How do you connect policymakers, practitioners, and researchers?

Next, I asked two crucial questions:

What kind of tool could connect policymakers, practitioners, and researchers?

Through what mechanisms would the tool connect policymakers, practitioners, and researchers?


Because of my work with AidData in Uganda last year where I evaluated the role of mapping in the Scaling Up Nutrition movement, I immediately considered a map as a potential tool. A map can be more than a visualization of project locations in a country. It has the power to inform international development schemes through three distinct mechanisms:

  1. Planning: Mapping provides spatial visualizations of investments across the country and as such, will aid donors and recipient country governments in coordinating nutrition aid distribution across the country.
  2. Coordination: A map not only allows for implementing partners to visualize coverage gaps and overlap in nutrition activities, but also provides a platform for inter-partner communication.
  3. M&E: A map will allow stakeholders to begin examining the impact of their activities spatially. i.e. Does the density of aid projects in a given district vary with changes in health indicators?

Now that I had considered what the tool would be and how (or through what mechanisms) it would operate, I had to consider who would use it. I wanted to work within the Scaling Up Nutrition movement in Uganda again. The SUN Movement brings together a broad range of stakeholders, across sectors and countries. Because the SUN Movement in Uganda is currently in the process of evaluating the baseline status of nutrition before scaling up investments, I thought SUN would be a great entry point for a tool like this to connect a wide range of stakeholders by  promoting collaborative planning, coordination, and M&E within the context of maternal and child nutrition. As such, in coordination with various partners in Uganda, I developed the following mission:

The mission of this mapping tool is to connect SUN policymakers, practitioners, and researchers through three distinct mechanisms: planning, coordination, and M&E.



  1. rdthaxton says:

    Hey Emily, this sounds like an awesome project. If there is one thing it seems we need, it is clear communication between groups who could more effectively work if they worked together. To construct a tool that will help facilitate these conversations as each group begins to understand what the others are doing is great. The one question I had while reading this was what changes will you be looking for in these groups of people, as a result of the mapping tool, to consider it to have accomplished the goal you set out above. It seems maybe just an increased level of communication between the groups would be a successful result but I was just curious. Good luck with the Honors Thesis!