We involve and engage stakeholders in our research from the outset. By doing this we create demand for the evidence generated by our programme

Photo credit: LANSA

The sense of ownership created through our stakeholder engagement plans makes it more likely that our research findings will be used to inform policy and programmes.
A wide range of interrelated factors influence whether a piece of research sits on a shelf or is used in the development of policy. According to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) these factors are summarised under three headings: Political Context, Links and Evidence (Court et al. 2004). Understanding how these factors interlink is key to ensuring LANSA’s research findings inform policy. We are using the ODI framework to build our knowledge of the policy context, and create and build links with key actors.
From the outset of the research programme, LANSA’s Research Uptake (RU) overall strategy, country-level RU strategies, outputs and activities focused on bridging the science-to-policy and science-to-practice interfaces in the four target South Asian countries. Research Pillar leads and crosscut leads planned with the research uptake team, and this teamwork paved way for enhanced uptake of LANSA evidence among agriculture policymakers as well as farmer-communities in the region, bringing global recognition. Since the inception of LANSA, Research Uptake (RU) has been vibrant with both online and offline stakeholder engagements. RU activities have received attention at the highest levels not just in the LANSA-focus countries, but also across South Asia and globally as well. Some of these achievements are recorded in Stories of Influence and RU Reflective Practice Stories sections on the LANSA website. 

Engaging stakeholders

Our research uptake strategy primarily involves engaging a wide range of stakeholders in the focus countries, and regionally. Meetings with stakeholders, during the inception phase, began a process of relationship building around our research agenda.

Desk research and stakeholder mapping exercises determined who the major actors are in the agriculture/nutrition arena, and the level of support and influence they have. Interviews with stakeholders in 2013 helped us understand the barriers and constraints they face in using research in their decision-making processes.
Stakeholder consultation meetings in early 2014 enabled us to identify gaps in LANSA’s planned research programme. Feedback from these meetings in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan informed the research topics that were included in LANSA’s Call for Proposals later that year. Periodic two-way engagement with agri-nutrition stakeholders kept us informed of developments on the policy front. 
We found the online medium an effective and efficient way to keep communication active with stakeholders across the region, and in 2015 we hosted and co-hosted online discussion forums on several topics related to agriculture and nutrition. One such event informed LANSA's second Call for Proposals later that year. Peer learning, knowledge sharing and networking were results from effort. The e-discussion events opened-up doors of engagement with stakeholders in Afghanistan for the very first in LANSA.  
Research dissemination seminars, conference participation, and face-to-face meeting continued to happen in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The LANSA India e-newsletter was launched in 2015 to keep agri-nutrition stakeholders abreast of research and uptake happenings in India.  LANSA research in the focus countries received a lot of national press attention. 
In 2016 we stepped up our engagement with individual stakeholders whom we began to see as 'Champions' for nutrition, and continued online discussions to present LANSA research.
We conceptualised and organised several social media campaigns on International and national 'days of significance' that proved cost-effective and more visibility for LANSA research. 
Afghanistan had its very first stakeholder engagement consultation in 2016, and major national policy consultations were organised in Bangladesh and India.  
Several high-level stakeholder events in the LANSA focus countries brought much attention to evidence coming out of research work in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan in 2017. Several participants from government, policy influencers and also donor agencies joined the LANSA online discussions on Sustainable Farming Systems for Food and Nutrition Security and on Agri-Food Value Chain
A major stakeholder engagement event at a global level was LANSA partnering with the Agriculture, Nutrition & Health (ANH) Academy for their annual Agriculture-Nutrition Scientific Symposium week in July 2017 at Kathmandu. The highlight was the plenary session on women’s work in agriculture and nutrition where LANSA research findings were presented to foster a debate with high-level policy stakeholders from across the region. There were follow-up meetings with the National Commission of Women both in India and in Pakistan on how to take forward the agenda of gender and nutrition in the respective countries. 
LANSA research in Afghanistan was presented at two separate meetings with the Afghanistan Ambassador to the UK, and one with DFID. Support has been offered to link government stakeholders in Kabul, and further communicate LANSA research. In particular, the LANSA Policy brief for Afghanistan was shared with these audiences. The LANSA-BRAC Seminar 'Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in Bangladesh' on December 2017 in Dhaka, brought together important policy decision-makers to focus energies on agriculture-nutrition linkages.
In India, there many high-level roundtables in New Delhi, Bhubaneswar (Odisha) and Maharashtra, like the March 2017 policy level consultation where a policy brief targeting the Odisha State Policy for Empowerment of Women and Girls 2014 was finalised in consultation with stakeholders. Influenced by evidence emerging from the MSSRF FSN study, LANSA was invited by the government of Odisha to contribute to the agriculture section in the Odisha Vision 2036 policy document. While in Maharashtra, the Director General, Maharashtra Council for Agricultural Education and Research (MCAER) convened a meeting of officials from the four agriculture universities and Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) in December 2017, leading to a key action to establish FSN models in KVKs across Maharashtra State.
LANSA in Pakistan partnered with National Commission on Status of Women (NCSW) co-sponsoring a policy dialogue on nutrition and health at the 10th Annual Conference on the International Day of Rural Women in Islamabad, organised by the Potohar Organization for Development Advocacy (PODA) in October 2017.


The stakeholder research described above is helping us understand what influences our stakeholders most when developing policy and practice, and how they prefer to hear about new research. We aim to meet their needs when presenting and packaging our research findings. 
High quality research products from LANSA evidence have been produced since 2014, and the same disseminated widely to relevant stakeholders across the region, and globally. All LANSA stakeholders also receive the LANSA South Asia e-newsletter, and stakeholders in India and Pakistan also receive the LANSA India and Pakistan e-newsletters. 
We have used different types of communication activities to share research findings, and these include: face-to-face meetings, workshops, media, roundtable knowledge-sharing consultations, and conference and seminar events, also online platforms to engage with stakeholders across South Asia, even globally.
Research Uptake has also continued to produce thematic and customised high quality communication products for target stakeholders in the region. Communication products are tailor-made for different audiences and include a wide range using print, video and audio mediums. Policy briefs, research briefs, brochures, leaflets, summary reports, as well as audio testimonials, video films, and info-graphics, are used to communicate LANSA research. In 2017, LANSA launched its first animation short film on the Gender and Nutrition theme on March 8 (International Women’s Day). 
Some of our products are translated in country languages and distributed at events to relevant stakeholders.  For wider dissemination in Pakistan and in India, a series of customised communication products were developed to showcase work under Farming System for Nutrition study in Odisha and Maharashtra (India) and the lack of women’s recognition in agriculture in Sindh (Pakistan).
A total of 20 Policy and Research Briefs have been produced so far and published on LANSA website, and also cross-posted on Eldis and Open Docs for wider reach. The same have been shared with R4D. Knowledge translation products have proved effective when reaching out to stakeholders at all levels of governance as well as policy influencers in the LANSA focus countries. 
The RU team periodically monitors, evaluates and improves the quality of the LANSA products to keep them relevant and useful for agri-nutrition stakeholders.  

Strengthening research uptake capacity 

We strengthen our capacity to promote research uptake by using a specially designed uptake tool that allows individuals and teams to self-assess their capacity to perform research uptake. This has helped us identify best practices of research uptake amongst partners, and these are documented on the website. 
The capacity assessment exercise informs the LANSA training and mentoring programme tailored to meet the needs of LANSA partners, and we have extended this tool via the LANSA MOOC platform to anyone who is interested in using the LANSA Research Uptake Self Assessment Tool to enhance their RU capacities.  The tool was further shared at the ANH Academy Week Symposium in Kathmandu in 2017 for South Asia audiences. 
We also work with strengthening research uptake capacity of agriculture and nutrition stakeholders in the LANSA focus countries. Several such workshops organised in 2014 and 2015 in India have broadened stakeholder understanding to identify and use research evidence, and have also helped us draw out 'windows of opportunity' for policy impact. Cross-learning and knowledge sharing has encouraged us to keep the engagement with stakeholders and has sharpened our uptake strategy.
In 2016, LANSA organised a workshop to build uptake capacity for Afghanistan agriculture scientists - a first successful attempt for LANSA!
Engagement was more strategic in 2017. Specific policymakers and policy influencers were identified to take up LANSA evidence. These identified ‘champions’ for LANSA work have been spokespersons at influential forums – nationally, in South Asia region, and globally. LANSA work has been referenced and cited in several books, papers and websites as an example of agriculture for nutrition research in South Asia, and this is as a result of effective uptake.
To share LANSA experiences with building capacity of stakeholders to receive research findings and facilitate evidence-based policy in South Asia, Research Uptake hosted a session on RU strategies and experiences in the region at the ICRD Conference in Bern in 2017. 

South Asia Focus

Funded by UK DFID

This research has been funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK Government’s official policies



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