Policy research and promotional strategies: linking policy research to CASS/UP’s Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP)
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The programme recognizes that communities can overcome poverty if they create among themselves a new vision for the future, work together to achieve this vision, and are assisted with appropriate resources and technological capacity to implement their development initiatives. IRDP aims to establish a model for eradicating rural poverty through support, initially for three years, of development initiatives in nine rural sites in six countries in southern Africa, namely Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. IRDP developed four main objectives for its work in southern Africa: • To mobilize rural communities to work together, optimizing their institutional capacities to support sustainable and integrated development • To increase community capacity towards sustainable development, especially among economically marginalized groups, • To increase the capacity of individuals, families and communities to follow healthy and defensive lifestyles • To develop community capacity especially among women and the youth in life skills, family and community values, and sensitive and responsible leadership. To achieve these objectives, IRDP has taken an approach that includes, among many other things, adopting and advocating for policies that favour sustainable rural development at selected sites, national and SADC levels. IRDP further developed six cross-cutting impact services that provide strategic support to the whole programme, aiming to increase the programme’s impact, and therefore, chances of its success. The services function at the programme management and community levels, and consist of: monitoring and evaluation, technology, organizational learning, networking, communication, and public policy and promotion. This document has been written to highlight how public policy and promotion, the last in the list above, can be utilized to further IRDP’s objectives, as well as suggesting methodologies for using this service within the programme.