K2P Mentorship Program-Updates: First Multi-Country Meeting: Reflections, Capacity Building, and Planning for Next Steps

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The Knowledge to Policy (K2P) Center at the Faculty of Health Science hosted the first multi-country meeting of K2P’s Mentorship Program at the American University of Beirut over a period of three days to reflect on progress, engage in capacity building and plan for the next steps. K2P was competitively selected to lead this multi-country Mentorship Program to Develop Sustainable Institutional Capacity for Evidence-Informed Decision-Making in Health in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs).
Through this innovative program of work, K2P Center is developing the capacity of six peer mentee institutions, one from each WHO region, over a period of three years. The program will build a cadre of policymaking and research/knowledge institutions that champion the use of evidence in decision-making in health in each region. This initiative constitutes the first and only arrangement of its kind in LMICs for promoting sustainable capacity-development in evidence-informed decision-making in health.
The six peer mentee institutions have been selected based on a set of criteria from each WHO region, as follows:  
  • ​Region of the Americas: Caribbean Health Policy and Systems Research Centre, University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago
  • European Region: Curatio International Foundation (CIF), Georgia
  • South-East Asia Region: Center for Policy and Health Management, Faculty of Medicine, University of Gajah Mada
  • Western Pacific Region: National Institute of Public Health, Cambodia
  • African Region: Health Policy and Systems Institute, Ebony State University, Nigeria
  • Eastern Mediterranean Region: Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government, Dubai
This multi-country meeting comes after a series of capacity needs assessment conducted by each peer mentee institution. These assessments helped identify capacity gaps in the production and use of evidence to inform policymaking and practice, and subsequently informed the development of preliminary action plans tailored to the needs and context of each peer mentee institution.

The 3-day multi-country meeting commenced with an overview of the mentorship program by Dr. Fadi El Jardali, K2P’s Founding Director. This was followed by presentations and reflections from each peer mentee institution on progress made so far, challenges and early lessons learned, and planned next steps. Starting from the afternoon of day 1 and spanning the entire day 2, participants were exposed to different capacity building components, led by K2P Evidence Lead Specialists, and encompassing the entire knowledge spectrum, from priority setting to evidence synthesis, knowledge translation products, knowledge uptake activities, and impact assessment. In day 3, peer mentee institutions revised their tailored action plans, building on the deliberations and discussions that took place during days 1 and 2. Specifically, by working closely with their assigned K2P Evidence Lead Specialists, peer mentee institutions identified the mentorship support needed to develop individual and institutional capacity to promote evidence-informed policymaking in their countries and respective regions.
The meeting wrapped up with reflections, feedback and discussion of next steps.