Research to Affect Change
At REAP, our goal is policy change. Once we know which interventions work and which ones do not, we share our results with local, regional, and national policymakers across China, who can take steps to ensure successful strategies are picked up and implemented more broadly. That way our work touches lives of children and families far beyond our project area.
What makes us different?
REAP designs all projects with the goal of adoption and upscaling by China's government. This means that we work with government officials from project conception to the last day of data collection and beyond. We design the project collaboratively, working hand-in-hand with local authorities, to ensure that it aligns with government priorities and local needs.
Who we work with
REAP works with local and national-level policy-makers depending on their interest and compatibility with respective government agendas. Depending on project needs and government interest, we either take a top-down or bottom-up approach.
Working from the top-down with the support of the national government typically means quick policy impact on a large scale. National support may come with funding and directives for initiatives the provincial governments can then implement locally.
The bottom-up approach allows us to work directly with local policy makers to identify and refine initiatives that target a specific need in the area. Once we know what works, our local government partners can share the findings and successes with national decision makers who can advocate for policy change at the national level.
Our Four Steps to Policy Change
Strategies to Influence Policy
With policy issues large and small competing for attention from China’s decision makers, REAP uses a variety of approaches to achieve maximum policy impact:
- We lead by example by converting effective interventions into sustainable and scalable social enterprises.
- We build coalitions with notable companies, media outlets, and contacts.
- We brief China’s leadership through formal policy briefs.
Click through the tabs to the left to learn about each strategy.
1. Leading by Example
REAP converts successful interventions into social enterprises that demonstrate to government stakeholders how proven solutions can be scaled sustainably. Currently, we have two established social enterprises:
- Smart Focus secures cost sharing agreements with governments in dozens of counties across three provinces to provide affordable vision care to over a hundred thousand rural school children per year.
- REAP’s Online Computer Assisted Learning (OCAL) social enterprise partners with rural school districts to deliver remedial tutoring software to thousands of classrooms each year.
With time, we hope China’s government will adopt and expand the social enterprises to a national level.
2. Coalition Building
REAP builds coalitions with blue chip firms like Alibaba and Dell, forges partnerships with China’s flagship media outlets, and hosts Nobel prize winning thinkers to focus the attention of policymakers on key issues.
In this way we coordinate messaging, leverage far reaching brands, and harness the most persuasive voices to address pressing issues that otherwise remain below the radar.
Examples of collaborations:
3. Briefing China's Leadership
Sometimes the direct approach is the most effective. REAP has written more than twenty evidenced based policy briefs to national and provincial governments. Policy briefs are formal ways for us to communicate directly with policymakers within relevant government ministries (such as Health or Education) and present our evidential research to inform policy change.
This approach played a crucial role in the rollout of China’s national school lunch program, the largest school-feeding program in the world.
The following is a list of policy briefs published by REAP:
- The Development of Cooperative Rural Medical Care: Policy Evaluation and Suggestions for Reform
- Promoting the Development of the Rural Education System through Preschool Education
- Improving School Management in Rural Western Areas and Protecting the Health of Boarding School Students
- Improving the Education of Migrant Children
- The Future Direction of Rural Investment: Village Level Infrastructure Investment and the Changing Wishes of Rural Residents
- Promoting Childhood Development by Eliminating Childhood Anemia in Impoverished Areas
- Childhood Intestinal Parasitic Infections in Impoverished Areas: Suggestions for Research and Policy
- Dropping Out of Middle School: A Critical Problem in Poor Rural Areas
- Suggestions for Quickly Eliminating Childhood Anemia in Poor Rural Areas
- The Nutritional Milk and Eggs Program: A Call to Consider Eliminating Childhood Anemia in Poor Rural Areas
- Ningxia's Nutrition through Eggs Program: A Call to Consider Eliminating Childhood Anemia in Poor Rural Areas
- The Safety of Accommodations at Rural Elementary Boarding Schools
- Research on Development of Basic Services in Ningxia
- Exploration and Policy Suggestions for Popularization of Education in Rural High Schools in Poor Areas
- Exploration and Policy Suggestions to Improve Poor Rural Areas and Urban Migrant Schools’ Academic Performance (CAL)
- Policy Recommendations on the Implementation of Nutrition Improvement Plan for Students Under Compulsory Education in Poor Areas
- Research and Policy Recommendations on the Situation of Infant Malnutrition and Underdevelopment in Poor Areas
- Advisory for Implementing a Free Nutritious Lunch Program in Compulsory Schools in Poor Rural Areas
- Policy Recommendations on the Control and Prevention of Myopia Among Primary School Students in Poor Rural Areas
- Suggestions to Improve the Quality and Development of Vocational Schooling in China