The tools

The tools hereby presented constitute an indicative list of the activities that will conform to each INSPIRED dialogue process according to their different needs. They can be thought of as the basic “building blocks” that structure the dialogue process, as their main strength lay in their complementarity. Therefore, when deciding on which ones to use, the Dialogue Host/dialogue facilitator needs to take into consideration the following aspects:

  • To begin with, they have to be necessary for delivering the outcomes of the policy dialogue process. In other words, they are not there for their own sake, but to guide the collective work of the key stakeholders towards the policy reform that INSPIRED is supporting.

  • Secondly, they have to be designed with the permanent objective of building trust among stakeholders that, more often than not, have a limited track record in cooperating and working together. It is through the kind of participatory work that INSPIRED tools foster that they are likely to develop working bonds and engage with each other, thus creating the conditions for improving the culture of dialogue and democratisation in the long run.

  • And lastly, by facilitating knowledge-production as a joint achievement, the resulting evidence is more likely to be collectively owned, thus broadening the base of support for the resulting policy reform.

By fostering complementarity among its different tools, INSPIRED seeks to promote the kind of behavioural change that lays at the core of any meaningful reform. Such a profound transformation can only be achieved by consciously and actively encouraging mutual understanding and by improving the overall awareness about each other’s strengths, constraints and limitations.

This is to say that all the tools hereby described should be combined and arranged according to the specific needs of each dialogue process. For the sake of ownership, such planning should be carried out preferably by means of a “dialogue planning workshop” bringing together the key stakeholders, including representatives from the line ministries in charge of the public policy or policies at stake.

Every event should be embedded within the programming document adopted by the stakeholders at the end of the Collective Assessment phase. However, the Dialogue Host and stakeholders should have the flexibility to adapt their initial planning to any unforeseen circumstances that may – and probably will – arise during this phase, and dialogue events should, of course, reflect those changes.

Each dialogue event should focus on clearly stated objectives and expected results, which should not be extremely complex or ambitious in order to allow the Dialogue Host to monitor the discussions without disturbing the nascent trust dynamics among the participants. It is important that the stakeholders themselves agree collectively on the objectives and expected results of each dialogue event, as this will strengthen their ownership over the process.

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