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Influencing Framework for UK Development in Nepal


  • Abt developed a strategic and evidence-based influencing framework to plan, implement, monitor, review, and learn from diplomacy and development activities in Nepal.
  • Informed by a set of case studies, the framework was co-created and tested through a series of Embassy workshops.
  • Abt also supported the recognition and integration of influencing as a system in the British Embassy in Kathmandu.
The Challenge

Under the new Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the UK government sought to maximise the benefits of an approach that integrates diplomacy and development. These benefits included generating new evidence through research and evaluation to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of influencing Nepal stakeholders within foreign policy and development work. Influencing is dynamic, temporal, context-specific, and affected by longer-term strategic initiatives around mutual interests and shorter-term transactional activities.

In Nepal, Abt supported the FCDO’s request to reviewing their past influencing strategies to advance thinking and structure on evidence-based influencing approaches. Abt also helped the British Embassy Kathmandu co-create recommendations to embed an evaluative culture along with the right expertise and capability to perform influencing work, contributing to the FCDO’s short-term and longer-term strategic goals.

The Approach

Abt supported FCDO Nepal through:

  1. Rapid review of influencing models. We took as a starting point Abt’s bespoke conceptual framework that frames influencing around a stock of influencing capital and assets.
  2. Evidence synthesis and creating new knowledge products. We developed case studies with different influencing goals—one foreign policy, one development, and one that covered both. These became the building blocks for an influencing framework toolkit, which Abt then expanded through regular co-creation exercises and engagement with the Embassy influencing team.
  3. Strategic learning. In a series of Embassy workshops, we facilitated conversations on change management around influencing, ownership of the toolkit, and adapting to the Nepali context.
  4. Recommendations to the FCDO Country Board for sustained practice and culture change. We created a supportive environment for influencing work and shaped job roles and skill sets for staff as they shift to an influencing mode.
The Results

The final influencing framework toolkit provides guidance around setting influencing goals; mapping the influence context, actors, and assets; and developing strategies and tactics for implementation, including monitoring and adaptation. It enables the Embassy to think through influencing at various levels: at a project, portfolio, or whole Embassy scale.

The FCDO Country Board approved the toolkit as a formal and key product to support the Embassy’s influencing activities over time. Furthermore, the British Embassy Senior Management Team adopted FCDO recommendations for sustained practice and culture change into the wider post-merger change process.