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Building emerging leaders in communications policy in Africa and Asia

In Africa and Asia, regulations governing communications are not designed to facilitate poverty reduction and economic growth. This is due in part to the shortage of locally-based policy and regulatory capacity within government, academia, and civil society, which has led to a lack of public interest policy research to support evidence-based policymaking. Building a local human resource base in different areas of the network economy is critical to developing and sustaining information and communications technology sectors that are responsive to socio-economic development goals.

Over the last ten years, the Communication for Policy Research South (CPRsouth) program has fostered the emergence of policy leaders with the skills and experience to engage in public interest research to inform policy. From 2015–2016, the program experimented with and contributed to a new local cadre of networked economy policy leaders across Asia and Africa.

Unlike privately funded research capacity programs designed primarily around returns on investment in infrastructure development, CPRsouth focuses on public interest research. It has the latitude to focus on issues such as pro-poor access to the Internet and mobiles, the protection of consumer rights, and governance of these technologies for the benefit of vulnerable and underserved populations.

This phase of the program will support increased efforts to evaluate the program’s contribution to leadership building and policy impacts. Support will allow the CPRsouth secretariat to document comprehensively how and to what extent the program is successful at producing next generation policy leaders. The project will produce an end-line tracer study on the efficacy of the program, as well as policy contributions by CPRsouth scholars in their respective countries. Among the activities supported will be tutorials, conferences, development of a social media-based platform for practitioners, and organization of a workshop on big data and development. The project is expected to build a new cohort of communications policy leaders and provide a nuanced understanding of how to contribute to building communication policy capacities.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
24 months
IDRC Officer
Phet Sayo
Total Funding
CA$ 522,000.00
Central Asia
South Asia
Far East Asia
Networked Economies
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Sri Lanka
Project Leader
Helani Galpaya


Tracer study of the communication policy research south (CPRsouth) community of participants from 2013 to 2018

Tracer study of the communication policy research south (CPRsouth) community of participants from 2013 to 2018


The study surveyed 261 individuals who participated in the past conferences of Communication Policy Research south (CPRsouth) from 2013 to 2018. The aim was to follow young scholars and conference presenters to see if they were able to influence communication policy in their countries. Responses of young scholars from the 2017 and 2018 conferences were examined in detail towards introducing improvements to the young scholars (YS) program. The report provides details of the survey.

Author(s): Gamage, Sujata N., Perera-Gomez, Thavisha

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Building Emerging Leaders in Communications Policy in Africa and Asia : final technical report

Building Emerging Leaders in Communications Policy in Africa and Asia : final technical report


After 13 years in operation, Communication Policy Research south (CPRsouth) redesigned and improved their Young Scholar (YS) program. Mentoring of conference presenters was enhanced through senior scholars who serve on the Board, and as well through experienced peers. Between conferences, greater use of case studies and interactive learning in tutorials was implemented along with increased use of social media connectivity. The objective of CPRsouth is to seed the growth of policy intellectuals and young leaders capable of evidence-based policy intervention in low- and lower-middle income countries in Asia and Africa.

Author(s): Samarajiva, Rohan, Gamage, Sujata, Perera, Samali, Perera-Gomez, Thavisha, Premawardhana, Namali

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Language: English