Funded by the USAID’s Civil Society Support Program in Central Asia, and implemented by Eurasia Foundation, the Think Tank Leadership Workshop Series for executives and analysts from non-governmental policy research and advocacy organisations in Central Asia aims at developing the capacity of think tanks with a view to, first, increasing the quality of policy research and evidence‐based dialogue and, second, to help consolidate their organisational strategy in order to better inform and influence public policy‐making processes.

Organised in two weeks at the end of April 2021, the workshops will enhance the capacities of managers and analysts from independent think tanks in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to produce high-quality policy proposals, to carry out advocacy activities promoting policy change and thus effectively influence policy making processes. In all, the workshop series will provide participants with a deeper understanding of the challenges of rendering policy analysis organisations more effective in relation to the political processes and the policy cycle in their countries.

  • Objective 1: Strengthen think tanks’ capacity in the field of policy analysis, most importantly with regard to diagnosing public problems, collection of systematic evidence, and rigorous comparative analysis of the impacts of different policy alternatives, using the latest qualitative and quantitative methodologies. As an outcome, researchers will enhance their knowledge of state-of-the-art methodological approaches for policy analysis and impact evaluation and be informed about the latest tools and techniques available.
     
  • Objective 2: Help participants understand the various background conditions governing information overload in the sphere of policy and to devise ways to increase the potential for their policy writing to have an impact on the readership; enhance researchers’ ability to write effective analytical reports, papers and briefs. As an outcome, they will improve their ability to structure and compose compelling analytical reports and policy products.
     
  • Objective 3: Strengthen researchers’ skills for leadership, management (fundraising and communication) and effective strategic and advocacy planning, based on a sound under-standing of the government machinery and the network of societal stakeholders. As an outcome, they will be able to more effectively lead their organisations, develop advocacy strategies and initiatives, and link action maps to the behaviour of major actors and openings in the policy making process.

What’s the target group?

Senior policy researchers, think tank representatives and transparency advocates from four Central Asian countries. We aim for a balanced mix of participants from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and a 50:50 gender balance among participants in all workshops.

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How do I sign up?

Applications will be collected using this portal. Deadline is 11 April. In addition to general information, each applicant will be asked to submit a CV, a brief statement of motivation as well as a 500-word problem backgrounder (in Russian language) that identifies a specific development policy problem they would bring to the workshop series. The idea here is that participants will be encouraged, already at this stage, to outline ways of analyzing a problem, which will be threaded throughout the training: building analysis into the organization’s strategic plan, fundraising and lobbying for the implementation of policy recommendations.

Participants will be selected in the week of 12 April 2021, on the basis of demonstrated relevance and the visibility of their ongoing work, effectiveness of existing communication and advocacy, as well as overall record of policy engagement.

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Once selected, how should I prepare for the workshops?

Training materials will be sent out following the confirmation of participation, on 16 April. Participants will be able to go through a concise readings list and draw upon recommended learning resources.

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How is the curriculum structured?

Three segments to be taught in Russian and English in half-day modules will include instructional elements on the usage of relevant tools (mainly for data and analysis) and the practical components that will focus on further developing skill sets necessary for action research, writing, visualisation, leadership and advocacy.

To address “Zoom fatigue”, segments will be taught in 3,5 hour sessions per day (starting in afternoon Central Asia Standard Time - UTC+06:00) and spread out in a manageable schedule that fits around participant work and family requirements.

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How will the course be delivered?

The workshop series will be held online in Russian (Segment I) and English (Segments II and III) and embraces a participatory approach to e-learning. We deploy innovative learning formats offering different insights into academic concepts and providing space to reflect them against the lived experiences of think tanks in the region.

The training sessions will be delivered on the online platform ClickMeeting, which is easily accessible without download through a web browser. ClickMeeting has a range of tools for engaging and interactive sessions, including group breakout rooms, a presentation mode, whiteboard, participants’ surveys and a question mode, through which participants can type questions during lectures or directly engage in face-to-face exchanges.

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Will I get a certificate?

A certificate of attendance will be issued by the Hertie School, co-branded with the USAID’s Civil Society Support Program in Central Asia, implemented by Eurasia Foundation.

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Who are the instructors?

Who are the organisers?

USAID’s Civil Society Support Program in Central Asia is a five-year program implemented by Eurasia Foundation to cultivate a vibrant and responsive civil society throughout the region, including Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and build a new generation of forward-looking civil society leaders (2019-2024). Over the course of implementation, the Program will achieve four inter-related objectives:

  • Foster a cohort of civically responsible young leaders.
  • Strengthen civil society’s role in promoting greater public transparency and accountability.
  • Enhance civil society’s ability to quickly respond to emerging opportunities.
  • Build the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) to be financially viable and responsive to constituents.

Hertie School is a private university based in Berlin, Germany, accredited by the state and the German Science Council. It prepares exceptional students for leadership positions in government, business, and civil society. Interdisciplinary and practice-oriented teaching, first-class research and an extensive international network set the Hertie School apart and position it as an ambassador of good governance, characterized by public debate and engagement. Its Executive Education department offers tailor-made executive programs and expertise is designing high-level educational training programs for clients across all sectors: inter-national organizations, public administrations, non-profits, think tanks and academia. Projects and training curricula are developed in close cooperation with clients in order to respond to the specific needs of every organization and to guarantee maximum applicability of the acquired skills to the challenges that participants face in their professional life. Our team develops and delivers trainings on our Berlin campus, abroad or in interactive online formats that expand program offerings to participants around the world, regardless of location.

We have been teaching online throughout the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, with over 500 participants utilizing our digital learning tools. This experience has been highly successful and positively reviewed by participants. We are therefore confident that we can provide an enriching online learning experience for the participants of this workshop series. Supported by experts from the Hertie School’s Digital Learning team as part of our backstopping, we rely on an advanced set of online educational tools allowing for interactive teaching sessions, plenary discussions, as well as video- and tool-supported group work in virtual break-out rooms. Our infrastructure for online learning is easy to use for participants and our team offers individualized technical support.

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Photo credit: Matt Ridley on Unsplash