Published on November 12, 2020
PICA is a six-week virtual learning platform that is intended to help policy-oriented institutions identify the capacities needed in order to increase their influence in the policy environment in which they find themselves.
Under institutional strengthening, PRCI will work with selected centers to improve existing internal systems and processes. Via a series of workshops and collaborative engagements, the institutional strengthening activities are designed to identify the strategic core competencies of each center and align it with its strategic plan. All activities and engagement should:
- Support local policy research organizations to be more self-reliant
- Strengthen PRCI’s ability to engage in policy impact
- Enhance the ability of local policy research organizations to conduct high-quality food security policy research
As a result of an international halt to travel and coworking, the PRCI capacity development specialists have translated a one-week intensive training into a series of five online meetings for each center held over series of weeks. A summary of each session follows.
Session One: Agricultural Policy System Mapping
Prior to session one, a policy system questionnaire is sent out to all administrative and technical team members that focuses on an evaluation of the Center’s current position within the policy system vis a vis the Center’s policy initiatives using the Kaleidoscope model as an analytical tool. PRCI personnel will build a map using an online tool based off the responses provided by Center staff. Session one will introduce the map, highlighting feedback loops, gaps, and potential leverage points which participants are encouraged to validate and discuss. The findings from this validation session will serve as a foundation for the following technical and administrative strategy meetings.
Sessions Two and Three: Technical and Administrative
Based on the outputs from Session One, the technical and administrative teams will meet separately to begin prioritizing the capacity and resource needs required to achieve their Center’s strategic goals. These meetings incorporate the gender and organizational capacity assessment survey responses previously completed by Center personnel to help create a more holistic roadmap for achieving the identified strategic goals. Questions critical to each session include:
- (Technical) What skills are needed to achieve these goals (from activity 1)? What can you do within 3 years?
- (Admin): what management, personnel, admin areas are needed to support technical goals?
- (Both) What are you currently able to do?
- (Both) How are we determining our priorities? What information are we using/do we need to do so?
Session Four and Five: Action Planning
These smaller sessions bring together representatives from the technical and administrative teams along with PRCI staff with expertise in gender, policy, and capacity development to review the work of the first three sessions and determine, “how might we leverage PRCI support and funding in order to meet our Center’s capacity needs? Center representatives will begin prioritizing action steps in order to achieve the Center’s preferred policy position within the agricultural policy system of their respective country. The session will focus on building out a draft of an action plan that will be presented to the full Center leadership team.
Session Six: Plan Presentation and Consensus Building
Representatives from Session Four will present the three-year action plan to organizational staff discussion and ultimately, finalization. The presentation will include time for feedback and questions with the explicit goal that all members feel ownership of the plan and have had an opportunity to contribute to the final version. Following the presentation, the foundation for a monitoring and evaluation plan will be developed together with PRCI capacity development experts that establishes indicators and benchmarks for measuring achievement and success as well as a calendar for interactions with the PICA Team.