Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC), Argentina | International Institute of Management for Business Associations, Russia | The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan


Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC), Argentina

On-line Courses on Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating Research Impact on Public Policies

The problem:
Researchers, CSOs, academic institutions and donors are increasingly interested in learning how to improve the link between research and governmental decisions that improve public policies. For this, think tanks and CSOs need to strengthen their organizational capacity to influence public policies through better planning, research communications, monitoring and evaluation.

The practice:
Based on its intensive experience influencing diverse policy fields, CIPPEC launched an online platform to offer courses on how to better influence policies through the use of research. Topics include advocacy planning, monitoring and evaluation, and research communications. Through an effective combination of theoretical modules and practical exercises, courses aim to help civil society organizations and state officials detect their strengths and opportunities of influence; and based on these, focus their advocacy efforts, maximizing available resources and developing intelligent strategies underpinned by a successful political reading. Courses help participants to devise viable plans, which consequently lead to greater impact. Debates and exchanging experiences among trainees are also promoted. Technical advice is provided by facilitators through detailed feedback on completed exercises. By the end of each course, it is hoped that the participants will be able to use the tools and knowledge acquired to help them design effective advocacy strategies as well as promote internal change within their organizations. The courses are intended for policy research institutes, think tanks, universities, public servants, civil society organizations (CSOs), researchers, M&E specialists, communication specialists, development project coordinators, lecturers, networks managers, and independent consultants.

Why and how the CIPPEC developed this practice:
Since 2006, CIPPEC has coordinated a Latin American network of organizations interested in the link between research and policy. It also works at improving the bonds between CSOs and State agencies in Argentina, and with African and Asian peer organizations. Based on this networking, it continuously detects, develops and shares cutting edge theoretical and practical knowledge in those areas. While conducting national and regional workshops and producing training materials such as handbooks, CIPPEC realized that it needed an additional strategy to expand the scope of knowledge sharing, and spread the importance of bridging research and policy in the southern region.

Steps and tips for implementing the practice:
  • The first step is to develop an appropriate platform from the technical standpoint through which the courses will be delivered.
  • Simultaneously, content development is initiated. We designed the different potential courses by adapting modules, content and materials to the specific areas, participants and goals of each course.
  • For these two first steps, we researched existing and similar initiatives, interviewed some experts and received training from the University of Sheffield, UK.
  • An open call for scholarships to participate in the course is launched and disseminated through different communications channels (networks, online bulletins, special invitations, etc) and questions and doubts from potential participants are answered.
  • Applications including attached documents are reviewed, participants are selected and announced to the public.
  • Once the course starts, the first week is for introduction between participants and between tutors.
  • In the second week, training material (including videos) and exercises are provided.
  • During the course, the tutor constantly promotes and facilitates debates, reviews and gives feedback about exercises, etc.
  • Once the course arrives to the end, participants are asked to fill out an evaluation form.
  • Those who completed all of the required activities receive a certificate of participation.
  • Evaluations are systematized and lessons learned are generated. These are used as an input for refinement of thee upcoming courses.
  • Participants become Alumnus of VIPPAL and will stay in touch and updated through a new section to be created in the current online platform.

Results of the practice and applications:
The courses have great potential to increase the community of practice centered on evidence‐­based policy, and to strengthen South‐South cooperation by allowing participants to debate and exchange real experiences and challenges related to policy influence. The course has raised significant interest. For example, for the fourth course (which was the first one in English), we received over 100 applications.

Through conducted evaluations we can state that the courses as a whole met participants´ expectations. These emphasized the usefulness of the tools and virtual exchanges proposed on the courses, and the conceptual clarity and effective teaching methodology. Participants are very satisfied with the organization, facilitation and proactivity provided by tutors. A great point is that most off participants consider that the work done during the courses can be successfully transferred to their organizational practices.

Future applications include expanding scope and topics for trainings, combining online course with technical assistance to better support capacity building and, based on expressed interest, ­creating circles of alumni who can continue discussions, knowledge sharing and eventually become trainers as well. Forums of exchange are perceived by participants as an opportunity to capture and systematize new lessons learned. Finally, we should emphasize that most participants find it very interesting and motivating too have the opportunity of being in contact with people of other nationalities and cultures but with similar interests and challenges in terms of policy influence which points to the potential of South‐South collaboration.

Lessons from the experience:
Since April 2010, the Civil Society Directorate of CIPPEC has developed five online courses. The next course will be developed by the beginning of May 2011. This one year experience shows that a major challenge is to sustain the community of practice over time. One of the lessons learned during our work is that the courses work best when conceived as part of a process rather than events with certain duration. Therefore, our proposal is starting with an invitation to the executive director of the institution to commit to: 1) designate the person who will attend the course, 2) supervise the practical work, and 3) after completion of the course, participants become Alumnus of VIPPAL, and keep in touch and updated through the portal we will develop in a short time and a news bulletin to be sent every two months.



International Institute of Management for Business Associations, Russia

Distance Learning System and Coordinated Internet Activities

The problem:
An innovative project of holding virtual online events (conferences, seminars, training, roundtables, workshops) in the activities of Russian chambers of commerce and industry and other non-profit business associations for the period 2010-11 year has helped solve several challenges:
  • Significantly improved the efficiency of interaction between regional chambers of commerce and industry in the discussion of some relevant issues: protecting the interests of small business, helping the unemployed and the disabled, legal assistance for entrepreneurs, organizational questions of Russian chambers of commerce and industry, the issues of forming a customs union and others.
  • Greatly increased mobility of professionals of regional chambers of commerce and industry. They became able to participate in All-Russian projects at the workplace or at home, without spending money on travel, transport and hotels. Typically, one event brings together about 150 people from about 50 different Russian regions.
  • Actively involved remote chambers including the Far East CCI, Siberia CCI, Kaliningrad CCI and others, who previously did not participate due to high costs.
  • Now it is possible to carry out international projects such as webinars with Adizes Institute (USA) and others.
  • Increased efficiency of interaction between the chambers and government and business. Usually the events bring together approximately 70% of representatives from government agencies and businesses.
  • Chambers have the opportunity to help the least protected social strata of the population, the disabled and the unemployed because they can study at their home computers.

The practice:
The International Institute of Management for Business Associations implemented an innovative project holding national and international events in the format of the webinar. On January 27, 2010 the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation held the first all-Russian webinar (online seminar) involving managers and staff of the territorial chambers of commerce and industry: "Distance Education and Anti-crisis Programs in the Chambers of Commerce and Industry". The webinar was attended by more than 90 managers and specialists of the territorial chambers of commerce and industry (the project’s most distant chambers also joined: Kaliningrad, Maritime, North, Chechnya, representatives of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and others were guests).

The new format of round tables, conferences, and seminars is particularly relevant in today's challenging financial environment. Participants of the webinars are exempt from transportation, accommodation and travel expenses. Webinars, unlike other internet projects, allow participants to take part in the event interactively. Participants can see and hear the speakers, see the slides and videos, take part in joint exercises, write questions in the chat, speak by microphone, see the full list of participants and immediately download the papers.

On February 16, 2010, the Institute organized the first of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry online meetings with heads of regional chambers of commerce and industry in the format of a webinar with Vice President RF CCI, Sergey N. Katyrin. The meeting focused on the development of Russian legislation in the member state registration of rights and land activities.

On February 17, 2010, the Institute organized in the Chamber of Commerce of the Russian Federation and held the first Russian internet conference format webinars, "Ways of Solving the Problems of Employment of the Unemployed Population in 2010". The conference discussed the problem of unemployment in the population, projects to establish anti-crisis centers providing support and advice to the unemployed and new entrepreneurs, and a government small business development program. Conference participants exchanged experiences from implementing projects to assist the unemployed and determined that the new platform meets the quality of the webinars at Russian internet conferences. The conference was attended by over 700 people from all over Russia: managers and specialists of industrial enterprises, chambers of commerce, and government and public organizations.

Webinars were conducted by theme: modern methods of involvement in the membership of chambers of commerce and industry, foreign trade activities of enterprises, the practice of public tenders, the issues of forming a customs union, the issues of Russia's WTO accession, Exhibition Management, Accounting, and labor laws in Russia, and others. The events were attended by such government agencies as the Federal Customs Service, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Health and Social Development, the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia and others. Since the start of 2011, the Institute has also implemented the social project "The System of Training Disabled People in Foreign Languages, Telemarketing and Computer Technologies through the Internet". Currently, the project has trained over 400 persons with disabilities through the internet at their home computers.

Why and how the International Institute of Management for Business Associations developed this practice:
In 2009, at the peak of the financial crisis at the time when organizations had no funds for training and traveling of their employees, the Institute started to develop a project to hold virtual events through the internet. The Institute won the socially-significant grant from the Public Chamber of Russia for the organization of eleven anti-crisis centers in regional chambers of commerce and industry on employment for unemployed people. Initially, the project planned to hold a few round tables and conferences on the problems of unemployment of the population. However, the grant money allocated was small and there was not enough for normal activities, so it was decided to hold the event through the internet.

Further, the Institute worked out the concept of holding virtual all-Russian webinars on the base of Russian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The Institute studied the experience of holding webinars in the U.S., and then chose the most suitable conditions from the Russian software of online meetings. Then the Institute elaborated a methodology of the technical setup of computer equipment for the webinar's system. The Institute's partner for technical support was the IT-company, Kaspersky Lab, known around the world for the development of anti-virus software. In 2010 the system was recognized as a most effective mechanism for virtual online events.

Steps and tips for implementing the practice:

IIMBA_chart.jpg

  1. The Institute installed a Center for Broadcasting Webinars, including special computer equipment. The moderators and speakers of webinars work through the Center, but participants of the webinars are not allowed in the Center.
  2. To log in to the system of webinars participants use a specialized internet-site: http:\\mimop.navystavke.ru
  3. Participants of the webinars collect in the regional chambers of commerce and industry which has established centers for receiving broadcasts of webinars. These centers have conference-rooms with installed projection equipment and good acoustics.
  4. Some of the participants of webinars are connected directly to the system at their workplace or home computer.
  5. One day prior to the main webinar, the Institute holds a special test webinar, which explains the features of the technical setup of computer equipment, rules of working in the webinar and checks microphones and webcams of participants.
  6. The webinars are recorded, and an internet link to the recording is sent to the participants who were unable to attend the event.
  7. After the webinar is held, online surveys of participants are conducted gathering feedback on the event.

Results of the practice and applications:
In general, from the period of 2010 - 2011 the International Institute for Management of Business Associations conducted over 70 webinars, which were attended by over 4000 people from 90 regions of Russia and the CIS. After the webinars were held the participants left a lot of positive feedback. A portion of the feedback can be found here: http://www.iimba.ru/onziv

On March 11, 2011 MIMOP held a webinar for a meeting with heads of educational and business centers of territorial chambers (the regional organizers of the webinar), where the implementation of webinars in 2010 were summed up. According to results from the webinars in 2010, the presidents of the Pskov Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Chuvash and the Kaliningrad Chamber of Commerce and Industry were awarded the Medal of CCI RF "For success in entrepreneurship", and heads of educational and business centers of the chambers were awarded by the tablet PC. In addition, the following seven top chambers: Perm, Orenburg, Astrakhan, Bashkortostan, Kuzbass, Volgograd, Penza, were awarded Certificate of Merit. Ideologue of the project, Deputy Director IIMBA Alexey Voytenok was awarded the Medal of CCI RF "For success in entrepreneurship."

Lessons from the experience:
For successful implementation of the project, the organizers and participants of the events require a sufficient level of computer literacy. In the first stages of the project, we spent a lot of time in training our partners on setting up computer equipment. At the beginning of the project we were faced with problems related to psychological adaptation of participants to work in a virtual system. After a year of actively holding webinars, our members have become much more confident in using the system.


The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan

Industrial and Academia Linkages

The problem:
This practice, "A Milestone to Bridge between Pakistan Industry and Research," focuses on partnerships between academia and industry to bridge the skills gap and develop a relation between research objectives and local industries’ needs.

The Practice:
Being the prime business association of Rawalpindi Pakistan, we have always encouraged interaction between the business community and academia, which was lacking for a long time. With the perception of bridging the gap, we took initiative in 2009 by signing an MOU with Fatima Jinnah Women University. This process continued, and now we have 8 universities on our panel including MAJU, SZABIST, University of Arid Agriculture, NUST, HI tech, COMSATS, and APCOMS.

The linkage was developed with an objective to train fresh business graduates in accordance with the business norms in Pakistan. We arranged dialogues between our industrialists and academia members. This has made a perceptive difference between theoretical and practical implications. Members shared their valuable experience, real business scenarios in Pakistan, and issues faced by the business community. We developed a practice of industrial visits for the university students in member industries and took up the topics of industries for research. Moreover, we introduced paid internships to the students. In 2010 we started a student counseling service on our website. We developed an employment exchange cell where we have more than 500 CVs of students, which we circulate to our member organizations.

Why and how RCCI developed this practice:
The university – industry linkage is really an imperative for the progress and prosperity of the nation. It is essential to identify the areas of collaboration, coordination and mutual support between the two basic sectors for sustainable national progress.

The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry restructured its objectives recently with the added purpose of promoting young graduates, as they must be well equipped with practical business knowledge of industry. For this we offered paid internships to the students and to date almost 110 students have completed their internships in our partner organizations.

Steps and tips for implementing the practice:
The organization has conducted several well-built projects. Creating a liaison with leading universities of the region has opened new horizons of development and paved the way toward enlightened moderation. Several activities and projects in this regard were undertaken that proved to be a great success and a milestone for long-run development in the region. Some of these projects include:
  1. Arranging industrial visits for the university graduates.
  2. Internships for university graduates in member organizations.
  3. Lecturers for industrialists in various universities regarding their issues.
  4. Research studies by students with supervision of the R&D department.
  5. Recommendations in policy making by involving research analysts of universities and bridging the gap between government institutions and academic institutes.
  6. Dialogue and face to face meetings between successful businessmen and our business graduates.
  7. Linking student curriculum with the real world business issues.
  8. Involving students in a standing committee meeting of every specialized sector of our community, be it social welfare or export or any other.
  9. Organizing business plan competitions.
  10. Introducing employment exchange cell for better and merit-based job opportunities for our educated youth.
  11. Research thesis linked with genuine issues of our industry.

Results of the practice and applications:
The vision of collaboration between academia and industry was turned into a great opportunity, as was the pressing need of stakeholders including universities, research institutes and industrialists.
Industrial visits arranged by R&D: The Research & Development Department of RCCI arranged successful industrial visits for students of partner universities as a part of their research thesis. Almost 400 students visited Kohinoor textile mill, Ipram Pharmaceutical, Inam floor mills, etc.

Lectures by entrepreneurs: We arranged lectures and speeches by successful entrepreneurs of the country on the premises of our partner universities.

Internships: Through this linkage we have provided internships in our member organizations to 110 students.

Training Programs: With our partner organizations, RCCI organized training programs for students as well as the business community. To date, 500 students and businessmen have been trained in different fields.

R&D Industry Symposium: Very dynamic symposiums were organized on April 1, 2011 on the premises of RCCI, with the active participation of partner organizations and universities.

Inter-University Competitions: An Inter-University Debate Contest on RGST was arranged on 1 March 2010.

Reports: The Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad put together a team of researchers to analyze the current situation of the Gems and Jewelry sector in the Rawalpindi region. This report was later presented by the President, Sarafa Bazaar Association to the ministry of commerce for practical implementation.

Lessons from the experience:
Industries in Rawalpindi are not well equipped with advanced technology, so their products are not up to international standards and production costs are too high. Personnel are not skillful, they lack managerial skills, most owners are illiterate, and they have no knowledge of modern business techniques. This project has bridged talent, education, innovation and industry, which has resulted in creating a vigorous linkage between the important sectors of economic and social growth. We initially faced resistance from entrepreneurs as well as educators, but after many discussion sessions we successfully argued that the linkage was needed. Now after two years, we have partnered with eight leading universities and 4000 members of the region are indirectly educated by and benefit from these universities.



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