The Global Policy Project (GP2) is a defining component of the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs (MPPGA) professional program at UBC as it provides opportunities for students to engage directly with policy makers and civil society on a real-world policy challenge. GP2 is completed in Year Two through a combination of design studio sessions and intensive stakeholder engagement. Students learn skills in areas such as team collaboration, conflict resolution in a policy environment, policy research design, strategic design, and a variety of field research techniques.
Below, learn about the overseas field work component of five 2018/19 Global Policy Projects, following the experiences of MPPGA student teams in India, Nepal, Peru, Ethiopia, and Ghana during the first two weeks of December, 2018. Following this field experience, student teams will continue making improvements to their projects, consulting with their clients, and preparing their final report and presentation for March, 2019.
Project Title: Gujarat Rural Roads
Project Client: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
Team Members: Dorine Akwiri, Rafael Posada, Alex Ash, To Trieu Hai Ly (Tracy), Alfonso Hernandez
The MPPGA student team on their Global Policy Project trip in India worked with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to develop a gender approach for identifying gender gaps in access to infrastructure. They studied a rural roads project in Gujarat to assess how infrastructure projects can affect men and women differently, grounding truths from what they had previously discovered from the literature. This project is being used as a case study to develop a tool to assess gender gaps across sectors and within the Asian context.
After meeting the AIIB team and industry experts in both Beijing and Delhi, the team had the opportunity to meet multiple stakeholders, from government officials to local communities, in Gujarat. These meetings and interviews gave them a deeper understanding of the policy landscape addressing gender in this sector within the Indian context.
While surviving the spices of Chinese and Indian cuisines, the students learned how embedded gender roles are in societies and as such, how important it is to include the voices of both men and women in consultation processes. Furthermore, they engaged in meaningful conversations with NGOs, academics and local communities to gain a better understanding of how perceptions of gender roles have an impact on policy and how they can develop their tool most effectively to identify gender gaps for other infrastructure projects.
Project Title: Health Services for At-risk Communities
Project Client: Creating Possibilities (CP)
Team Members: Shafaq Noorani, Bashar Alsaeedi, Daniela Rodriguez, Marzia Rizvi, Hadis Siadat
The MPPGA students had a challenging and engaging experience in Nepal. Their stakeholder engagement was focused mainly in the district of Dang. Overall, they learned that, similar to other developing and developed countries, the policies related to Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) are entangled in many different political agendas, making it difficult to achieve the goal of formulating a policy to mitigate the challenges faced by the Tharu community.
“Working in the field has been a humbling and challenging experience that has prepared us for real life examples of the challenges that marginal and vulnerable communities face. Having direct contact with community members and various stakeholders humanized the global policy problems that we have been exposed to in the classroom.”
The students learned that while there are times when it seems challenging to incorporate a top down approach, in the case of Nepal, there are many non-government organizations that are motivated to address the gaps and challenges that certain vulnerable groups, like the Tharu community, are facing.
The stakeholders they met with in Nepal ranged from Ministers and self-funded organization leaders to teachers, doctors, lab technicians and female community health volunteers.
“The team from UBC was very friendly and adaptable. They were very focused on their goal. They were aware of what to ask and they asked the right questions. They knew their priorities and were dedicated when it came to their project.”