What is the Policy and Advocacy Lab?
A Policy Lab is usually made up of a specialist team, working in a creative space, with the aim of tackling complex challenges in the formulation and implementation of government policy. Labs experiment with and propose innovative public services and policies; at the same time, they try to reform and change the way government operates. Our initiative will be slightly different from the above- we are not policy makers but rather engage in advocacy and interact with communities of policy advocates. Our Policy Advocacy Lab (PAL) focuses on improving advocacy capacities by enhancing understanding around the intricacies and interconnectedness of public problems, the various attempts that have been made to resolve the problem, the gaps/inadequacies of the solutions, design of coherence and comprehensive advocacy solutions in resolving these problems.
1. Policy making has not been adequate in resolving challenges being faced in Zimbabwe due to a number of reasons including:
Inadequate understanding of the problem (policy issue)
Dealing with symptoms instead of the problem
Lack of political will
Limited capacity to deal with the problem
Silo-based approaches to policy making
Weak to non-existent policy analysis and advocacy communities that churn out on a regular basis, comprehensive analysis and suggestions on what needs to be done
2. Very little has been done to address the deep-seated fears and frustrations of citizens and the government continues to develop and introduce policy programs without any meaningful consultations with citizens across the country.
3. Our politics and public decision making have been expert driven and adversarial in nature and characterised by competing perspectives leading to:
General disengagement from the public sphere
Rampant individualism that supports narrow conceptions of citizenship focused primarily on citizens as consumers, taxpayers or at worst spectators, and
A sense of powerlessness on the part of citizens
Polarisation and misunderstanding across perspectives that decrease confidence in fellow citizens and justify adversarial tactics.