AVPN Plenary 4 -Engaging Governments

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  • Title of the session: Plenary 2- Engaging Governments

    Summary of the session content:

    This session discussed how the social impact community should engage with governments and other

    stakeholders in order to scale up and systematic change. Despite of governments bureaucratic

    nature, it is core player of the ecosystem and responsibility holder for the society. Since things

    should be done within the framework provided by the government, engaging with the government,

    earning their trust is necessary. Another important factor of multi sector collaboration is the need to

    know whom to approach, defining the right person is a key to collaboration. Government is not one

    body, it has many layers of authority, politicians, which is why learning how to navigate the system

    requires time.


    Eddie Razak, Executive Vice President, Agensi Inovasi Malaysia

    Agensi Inovasi Malaysia is a government agency that aims to create wealth through knowledge,

    technology and innovation to stimulate and develop the innovation ecosystem in Malaysia. It aims to

    connect ministries to accelerate collaborations within the government. AIM has 2 goals that provide

    the foundation for the innovation blueprint.

    1. To bring about holistic societal well-being through the cultivations of the innovation ecosystem

    2. To drive the national innovation agenda to generate new-wave wealth

    Advocacy work within the government is needed because of the complexity of the government and

    the validation for future policy change.

    Jeremy England, Head of Regional Delegation International Committee of the Red Cross

    The ICRC is always on the frontline of disasters. Its policy is to be present continuously during the

    chronic/crisis situations to assist and protect but necessarily to change the country. In terms of

    working with the government:

    1. The ICRC sees government as the responsibility holder and the last resort despite of any forms of


    2. Only government has the authority, access and power, it is necessary to build trust and

    encouragement with them, since we have to comply and work under the framework provided by

    the government.

    3. As a partner ICRC has 2 dimensions. First one is global dimensions, ICRC assists building new

    tools/instruments to engage with conflicted areas. Second one is how to deal with crisis


  • Joy Anderson, President and Co-founder Criterion Institute

    Criterion Institute was found in 2002 to address the following key issues-poverty, environmental

    threats, inequality, conflict, disease- by intentionally changing markets. Currently, Criterion is

    focusing on gender issues on social investing, how gender forms finance and market decisions. She

    believes applying gender lens will help to find many ways to improve the condition of women

    globally in three overarching approaches:

    1. Access to capital, to improve womens ability to access capital.

    2. Gender equity in the workplace

    3. Products and services that benefit women.

    Criterion Institute partnered with USAID on gender issues in Asia. She stressed on the importance of

    government and private collaboration to accelerate innovation.

    Krissada Raungarreerat, CEO, Thai Health Promotion Foundation

    A landmark in health promotion in Thailand came in 2001 with the establishment of the Thai Health

    Promotion Foundation (Thai Health) as a health promotion funding mechanism that draws upon a 2

    percent surcharge levied on alcohol and tobacco excise tax, approximately USD 50-60 million a year.

    It aims to provide holistic and integrated approach to support health promotion by collaborating

    with other government institutions. He thinks that it is important to understand what the

    government is thinking, what the person in charge is thinking. Government consists of many parts

    and many officials top to down.

    Questions and Answers:

    Question 1: Importance of engaging with government? Is it necessary?


    Sometimes can be seen as negative image from the outsiders. Government is very powerful and

    appealing to be the subset of large bureaucracy.


    You have to be clear about the outcome and principle when to engage with the governments. What

    to compromise and what not to compromise. Clear explanation of why you would perform better

    without their participation despite having funding from them could resolve the issue.

    Question 2: In the field of VP, what role should government play? As funders, social innovators,

    how much role should we expect?


    There are 2 models. Top down and bottom up. VP sector demands innovation and new models, thus

    let the sector decide what model they want. As for the government, we need to engage and partner

    with them, once you are with the government; it is easy to partner with private sectors. Another

    thing about government is they always look for wide impact because of their huge responsibilities. If

  • you introduce new things, they will examine the other side effects that can happen. Therefore

    governments tend to be very guarded. Systematic change is necessary.


    Governments usually dislike experiments and trials because of the money. Therefore, private

    organizations come and do the testing behalf of them.

    Question 3: Any practical tip to engage with governments where things move slowly and only way

    to expedite the process is through bribery?


    It is all about expectation of timing and procurement process. It is necessary to calibrate the

    expectations in terms of timing because different sectors have different timelines.


    We need a platform to build up the engagement with the government with the live person. Find a

    key person to engage with and talk to them.


    Mapping the people with principle and be consistent. Find people who can support you and guide

    you and help you.