International Development Experience through MPPGA’s Global Policy Project

One of the unique benefits of the UBC Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs program is its Global Policy Project, otherwise known as (GP2). The six-credit course, GPP 590A and 590B, is taken in MPPGA students’ second year and requires teams of students to address a complex policy problem identified by a real-world client. The course involves collaboration, fieldwork, including intensive stakeholder engagement, a final presentation and a report.

This year, our 2018-2019 Global Policy Projects are taking MPPGA students around the globe, to Peru, Nepal, Ghana, Ethiopia, and India to learn how policies are created, evaluated, and implemented. They get a chance to observe and to listen to key stakeholders, and to provide their own recommendations to their clients.

The MPPGA student teams began interaction remotely with senior members of their client organization over a period of eight weeks earlier this fall to “de-construct” the problem and identify probable causal factors, including public policy dysfunctions, implementation practices, or systemic factors. By mid-November, the client and the team will approve their study design, which will determine their experiences overseas. MPPGA student teams depart in early December for two weeks of fieldwork in collaboration with their clients. Throughout the project, the students seek additional information from a variety of sources including the client through electronic means, library research, and consulting with various experts, including community leaders.

Upon returning to UBC from their fieldwork visits, the students will synthesize the data that they have collected and share the first draft of their report with the clients by early March. Students will incorporate client feedback and present their final report at the end of March in a public Global Policy Project symposium at UBC. The report will also include a policy brief that spells out possible advocacy approaches.

2018-2019 Global Policy Projects

Title: Towards Equitable and Sustainable Integrated Water Resource Management Policies
Project Client: The National Water Authority (ANA), Government of Peru, Peru
Team Members: Misrak Yacob, Diego Chasing, Atieh Yekta, Tovo Jose, Adrianna Spyker

MPPGA Students on the Peru Team

MPPGA students are gaining hands-on experience around water resource management by collaborating with The National Water Authority (ANA), Government of Peru, as part of their Global Policy Project. Although Peru is a water rich country, a rising population, climate change, exclusion of minorities and a legacy of unregulated water use contribute to a growing urgency for a coordinated national strategy to manage this precious resource.

With the technical help of the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI), ANA has framed policies that promote Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), an approach built on the premise that the health of watersheds are vulnerable to risks associated with climate change, cultural diversity, low levels of governance and governability, social conflicts and pollution. ANA seeks to enhance application of IWRM practices, increase opportunities for collaboration with multiple stakeholders, increase use of participatory environmental monitoring data by government and industry in Peru’s mining regions, and increase the number of women participating in governance related to water and environmental sustainability.

The GP2 student team will study relevant policies, programs, and institutions and travel to Lima, Peru to engage with stakeholders. They will address the question: “How enabling are the current water governance policies in their intent to employ an intercultural approach for the water resources management in basins with indigenous peoples?”

The project will build on the work accomplished by CIRDI in Peru, particularly around the challenges and impacts of mining on the lives of Indigenous and rural women and to identify ways to increase local capacity, welfare and economic benefits for women, with a particular focus on the role of women in mining-related water resource management.

Title: Health Services for At-risk Communities
Project Client: Creating Possibilities (CP), Nepal
Team Members: Shafaq Noorani, Bashar Alsaeedi, Daniela Rodriguez, Marzia Rizvi, Hadis Siadat

MPPGA Students on the Nepal Team

In this Global Policy Project, MPPGA students will first travel to Kathmandu to meet with senior members of their client, Creating Possibilities (CP), and then travel to Dang district, where the indigenous people of the Tharu community have seen a significantly higher than normal incidence of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). Managing this genetic blood disorder requires multiple interventions on the ground and at the policy level. The GP2 client, Creating Possibilities (CP), has started several initiatives to screen the high-risk population and disseminate knowledge among the effected communities. They continue to mobilize resources and improve local capacities to manage this debilitating disorder.

In this GP2, students will delve into the multifaceted issues faced by people with congenital diseases such as SCD. This includes an examination of the traditional practices and beliefs, responses from the state and civil society, the livelihood systems and geographical constrains faced by this vulnerable group.

The student team will work closely with CP staff and health experts to: examine the social, political and economic dimensions of the disease and the ability of communities to manage them; examine the policy landscape that impacts this cause; map key stakeholders and identify the nature of the relationship between them; offer the client new insights into understanding the challenges; and, recommend a specific policy reform agenda through a research report and a policy brief that will help align CP’s programs and practices with opportunities to improve health services and complementary activities for the target community.

Title: Community Resistance Index – Developing Tools of Measurement
Client: Free the Slaves (FTS), Ghana
Team Members: John Ede, Simin Yook, Ros Seibert, Ali Bajwa, Adedoyin Luwaji

MPPGA Students on the Ghana Team

Slavery is the result of vulnerability. It flourishes where people cannot meet their basic needs and lack economic opportunity, education, health care, and honest government. To reduce people’s vulnerability, it is necessary to help those in slavery to freedom, and transform the political, economic, cultural, and social circumstances that make slavery possible. This is particularly true in Ghana where slavery amongst fishing and mining industry is rampant. Even worse is the fact that the victims are predominantly children.

In this GP2, MPPGA students are engaging with Free the Slaves (FTS), an organization considered a leader and a pioneer in the modern abolitionist movement. FTS strengthens the capacity of grassroots organizations, government agencies, advocacy coalitions, and the media to take action. In Ghana, FTS is working with International Needs Ghana to combat child trafficking and address its causes through the “Growing Up Free” program.

The Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation (MLE) department at FTS evaluates changes in the organizational strength of frontline partners, tracks the ability of communities to confront traffickers and overcome slavery over time, and cultivates a reduction in slavery in the communities served. However, FTS does not currently have a comprehensive system to measure the long-term impact of the organization’s work. The MPPGA student teams will travel to Accra, Ghana to meet with senior members of FTS and various stakeholders to develop a holistic tool to evaluate the long-term impact of the organization’s work. The new system would ideally include the four main pillars of the organization’s Community Liberation Model (CLM):

  • Community Education and Mobilization
  • Liberation, Care, and Reintegration
  • Rule of Law, and
  • Household Socio-Economic Security

According to the needs of FTS, this new evaluation system would preferably consist of an index (i.e. a Community Resistance Index) to capture the main features of each pillar in the CLM, producing a holistic score. This index score would allow FTS to track the progress of individual communities over time.

Title: Gujarat Rural Roads
Project Client: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), India
Team Members: Dorine Akwiri, Rafael Posada, Alex Ash, To Trieu Hai Ly (Tracy), Alfonso Hernandez

MPPGA Students on the India Team

Large infrastructure projects have predictable and unintended consequences on vulnerable segments of the population, particularly women and children. Despite growing evidence that these impacts seriously compromise the equity and sustainability of these projects, infrastructure development continues with inadequate safeguards in the public policies that are intended to minimize or mitigate such impacts. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a multilateral development bank with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia and beyond, recognizes the importance of gender equality for successful and sustainable economic development and the need for inclusiveness and gender responsiveness in the projects it supports.

The AIIB seeks to identify how to avoid exacerbating existing gender inequalities and to develop its own way of adding value to its investments by promoting gender equality and equality of opportunity. The institution seeks to understand where the risks of disproportionate impact are larger as well as where the gender ‘gaps’ are in terms of access to infrastructure by country.

The MPPGA student team will:

  • Review and provide an assessment on the various methodologies used to assess gender gaps in terms of access to infrastructure and water resources for all the Asian countries in which the AIIB operates; and
  • Provide recommendations as to which methodologies are best suited to assess gender gaps.

This GP2 will be achieved by student interactions with the government and other stakeholders in India to explore what other data may be available. This may also include focus groups with women to identify their challenges in accessing infrastructure.

Title: Equity and Sustainability in Mining Operations in Ethiopia
Project Client: Supporting the Ministry of Mines in Ethiopia (SUMM), Ethiopia
Team Members: Sebastian Jarrin, Huilin Gao, Adam Cassady, Juliana Craig, Catherine Tarimo

MPPGA Students on the Ethiopia Team

In light of the extent and nature of mineral occurrences and growing investment prospects in Ethiopia, the Ministry of Mines Minerals, Petroleum and Natural Gas has indicated the need to strengthen its minerals sector. The Supporting the Ministry of Mines in Ethiopia (SUMM) Project is a partnership between the Government of Canada, through Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI), and the Government of Ethiopia to strengthen institutions and the policy environment of Ethiopia towards an equitable and sustainable development of the country’s growing mining sector. As a signatory to UN-SDG and other international fora, Ethiopia seeks to build the capacity of key players (ie. regulators, academia, private sector, impacted communities) to meet global standards.

The GP2 student team will travel to Addis Ababa for their fieldwork. They will meet various stakeholders to address the following needs and opportunities within the SUMM project:

  • Gender equality: Extractive industries have the tendency to displace or deny traditional access and use of natural resources. The exclusion is particularly debilitating to low income and other socially vulnerable people, such as women and children. The SUMM secretariat seeks to analyse current policies and institutions that influence the way vulnerable groups and women are enabled or hindered in playing an equitable role in this growth. They would also like to develop tools of assessment of gender equity. This includes mechanisms to conduct gender audit.
  • Data Management: Rapid economic growth trajectories often overwhelm systems and mechanisms that safeguard interest of the vulnerable communities. In the absence of a robust monitoring and evaluation system, it becomes even more difficult to see the unintended or intangible outcomes of mining activity. An essential prerequisite for a remedial measure is the availability of credible and scalable data management systems. The SUMM project will explore the approach to meet the data management needs and cost-effective ways to create, maintain and use sound database. This will entail a review of existing data, its use and limitations, ongoing efforts by SUMM to build systems and capacity and evaluate various technologies that can help meeting the current and future needs.

Please stay tuned for updates on the Global Policy Projects as students engage in their fieldwork this December!  

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