A study of the involvement of civil society in policy dialogue and advocacy, lessons learnt on their engagement in policy advocacy, and future direction
The objectives of this study produced for DFID (Department for International Development, UK) East Africa is to identify CSOs (Civil Society Organisations) in Uganda that are active in policy dialogue and advocacy; identify the extent of civil society involvement in policy formulation, implementation and monitoring; and assist CSOs in drawing key lessons from their engagement in policy advocacy in order to strengthen engagement in the future. Interviews were held with 125 people in Kampala, Pallisa and Gulu in Uganda with a focus on: election monitoring; processes around the Plan for the Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA); and policy processes around health issues. Feedback workshops were held in Pallisa and Kampala. Overall, the study found that CSO engagement with government in policy processes has been increasing and that the shift by donors to sector-wide approaches (SWAPs) and budget support, and the resulting sub-contracting by government of CSOs, is fundamentally affecting the role of CSOs. The article goes on to assess the role of civil society in policy processes examining CSO roles and influence, tensions and synergies in the multiple roles of CSOs, and constraints experienced and the responses from civil society. The article is concluded with specific recommendations relating to each of the above topics, The central outcome of the study comes with a recommendation that all actors- CSOs, government and donors- should adopt a more integrated view on policy processes, analysing the interplay between different roles at different stages, and then working towards ensuring the appropriate space, recognition and mechanisms for CSOs to play different roles effectively.