Using PDIA approach for sustainable and integrated health system strengthening in Nigeria

Guest blog by Aisha Allamin Daggash

My expectations for the IPP Online Program when I signed up was to gain insight into strategies and frameworks that will support my work in getting government to be more effective and efficient in implementing innovative, integrated and sustainable solutions for health systems strengthening in Nigeria. However, this course has exceeded my expectations in combining leadership management and the PDIA, which has equipped me with the right resources, knowledge and skills to build the teams and networks required to succeed in the work that I do.

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Promoting design for global business in Brazil

Guest blog by Isabel Tarrisse da Fontoura

“The flow of life envelopes everything. That’s life: it heats up and cools down, it tightens and then loosens up, it becomes calm and then unrests. What it wants from us is courage”.

João Guimaraes Rosa

1. An act of courage

The Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) program Implementing Public Policy (IPP) is an act of courage. It is so from the day you decide to commit to six months of action learning in the middle of a global pandemic to, today, as we end this journey with 142 peers from 47 countries and the HKS team, and we’re moving ahead working on pressing challenges we care too much about to let go.

The good part is that every ending is a new beginning.

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Public space usage in Bratislava

Guest blog by Lenka Galetova

My journey in the Implementing Public Policy course has been full of changes, surprises and overcoming expectations. In the beginning, there was a nice announcement of by my chief – the mayor of the city of Bratislava, that he selected me as the member of his team to take part in this exciting online course led by Harvard teachers. I felt his high expectations and I imagined that by the end of the course there will be some great innovative fancy policy product which I will create with the help of the course. I was focused on the output of it.

Throughout the course I found that it is the process and a way of thinking which I am going to learn and get familiar with. And it was even better than I had imagined. Some of the learned elements could seem obvious to you – that you should think of your feelings, points of view and the feelings and points of view of your team members and colleagues. But frankly – how often do we really take into account all these “obvious” important elements? And how often we do neglect the stance of our colleagues in order to assure that the delivery of the solution will be swift, quick and straightforward. Or even more common fault – how often do we tend to start the project and deal with the policy challenge with the ready solutions for the problem? Have you ever considered that even your perception of the problem itself could be not the best one or could be even incorrect?

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Alleviating homelessness in Toronto

Guest blog by Rob Graham

My public policy implementation challenge is the alleviation of homelessness in Toronto. The problem is getting worse as evidenced by the increasing number of homeless, the frequency and severity of their comorbidities and the increasing demand for shelter services like housing support, mental health, addictions, other medical needs, clothing, beds for the night and battling food insecurity.

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Addressing Youth Unemployment in Ghana through PDIA

Guest blog by Afua Gyekyewaa

Introduction
The Youth Employment Agency (YEA) of Ghana was created specifically to address the issue of youth unemployment. In 2006 when the Agency was created, the unemployment rate especially among the youth was very high. Facing this challenge, the government set up the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), now YEA, to find a solution to the problem, albeit as a stop-gap measure. The jobs that were created had two- year duration and not permanent solutions. With a new government came a new management. This new management’s vision is to find permanent solutions to the youth unemployment problem in the country. The Agency wants to do this by creating more sustainable jobs for the youth and moving away from the two-year temporary jobs. Now the challenge is, creating sustainable jobs is alien to the Agency. There are no laid down structures and processes neither are there any concepts to follow.

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Becoming an active participant in your learning journey

Guest blog by Andrew McIntyre

Although a journey starts with a beginning and an end, it is the actual experiences that occur between those two points that are the most important. In this current period of COVID the experiences, while less hands-on, can be more intense and thought-provoking due to the time for reflection and the focus on alternate communication stimuli. Such was the case with the Implementing Public Policy Executive Education course that I recently undertook at Harvard Kennedy School. Beginning the course, I had the normal expectations of learning new skills, tools and interacting with people from all over the world to learn about how I could better implement my current projects. Little did I expect that the online learning, while delivering these expectations, also allowed me to be both the object and subject of active learning approach to exploring improved leadership and a participant observer of effective online interactions and perspectives. The progress of the course itself, mimicked the very tools that it shared, all of which seek to improve public policy in development situations.

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Social protection, food security, and nutrition

Guest blog by Juan Gonzalo Jaramillo Mejia

As a Social Protection officer at the United Nations’ World Food Programme, my work has aimed to help countries accelerate progress towards zero hunger, supporting the implementation of governmental policies that ensure people’s ability to meet their essential needs, such as nutritious food. However, throughout the years I have recurrently encountered the challenge of translating people’s enhanced physical and economic access to food into positive nutritional outcomes mainly due to shortcomings in policy implementation.

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Exploring electromobility in Latin America

Guest blog by Raúl Rodríguez Molina

I decided to enroll in the IPP program as a continuation of the Leading Economic Growth Program, which I found extremely interesting. LEG gave me the opportunity to engage in group work methodologies, like PDIA, which somehow I have seen being implemented but not formally, not following a rigorous process.

I am working as an infrastructure specialist for an international development bank, the Inter-American Development Bank. Supporting countries to design effective policies for which the Bank provides financial and technical resources is the core of my job. We (the IABD) are not policy makers, but we need to work on project derived from a sound public policy exercise. I hoped that coupling LEG and IPP in such short sequence of time would give me a conceptual refresh of the framework and basics of a good Public Policy, looking at different regions of the world and from different actor’s perspectives. One crystal clear message to me is that context matters a lot, so two similar problems cannot be tackled in the same way to get the same results. That is why it is so important to implement problem deconstruction methodologies. PDIA helps you exercise a constant evaluation and questioning process to ensure you are not just moving in the right direction, but also working with all the actors needed.

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Developing the national business climate policy for Morocco

Guest blog by Abderrazak Mourchid

When I applied for the Harvard Kennedy School IPP training in May 2020, I was looking to build up my capacity in public policy implementation, especially since I was mandated by the Head of Government of Morocco to develop the national business climate policy for Morocco for the next five years. It was the first time I had been invited to carry out such a strategic exercise for my country. The complexity of the exercise lies in the fact that it involves a variety of stakeholders and that it was necessary to determine the priorities for Morocco in the medium term in order to develop the private sector and improve the attractiveness of investment. This exercise was supported by a steering committee that I established and that includes the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Internal affairs. 

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Addressing a remittance backlog in the U.S.

Guest blog by Loretta Minott

It has been almost twenty years since I graduated from college. At least fifteen years since I have been involved in an instructor-led collegiate level course. As a mother to a toddler, going “back to school” was not in my plan. But I had a superior who believed in my ability and thought this program would be a great opportunity for me to strengthen my resume and add upon my qualifications. Applying to the program was a breeze. I then anxiously waited to find out if I had been accepted. I was overjoyed when I was accepted. I mean, this is Harvard! That joy quickly turned to fear. As I read the professional profiles of those in my cohort, I remember saying out loud “What did I get myself in to?” I mean, who was I? I had a bachelor’s degree from Temple University, an unfinished graduate degree, and I was now in a course with folks who hold PhD’s from some of the most prestigious universities. How would I align with these people? I would shortly find out that everything was going to be just fine. I ended up in a breakout group with some of the most supportive and kind colleagues. We became fast friends and we pushed each other to complete the course in its entirety.

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