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How to Scale with Government: A Policy Toolkit

How can educational organisations build systems and processes that help influence national or state-level policy at varying scales?

We know that it is imperative for educational institutions to possess the necessary tools and resources to facilitate their work and enact significant transformations. So, how can educational organisations build systems and processes that help influence national or state-level policy at varying scales?

Global School Leaders (GSL) is a non-profit organization committed to improving student learning outcomes in underprivileged schools in low and middle-income countries through innovative training programs for School Leaders. Recently, they unveiled a toolkit, How to Scale with Government, that consolidates existing knowledge on policy influence and offers a comprehensive guide for others to follow. 

“Advocacy to government can seem like a black box. If people do it well, they don’t write down their tactics,” shares Kat Pattillo who developed the toolkit for GSL.

Kat is a support to ecosystem-building initiatives, and previously researched successful coalitions in Brazil and India, co-founded Metis in Kenya, and taught at African Leadership Academy in South Africa.

“It was the privilege of a lifetime to interview 58 of the world’s experts & synthesize their wisdom. Thrilled to share this toolkit…with 30 tools and 9 mindsets for how non-state organisations can influence govt reforms & education policy,” says Kat. 

Kat is a writer, facilitator, and strategic advisor who cosults to support ecosystem-building initiatives. She previously researched successful coalitions in Brazil and India, co-founded Metis in Kenya, and taught at African Leadership Academy in South Africa.

The toolkit reveals a few ways organizations can set themselves up to influence policy:  

  • Mindset: Government advocacy takes time, money, and patience. Prepare yourself for a long game, but be ready to quickly adapt and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. 
  • Becoming a valuable partner: Take time to prove that you can deliver, then make yourself useful and memorable. 
  • Understanding the system: Learn the rules of the game, elements, and key players involved in the system. Align yourself with those who have power and influence but embed yourself within something longer-lasting, like an agency. 
  • Mobilize Champions: Make your goal visible to recruit allies in bureaucrats and other key figures outside of the government who will hold their positions for a long time, even as political appointees come and go. 
  • Increase incentives: Create wins for politicians who support your work and let the government take the credit. Share wins more widely through public policy trackers or communications campaigns. 
  • Leverage collective power: Find and collaborate with other organizations—national actors, global actors, and funders—working towards similar goals. 
  • Adapt to your context: Test tactics to learn which work best in your context and adapt as needed to continue making progress. 

The toolkit provides insights into the unique challenges and opportunities in the Global South, offering guidance on navigating complex regulatory frameworks and bureaucratic processes. Understanding the intricacies of working with the government is crucial for entrepreneurs and program developers alike to streamline operations and access funding opportunities.

Furthermore, the toolkit offers practical advice on building strong partnerships with the government. By forging alliances, entrepreneurship programs, like Anzisha, can tap into existing infrastructure, networks, and expertise, thereby expanding their reach and maximizing their impact. The collaboration between government entities and entrepreneurial organizations can spur innovation, attract investment, and create a supportive ecosystem for start-ups.

Learn more about GSL and view the toolkit here

Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown
Lynn is a content marketer that focuses on brand storytelling through digital platforms. Skilled in a background of web development, search engine optimization and content production, Lynn is excited to utilize over 10 years’ experience in digital marketing to help grow the ecosystems that support Africa’s very young entrepreneurs to ensure their success.

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