How to Scale with the Government: A toolkit for organizations in the Global South
Helping organizations leverage their programs to inform government policy
While we have partners who work across nine countries in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, none of them has successfully influenced national-level policies in their country’s education system.
To inform our approach, we studied 79 organizations from the Global South to see how they were building systems and processes that are influencing national or state-level policy at varying scales. This research has been captured in a toolkit to help organizations working with school leadership leverage their existing programs to inform government policy.
Why we built the toolkit
Many of our partner organizations have expertise in technical solutions to training school leaders. They face challenges in working with governments to strengthen education systems. We built this toolkit to both bring together existing knowledge about influencing policy and provide a roadmap for others to use. We engaged in in-depth interviews with 58 experts and have compiled their thoughts and experiences so that others can learn from them.
The key components of the toolkit
Mindsets and specific strategies are both needed to successfully scale with a government. Navigating political contexts that are often shifting can be challenging, but it is possible with the right approach. The toolkit features 30 tools and 9 mindsets captured from the world’s leading advocacy organizations on how to scale interventions and influence policy. Below are a few ways organizations can set themselves up to influence policy -
Mindset: Government advocacy takes time, money, and patience. Prepare yourself for a long game, but be ready to quickly adapt and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
Becoming a valuable partner: Take time to prove that you can deliver, then make yourself useful and memorable.
Understanding the system: Learn the rules of the game, elements, and key players involved in the system. Align yourself with those who have power and influence but embed yourself within something longer-lasting, like an agency.
Mobilize Champions: Make your goal visible to recruit allies in bureaucrats and other key figures outside of the government who will hold their positions for a long time, even as political appointees come and go.
Increase incentives: Create wins for politicians who support your work and let the government take the credit. Share wins more widely through public policy trackers or communications campaigns.
Leverage collective power: Find and collaborate with other organizations—national actors, global actors, and funders—working towards similar goals.
Adapt to your context: Test tactics to learn which work best in your context and adapt as needed to continue making progress.
Our vision for the toolkit
We hope that this toolkit can aid other organizations across sectors and regions to move their interventions to scale by working with governments.