OPF's impact

OPF's impact

Since the programme start in 2015, Oxford Policy Fellows have undertaken capacity development and contributed to a wide range of policies, laws, and government systems in our 11 partner countries. The Fellows have achieved results in multiple sectors, from environment and climate change to trade and Public Private Partnerships.

Click on the sectors below to learn what OPF has acheived.

Environment and climate change

TreesOPF Fellows have contributed significantly to work on environment and climate change. Here are some examples of our achievements:

  • Contributed to the drafting of Ethiopia’s first primary legislation on protecting wetlands.
  • Reviewed Ethiopia’s draft legislation of the Industrial Chemical Registration and Administration Proclamation, which was adopted by parliament in 2018.
  • Developed several tools for the implementation of the Ethiopian National Environmental Law Development and Enforcement programme, including: a high-level legislative sectoral and mandate review; pro forma agreements; and a university resource centre. 
  • Developed checklists and guidelines for Namibia’s senior Ministry officials in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in order to create a process for decision-making, thereby enabling greater transparency. These reduced the Government’s risk of litigation threats and was used as a baseline to revise the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations.
  • Hear from our Fellow Njeri about how she contributed to the environmental work in Liberia during the Covid-19 pandemic

    Environment Protection Agency, Liberia

    In Liberia, the national public health strategy outlined the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This strategy included the establishment of a specialized taskforce – the Special Presidential Advisory Committee on COVID-19 (SPACOC), chaired by the President of the Republic of Liberia with the National Public Health Institute of Liberia taking the lead implementation role. SPACOC brings together representatives from the line ministries in Liberia including the chief Technical advisor on behalf of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

    In the light of the link between human health and the environment, the EPA’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic was to ensure the safe burial of those people who had died from the virus and to mitigate the adverse impacts on the environment of the increased waste produced from managing the pandemic. It was imperative to clarify the disposal requirements for medical waste in order to ensure environmentally sound management of waste. We achieved this by developing guidelines and standards of procedure. We developed the Burial Protocol: ‘How to Conduct Safe and Dignified Burial of a Patient who has died from Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus’ to contain the spread of the infection during both the handling and burial of dead bodies. This involved coordinating closely with SPACOC and, in particular, the National Water Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Committee with whom we jointly developed and implemented a public awareness-raising strategy.

    Having worked as an embedded advisor at the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) for five months before the pandemic struck, our Fellow was able to continue to contribute significantly to the department’s work despite working remotely. She supported the agency to address the urgent need to restructure the activities and procedures so as to ensure the continuation of the EPA’s ‘protection and management of the environment’ mandate. One particularly important part area was the considerable support she gave to the work on mitigating the environmental effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on both Liberian citizens and the environment. This has been an important contribution to the national response to the pandemic and we are immensely grateful for it.

    Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, Executive Director/CEO, Environmental Protection Agency, Liberia

    In March 2020, I had to return to my home country due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus. When working remotely, I was, however, able to continue to work closely with my colleagues and provide support to the EPA’s response to Covid-19. I did this by making inputs to the briefing presented to SPACOC on behalf of the EPA and ensuring that both the relevant legal and policy frameworks were reviewed as well as key aspects of climate change adaptation and response and were carefully considered in the national response and recovery efforts.

    EPA’s work has highlighted the critical importance of environmental issues to national actors and emphasised the need to apply the lessons and opportunities from the pandemic for environmental action in Liberia. Indeed, we believe that the implementation of the public awareness-raising strategy was critical in achieving a simple and coherent message to the public on the prevention of coronavirus contagion whilst safeguarding the environment. The EPA’s suggestions regarding the burials and the medical waste management will be incorporated in the final version of the Waste Management Law, ensuring environmentally safe management beyond this pandemic.

    Njeri Mwathi

Public Private Partnerships           

Icon_two people talking OPF is working in several countries where we are supporting Public Private Partnerships, the results of this work include:

  • Provided legal oversight of the implementation of a legal and institutional framework for PPPs in Djibouti. The law has seen the establishment of a dedicated PPP unit within the Ministry of Finance.
  • Drafted, reviewed, conducted capacity development on, and finalised Uganda’s PPP Regulations and Guidelines. These are in operational use supporting Ministries, departments and agencies as they develop projects. The PPP Regulations and Guidelines also provide private investors and development partners with detailed information about the process.
  • Reviewed and drafted documentation for the Ugandan Kampala-Jinja toll Expressway PPP project, which upon completion will create a key trade link by ensuring access to the Indian Ocean. 
  • Coordinated a conception note and pre-feasibility study together with the Zanzibar authorities and the World Bank to construct a facility to store petroleum products – the country’s first PPP project.

Since I have been in this job I have seen legislative reforms take place, new legal units being set up, lawyers being recruited for the first time into line ministries, bad contracts being avoided at all costs, checklists being developed for how you develop to review a contract so that the terms in it are favourable for the government.

  Kari Selander, OPF founder and board member

Lawyers in discussion at the Oxford Policy Fellowship Annual Meeting.

Trade and investment    

Truck Our Fellows in Rwanda and Uganda have worked on trade and investment issues. Here are a few examples of our contributions:

  • Contributed to the development of Rwanda’s revised intellectual property policy, and supported work to retain the exceptions of TRIPS Article 33 excluding pharmaceutical products from intellectual property protection.
  • Created an informal negotiation guide for the model bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in order to further support government negotiators, in Rwanda. This action resulted in a formalised policy for BIT negotiations and created a uniform bargaining position across government departments. 
  • Co-drafted Uganda’s preliminary negotiation agenda on E-commerce, which guided Uganda’s participation in negotiations with WTO, AfCFTA and the Tripartite Free Trade Area.
  • Reviewed the Ugandan External Trade Act and provided recommendations for expanding its scope. Some of these findings were included in a draft bill intended to amend the Act, now due to be submitted to parliament (as of January 2021).


In Sierra Leone, Fellows have had a tremendous impact on strengthening the effectiveness of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation:

  • Contributed to the post-Ebola Presidential Recovery (Health) Priorities by reviewing and drafting sections of the National Medical Supplies Agency Act. This Act established a new agency to manage the procurement and distribution of medical supplies in Sierra Leone.
  • Consulted on, drafted and negotiated (in an integrated, consistent and sensitive way) for the domestication and implementation of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
  • Assisted the drafting and revising of a chapter in Sierra Leone’s National Health Sector Strategic Plan 2017-2021, which serves to guide the work of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.


Coins OPF has partnered with several Ministries of Finance, here are some of the exceptional impacts we have contributed to:

  • Negotiated the Djibouti-Ethiopia railway, working toward a bilateral treaty between the two countries to govern the management and ownership of the railway line. Participated in inter-ministerial committees and negotiations as well as supported the drafting of key documents.
  • Reviewed and negotiated changes to several loan agreements and guarantee letters which resulted in more favourable terms for the Djiboutian government, including better transparency, communication and flexibility in the terms.
  • Successfully negotiated loans from Exim Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and the UK Export Finance Agency, ensuring timely approvals by parliament and favourable terms for Uganda.
  • Contributed to negotiations with the World Bank (including leading the review of documentation) concerning the Uganda Covid-19 Economic Crisis and Recovery Development Policy Financing Program.
A mountainous Ethiopian countryside, traversed by power lines.
  • Hear from our Fellow Prajwal about his experience supporting the budget in Uganda

    Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Uganda

    The Department of Development Assistance and Regional Cooperation (DARC)

    Like many other countries, Uganda’s finances have been hit by the pandemic and is facing a revenue shortfall. The real GDP growth was projected to fall from 6.5 per cent in the financial year 2019 to a range of 3 to 3.3 per cent in the financial year 2020. After Uganda developed the National Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, DARC has worked hard on providing crisis response budget support to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. We have facilitated loan and grant negotiations from numerous actors including the World Bank, African Development Fund and other development agencies and this has amounted to over USD 360.0 Million collectively.

    The first assistance we coordinated was for the Covid-19 Response and Emergency Preparedness Project for the health sector, worth USD 15.2 million. The project aims to prevent, detect and respond to Covid-19 and to strengthen national systems for public health preparedness. The project component also includes improving disease surveillance at points of entry and rapid laboratory diagnosis and reporting; case management with investments in the provision of equipment, training in the provision of intensive care and psychosocial support.

    In this project, DARC’s main responsibility was to review the project documents and financing agreement to ensure that the various stakeholders and implementing agencies could execute the objectives with the least amount of friction. As disbursements needed to take place quickly, we were able to coordinate with development partners to redirect available funds from existing projects by drafting the necessary legal documents and obtaining quick internal approvals to ensure financial restructuring were made effective.

    The support of the Oxford Policy Fellow during the outbreak of Covid-19 has been of immense help. As the unprecedented time required a dedicated and accessible team, we were able to rely on the Fellow for a quick response in thoroughly reviewing documents (including footnotes incorporated in lengthy project and loan documents), drafting legal matrixes with comments, harmonizing comments from various departments and ministries, and finally, preparing the team and assisting everyone during the negotiations.

    Maris Wanyera, Acting Director for Directorate of Debt, Cash and Policy (Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Uganda

    Our efforts were successful and we managed to get a commitment of USD 12.5 million to the project. As DARC is experienced with efficient utilisation of external resources, the team has so far been able to ensure the funds allocated for the project reached both Covid-19 infected people as well as risk populations such as hosting communities and refugees, and medical and emergency personnel. Despite the early phases in the implementation process, the World Bank rated the project implementation as ‘moderately satisfactory’ in October 2020 and several of the indicators are either unchanged or are progressing towards the targets. These efforts are ongoing and we frequently work together with development partners to ensure that our collaboration is successful in softening the adverse impact of the pandemic.

    Prajwal Gyawali


book Fellows have provided vital support to education development. Here are a few examples of our contributions:

  • Supported the legislative reform of over 20 Bills to strengthen the legal and regulatory framework within the Ghanaian Ministry of Education, thereby improving the governance and efficiency of education service delivery. This involved drafting legislation and ensuring legislative instruments were integrated through an Act of Parliament.
  • Actively worked as part of a committee designing the Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project, a USD 219 million World Bank-led project improving quality education in 10,000 basic schools.
  • Contributed to the reform of the Ghanaian Education legislative agenda, including 23 different cabinet memoranda and Bills such as the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill and the Education Regulatory Bodies Bill. These have decentralised pre-tertiary education and updated the legal framework for regulatory bodies.

It was extremely helpful to have Kanan as a part of the Ministry of Education’s rapid COVID-19 response after school closures in March 2020. Her decision to remain in the country during the pandemic helped accelerate the review of contracts and negotiation to support the upgrade of IT infrastructure in the Ministry and, more importantly, in public schools across Ghana. Kanan played a key role in procuring 280,000 laptops along with IT training for pre-tertiary teachers to support remote/distance learning and mitigate the impact of school closures.

Wilhelmina Asamoah, Director General Administration, Ministry of Education, Ghana

Water and energy

Wind mill Since 2015, OPF Fellows have contributed to improving water and energy across the African continent. Here are some of our achievements:

  • Provided capacity building on donor coordination and relationship management to mid-level officials at the utilities regulatory authority (ZURA), helping them secure a significant expansion of the Swedish International Development Corporation's Zanzibar Energy Sector Strengthening (ZESS) project to include a multi-year investment in building institutional capacity at ZURA.
  • In the interim of the creation of the PPP directorate in Djibouti, the Fellows managed two energy infrastructure proposals: a 58.9-megawatt (MW) wind farm and a 30 MW solar power plant. When finalised, these projects will contribute to reducing the import of electricity and national dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Established a repository of all Memoranda of Understanding and agreements entered between the Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy and other Governments or entities. The repository improved record-keeping and the efficiency of the Ministry.