Implementation is essential, if advocacy activities are to be effective, Experts say

Maheen Sultan, Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Afsan Chowdhury, Dr. Abdul Matin, Manzoor Hasan, Ariful Alam (left to right) seen at the discussion

Speakers at a discussion on “Policy Advocacy and Lessons Learnt: Lessons learnt” said that implementation is essential, if advocacy activities are to be effective. The event was organized by BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) in partnership with BRAC Advocacy Unit on 12 March, 2015 at the BRAC Centre Inn, Mohakhali, Dhaka. Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Director General of BIGD presided over the discussion.

A Paper on Gender and Women Policy by Maheen Sultan on behalf of Md. Mahmuda Khatun of Dhaka University, a Paper on National Environmental Policies by Dr. Ahmed Shafi of Dhaka University, a Paper on Health Policy by Ms. Mahrukh Mahiuddin of BRAC University, and a Paper on Anti-corruption Advocacy by Tanim Ahmed of Dhaka Tribune, in total four papers were presented at the discussion.
Maheen Sultan, Lead Researcher, BIGD; Dr. Abdul Matin, Secretary, Bangladesh Paribesh Andalon; Barrister Manzoor Hasan, Executive Director, South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (SAILS) and Institutional Advisor, BIGD; and Dr. Md. Ariful Alam , Coordinator, Health, Nutrition and Population Programme, BRAC discussed on the papers.

The speakers noted that while policy formulation is possible through policy, the main obstacle is in implementation. There is also insufficient evidence to link advocacy to policy making in many cases. Greater focus should be give to evidence gathering of success linking it to implementation and identifying specific targets for advocacy. While everyone agreed policy advocacy should be continued, they also said it should be done keeping implementation and achievement of realistic targets in mind.

The discussion was coordinated by Maheen Sultan of BIGD and Afsan Chowdhury of Brac Advocacy Unit.

The discussion was attended by, among others, experts of relevant fields, eminent professionals and representatives from various academic and research institutions, government, NGOs, donor agencies, international organisations; civil society members, politicians and senior journalists.