Short course: Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning about policy influence: how to get some certainty amidst all the complexity

Organised by On Think Tanks
Event type Courses
Location Online
Start date 16 March 2017
End date 13 April 2017

There is much literature on how to monitor, evaluate and learn about policy influence. However, specific practices, particularly in developing countries are quite scarce. Many of us are wondering how to systematically assess our policy influencing efforts considering that influencing policy is such a complex, long, and unpredictable process.  How can we effectively deal with this challenge and ensure we start gathering good evidence?

Who is this for?

This short course is for individuals and members of think tanks and other policy research organisations who are looking for viable and innovative ways to assess how their own research influences policymaking.

There are limited spaces and participants will be expected to actively engage in the process (before, during and after the webinars). They should have a specific policy influence project in mind so that the training is as relevant as possible and results in a concrete outputs.

The module helps those looking to:

  • Better reflect and enhance the impact of research in pub­lic policy,
  • Satisfy their (and their donors’) interests in enhancing the uptake of research in policy,
  • Stimulate a learning culture in your organisation focused on policy influence,
  • Build their reputation and visibility and attract more and better support to their work, and
  • Organise what they are already doing so that it can be useful for Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning purposes -and let go of processes that may not be useful.


This short course consists of the following:

  • A background note on monitoring, evaluation and learning of policy influence that will set the tone for the training,
  • An online forum to share comments, experiences and pose questions with the trainers and other participants,
  • Two webinars facilitated by the Dena Lomofsky and Vanesa Weyrauch, and
  • The delivery of a practical exercise to apply the lessons learned to your organisation which will receive personalised feedback from the trainers.

What will we cover?

The outline of the short course will cover:

Background note on Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL): an introduction

  • An introduction to various debates on MEL and its application to policy influence

Discussion forum: Organisational challenges to adopt MEL

First webinar: How to frame you MEL approach?

  • The complexity of assessing policy influence
  • Building on what you already have
  • Determining your key drivers and questions

Second webinar: Deciding your MEL focus

  • Developing you MEL strategy
  • Key decisions and challenges
  • Establishing objectives, outcomes, outputs and indicators

Personal task: Develop a skeleton of a MEL strategy

Key dates

Kick-off: March 16th, 2017

Webinar 1: March 23rd, 2017

Webinar 2: April 6th, 2017

Delivery of exercise: April 13th, 2017

Exact times of the webinars will be defined once we know who is participating.


Dena Lomofsky: Dena is a development sociologist with 20 years’ experience in the field.  Dena has an honours degree in Industrial Sociology from the University of Cape Town, and a MA in Social Development from the University of the Western Cape. She has a special interest in participatory processes and building learning organisations.  Dena has been working in the area of policy influence since 2010 and compliments her work with Think Tanks and research organisations, by working with community development organisations and Governments.  Dena lives and works in South Africa, and is a managing member of Southern Hemisphere which she co-founded in 2000. Dena is a skilled researcher, evaluator, trainer and facilitator.  She specialises in applied research and evaluations; capacity building; organisational planning and strategy; and the design of monitoring, evaluation and learning systems.  She has been designing and conducting training in Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning since 2000. This will be the third course she has offered with OTT on MEL for policy influence.

VWVanesa Weyrauch: Vanesa is co-founder of Politics & Ideas, a think net focused in the interaction between research and policy, and Associate Researcher at CIPPEC, Argentina. She has worked in the policy and research field for the past 14 years, especially with think tanks in Latin America. She has created several online courses on topics like policy influence planning, designing policy relevant research agendas, funding models, research communications and monitoring & evaluating policy influence addressed to think tanks in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Vanesa has recently developed and implemented an online course to help policymakers promote the use of research in policy. She also works as mentor with several think tanks in developing countries, particularly in communications, policy influence, funding and monitoring and evaluation. She has evaluated different policy influence projects/programs/organisations (for example, the Think Tank Initiative´s Capacity Building Phase 1).  She has worked as Institutional Development Director at CIPPEC (a leading think tank in Argentina) from 2002-2006 and then created and led the Policy Influence program in this think tank. She has authored several papers and handbooks.

She holds a BA in Social Communications from Universidad Austral (Argentina) and a Certificate of Special Studies in Management and Administration from Harvard University.


The short course costs GBP 125.00. You may also join by signing up to the entire series of 7 Short Courses at GBP 700.00 for the series.

Early bird registration fee for the course is GBP 105.00 (only for first five registrations) and for the entire series is GBP 600.00 (only for first five registrations).

Check out other Courses in the Evolving Think Tanks Series 2017.

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