Yes, I think this probably is applicable!
1. At first it took a fair bit of time to build up an accurate picture of the different stakeholders, their relationships and incentives. And I'm sure there's still a lot more to learn. But with each new country we work in we can apply what we've learn in previous countires, as there are often a lot of similarities. For example, paint manufacturers in different countires might have similar perspectives, incentives, or relationships with regulators.
2. I'd advise starting by asking people with understanding of the space who aren't the key people you'll need to influence or work directly with (e.g. before speaking to a key policy-maker, find out the lay of the land from NGOs or individuals who work with the same government agencies or policy-makers on different issues).
Then when it comes to speaking to the key stakeholders it seems helpful to have an initial conversation that is very exploratory, asking lots of questions to understand their perspectives, relationships, incentives, etc. The aim of that first conversation is usually information gathering, information sharing, relationship building, and agreeing on a second conversation to discuss/confirm concrete next steps.
A lot of the time, an important incentive/relationship won't become clear until we've developed a closer relationships with the stakeholder. In person time helps massively with this.
Hi, thanks for the comment! Yes, most of the studies are longitudinal cohort studies. I think this is one of the best examples of a well-designed interventional study: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/app.20160056
Thanks for these thoughts!
1) We don't know of paint chemists' WhatsApp groups, but there could some out there, or some other kind of association that we could offer assistance to directly. There are definitely paint manufacturer associations in some countries, and this seems like a good approach.
2) It'd depend on the size of the country, but probably only one analysis machine would be needed in most of the African countries we work in, and it would have a lot of spare capacity for analysing other things or samples from other countries. Yes, the labs can be profitable and can test for multiple things using the same equipment (other sources of lead, other heavy metals), but there would need to be a demand for analysis. It could be that the demand will be created by regulation, and labs will start opening up once there's a market for it. But if governments are reluctant to put in regulation until there is local testing capacity, it could be hard to make a start.