First Stage of Training Course on Evidence Informed Policy Formulation Crowned

More than 20 executives from leading local and international non-governmental organizations in public policy formulation have successfully completed training workshop on ”Evidence Informed Policy”, on July 31-August 3, 2009 in Ureki, Georgia.

The training workshop in Ureki was the first among a series of interventions under the recently launched project “Strengthening Civil Society Capacity to Promote Research Evidence for Policy Development in Georgia” ing at building the skills of civil society organizations on providing evidence in policy making process. The project is implemented by Curatio International Foundation with the financial support of Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR) and Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF).

Advent of the far reaching reforms era in Georgia surged a great demand in cross-sectoral collaboration between the government, civil society and the media to ensure production of high quality evidence and increased demand for evidence informed public policy formulation.

On the light of this Curatio International Foundation has decided to gather two distinct networks of NGOs and strengthen their capacity in producing and communicating research findings, which can promote on- going interaction, collaboration and exchange of ideas between the research and decision-making communities which in turn can contribute to improved usage of evidence in decision-making.

The workshop delivered by highly qualified experts covered a wide range of topics such as: Policy formulation, Stage model of policy formulation, Evidence-base policy formulation (by Marina Egutia, Project Manager at Curatio International Foundation) Frames of decision-making (by Bakur Kvashilava, the Dean of Law and Politics school at Georgian Institute of Public Affairs), Media and Policy Advocacy (by Rusudan Rukhadze, Executive Producer of Morning Programs at Georgian Public Broadcasting), Policy and Budget Cycle (by Sophie Lebanidze, Head of Health Care Department at the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs). The course provided participants the deep insight of sound evidence for raising issues on the political agenda, explained how and where the evidence is situated in the policy formulation process, how to effectively involve key players in the policy making etc.

“I would like to wholeheartedly thank Curatio International Foundation for this opportunity. The organization managed to: 1) engage highly qualified trainers for each individual module; 2)ensure logical integration of the modules into a useful, coherent, intensive training course; 3) assemble the audience, whose relevant, active and insightful participation enhanced significantly the learning experience; and 4) deliver the whole package within an extremely conducive – supportive and free of distraction – environment”- stated Nikoloz Loladze, Vice-Chairman, Projects Director of UK-Georgia Professional Network (UGPN).

The verbal feedbacks and acknowledgments from the first round show that the training helped the participants to better understand many critical issues of the policy formulation process and provided an opportunity to exchange experiences among colleagues.

“Training was very successful, well organized, with extremely useful content and to the point. It is noteworthy that this event boosted information sharing and exchange of fresh ideas among non-governmental organizations and prepared sound grounding for further cooperation”- said Nino Kiknadze, Law, Media and Health Initiative Director at Open Society Georgia Foundation.

As George Tsimintia, the Development Section Manager of Association of Young Economists of Georgia mentioned “…extremely interesting topics of training, together with outstanding trainers, participants and team of organizers brought sound knowledge and skills to respond and take up the current advocacy challenges of society…”

Three days in informal environment of the beautiful setting, Ureki allowed participants from different fields to get as a team and encouraged establishment of sound links and partnerships among the organizations.

“The effort was unique in many aspects. Firstly, organizers succeeded to effectively choose the time and environment. Time, because the information provided was very timely for further actions. Nice and calm environment created conditions that entirely embraced us in the learning process. Secondly, the way of selecting training participants was very interesting since it gathered top managers of leading non-governmental organizations. And the most importantly, the themes covered were new to us and well extracted. If, until today we have been acting intuitively, sometimes in a “wild” and chaotic manner today we have the knowledge and skills that will enable us to take effective steps for influencing decision-makers. These are trainings we would have been ready to pay for, and you’ve made such an exciting job by exposing us it for free”- Nino Makhashvili, Chairman of the Global Initiative on Psychiatry.

“On my way to training I couldn’t have imagined that talks on public policy formulation, decision-making techniques, budgeting and issues of the kind could have been thus interesting in August, in a breathtaking and tempting environment located on the sea. But it seems timely…where as sweeping reforms are to be undertaken in many fields it is extremely important that civil society representatives conduct discussions and gain knowledge on public policy formulation, decision-making techniques, features of budget formulation, role of the media in policy formulation etc. You made this possible”- stated Nina Khatiskatsi, Program Director at Transparency International Georgia. Stay tuned for the upcoming training by the mid fall.

The organizations engaged in the course are:

Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA), Transparency International Georgia, Open Society Georgia Foundation (Soros Foundation national chapter), Association of Young Economists of Georgia (AYEG), Economic Policy Research Centre, Georgian Association for Mental Health (GAMH), Mental Health Coalition, Scientific Research Institute of Psychiatry, UK-Georgia Professional Network, Georgian Association for Psychosocial Aid “Ndoba”, Association of People in Need of Special Care (APNSC).

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