate a workshop that includes her interview partners plus some actors who will be crucial for the implementation (but weren’t involved in the policy-making).

She will present the policy-making map to the participants for comments and validation and then venture into the next question: “Who can influence, whether and how the new policy will be implemented?” This will be the leading question for a group exercise of drawing one common map together, identifying crucial actors, conflicting goals, bottle-necks and possible strategies and coalitions to move the process along smoothly. So while the first step (individual interviews) has a very strong focus on “finding out”, the second step (group process) will combine “finding out” and “moving things along”.

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