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Policy and Advocacy Communications Training

The core of PRB’s capacity-strengthening work is in helping others understand, use, and communicate population and health data, research, and information to improve the well-being of all people.

Many researchers aspire to see their work inform policy discussions but the path to doing so is not always clear. PRB’s policy communication programs strengthen the capacity of young researchers in doctoral-level population and health studies to engage policy influencers and decisionmakers effectively.

We cover multiple formats of policy communication—written, verbal, social media, infographics, data visualization, and more—allowing participants to develop a versatile toolbox for communicating data and research.

Initiated in the 1980s, the Policy Communication Fellows Program trains the next generation of leaders shaping policy in countries of the Global South. PRB and the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) jointly administer the annual Policy Communication Fellows Program through the PACE project, and it is now held regionally for both anglophone and francophone participants. Its goal is to bridge the gap between research findings and the policy development process. While research often has profound policy implications, it must be communicated effectively to a variety of non-technical audiences to have an impact.

The program has around 400 alumni, and they are highly respected in the field and actively engaged in advocacy work. Fellows learn firsthand about local advocacy priorities and policy landscapes and how to tailor their research messages to relevant policy audiences. They are mentored throughout the program on different strategies to effectively communicate their findings to nontechnical audiences. The Policy Fellows program is committed to providing an enriching experience for participants that reflects the diverse and constantly evolving landscape of policy and communications.

The year-long fellowship program engages participants through a blended learning approach. Fellows are required to attend a weeklong training workshop, complete instructional curricula online, and submit assignments throughout the fellowship. A digital Policy Communication Toolkit includes nine modules of curriculum in English, French, and Spanish.

We expanded PRB’s policy communication training to U.S.-focused doctoral students in 2015, thanks to support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. This U.S. program combines a week-long summer workshop in Washington, D.C., with a practicum during the academic year when participants apply lessons learned to two policy communication materials based on their research.

PRB also trains youth advocates; Population, Environment, and Development specialists; multimedia institutions; and other targeted participant groups.

Experts

Jill Chanley

Policy Advisor

Aïssata Fall

Regional Representative for West and Central Africa

Charlotte Greenbaum

Policy Advisor

Toshiko Kaneda

Technical Director, Demographic Research

Elizabeth Leahy Madsen

Associate Vice President

Marlene Lee

Associate Vice President

Tess McLoud

Policy Advisor

Reshma Naik

Program Director

Angeline Siparo

Senior Country Director and Regional Advisor, ESA

Cathryn Streifel

Program Director

Portrait of PRB staff member Laura Wedeen.

Laura Wedeen

Former Associate Vice President

Heidi Worley

Senior Writer