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The Communication for influence: Linking advocacy, dissemination and research by building ICTD networks in Central, East and West Africa (CICEWA) project was supported by the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC) between 2008 and 2010.
The aim of the project was to build regional ICT development (ICTD) research capacity and advocacy networks in Central, East and West Africa. This report provides an evaluation of the advocacy phase of the CICEWA project.
Some of the key lessons on advocacy outlined in this report are that:
Strong regional coordination is imperative for multi-country projects, and more so when they are implemented over multiple years.
Advocacy plans can bump up against political realities which can deflect attention away from the advocacy issue and make it difficult to discern the impact of any of the advocacy activities. It is important that civil society organisation have the capacity to adjust the campaign as best possible and still attain some of the advocacy goals.
Advocacy campaigns can shift focus, starting with one issue and ending with another. This project was conceived as an opportunity to advance access to broadband by examining why national level telecoms reforms did not yield the expected benefits – increased competition, costs reductions, etc- but at then shifted in the advocacy from telecoms reform to internet governance (in East Africa) and universal access funds (in West and Central Africa). Such shifts are linked to how network members read the political and policy landscape, and their judgements of what is the most strategic way to advance the advocacy agenda.
Short articles also identify key challenges and successes, as well as the importance of networks in regional ICT policy advocacy in Africa.