Many organisations working in international development want to contribute to policy change. These may be small non-government organisations working to improve health care for a marginalised group or large research institutions trying to improve urban planning: whatever their size or purpose, one of the ways to cement the changes they desire is by influencing policy. Policy change can take many forms: while changes to legislation are often seen as the most concrete ways of making change happen, in fact public policy comprises many non-legislative issues, such as regulations, resource allocation and decisions about whose voices to include in debates or what evidence to base decisions on.
For the past decade, the RAPID1 team at ODI has been working with a wide range of organisations in a wide range of contexts to understand how to foster sustainable policy change. The result is ROMA – the RAPID Outcome Mapping Approach – which is the subject of this guide. ROMA is an approach to improving your policy engagement processes, to influence change. It comprises a suite of tools that any organisation can use at any stage in their policy engagement process to improve how they diagnose the problem, understand the types of impact their work could have on policy-making, set realistic objectives for policy influence, develop a plan to achieve those objectives, monitor and learn from the progress they are making and reflect this learning back into their work. This guide to ROMA summarises what the team has learned over the years.