Since 2008, the Policy Practice has been actively involved in providing training under the rubric ‘Political Economy Analysis in Action’.
Underpinning the courses, many of which we have undertaken jointly with ODI, is the recognition that interventions supporting policy and institutional reforms are more effective when they are informed by a solid understanding of context – regional, country-level, sectoral or local. To get real benefits from such interventions, and to minimise the risk of doing harm, an appreciation of the political and economic ‘rules of the game’, as well as the structure of incentives and the nature of the prevailing networks of interest and power, is crucial. These are the focus of our training.
Courses are primarily designed for professional advisers across a range of disciplines, programme managers of international agencies, and researchers to identify institutional challenges and opportunities in a variety of different contexts, and to draw operational conclusions for strategy, programme design and ways of working. Since 2008, we have run some 30 courses, typically of three days’ duration to: DFID, the IMF, UNDP, Irish Aid, the European Commission, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgian Technical Cooperation, GIZ, and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, and a large global consultancy. Some of the courses have been region- or country-specific, including on or in the Middle East, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal and Pakistan.
In total, some 750 individuals have completed these courses, creating an international critical mass of people able to apply political economy approaches to their own work and to share this knowledge with colleagues.
The most recent development is that during 2014 we have created an on-line version of the course for distance learning. This has been run twice, in 2014 and 2015.