Elizabeth Mills and Thea Shahrokh
The previous blogs this week have described the nature of the Participate initiative and the context of the HLP meeting taking place this week; yesterday’s blog in particular, by Joanna Wheeler and Thea Shahrokh asked what you would say to the HLP panelists if you had 9 minutes. Today we had a conversation about Participate with the HLP, learning about them as they learnt about us. We wanted to share some initial reflections and will follow this with a longer blog next week.
The importance of dialogue was a key theme in today’s meeting. Dialogue between HLP members and Participate surfaced a number of critical issues around the value of translation. In practical terms, HLP members underlined the value of conducting research in the language of the people most affected by the policies that will be developed through a post-2015 framework. In terms of translating policy, an HLP member emphasised the importance of ensuring that research is not simply extracted from people who participate in the post-2015 process but that the impact of this research is translated in to practice through long-term engagement at a local-level, supported through NGOs and CSOs. Joanna Wheeler agreed saying that participatory research is geared towards making sure that communities own the outcome of research, that they actively set the research agenda, that they analyse the data, and that the research process supports the identified concerns raised by communities. The process of participatory research, which lies at the heart of Participate, is therefore as important as its outcome across the local, national and global level.
The dynamic of dialogue in the HLP meeting reflects the shared ethos of the members with Participate on the importance of ensuring a space where the voices of those who are most marginalised are heard in the policy process; and further, through long-term ground-level engagement led by the members of the Participate Research Group, that the policy process is transparent and accountable to the people who are most affected by the post-2015 development agenda.