The MLW Policy Unit partnered with the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) to conduct a Research Communication, Policy Engagement and Research Uptake Workshop for MLW researchers from 4 until 7 May 2021. The workshop aimed at strengthening researchers’ knowledge and skills in policy engagement and research translation to inform practice and policy in Malawi.
The training was delivered through lectures, practical sessions, and panel discussions with policymakers and media experts. Key topics were policymaking and evidence use; policy engagement strategy; policy briefs; media engagement; and monitoring and evaluation.
The panel discussions covered real life experiences from the Chairperson of Malawi Parliamentary Health CommitteeHonourable Matthews Ngwale, Assistant Director for Mental Health Department Dr Michael Udedi, Editor for National Publications Limited Edyth Kambalame, and Times Media Group Journalist Eric Msikiti.During the discussions, Honourable Matthews Ngwale advised researchers to use simple language when communicating findings and recommendations to policymakers. He emphasized that ‘politicians don’t read publications’ hence he encouraged the use of policy briefs. He also advocated for early involvement of policymakers in the research process.
The workshop was attended by 20 researchers from various research groups.
Speaking at the end of the workshop, Dr Mphatso Phiri who was one of the participants from MLW said the training provided useful insights into policymakers’ way of thinking and policymaking processes.
In his remarks, MLW Acting Director Professor Henry Mwandumba, said “We are excited that the training has happened; we realize the importance of translating our work, and we can only translate our work if we engage with the right people. MLW has contributed significantly to national policies but the establishment of the Policy Unit and working with AFIDEP has streamlined the process. We are thankful to MoH for paying attention to our work and facilitating its translation.”
Moving forward, the Policy Unit aims to continuously support researchers’ policy engagement activities, and it plans to organise webinars which may target policy-relevant topics.