Thematic Programs concern the development and mobilization of knowledge on particular systemic or sectoral issues within the context of federal and multilevel governance systems. These programs are typically built around comparative applied research which generates a range of knowledge products aimed at helping change agents make more informed decisions. The choice of themes can be forward-looking but can also arise from the Forum’s field experiences.
The Forum’s Thematic Programs and Country/Regional Programs are symbiotic and interlinked. Thematic programs generate knowledge consumed in Country/Regional programs. However, the Country/Regional programs provide the source and inspiration for new Thematic Programming based on identified knowledge gaps which need to be filled. The Forum will continue to draw on internal expertise to manage “Thematic Resource Teams” (TRTs) in support of program design and implementation. Essentially, TRTs will be led by a Forum staff member and will be comprised of senior advisors, board members, consultants and field staff who have expertise on various themes.
Thus, this strategy reflects the Forum’s goal of taking both a proactive as well as responsive approach to programming:
- Proactive Programming: identification of issues that flow from current work and assessments undertaken in consultation with partners and Forum staff on what future areas of interest may emerge based on work the Forum has previously done/is currently doing. This method of issue selection is forward looking and seeks to proactively identify connections between existing stores of knowledge and experiences and new areas of interest to partners and the international community.
- Responsive Programming: identification of issues based on donor requests and domestic and international available calls for proposals. The Forum internally evaluates the ability of the organization to respond to these issues based on their alignment with current capabilities and existing knowledge and implementation support resources.