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Balancing research and practice in an international NGO

REL Practice Paper 1 Ten Years of Change is a collaborative, long-term practitioner research initiative designed to take place in three countries – Colombia, Kenya and the UK. It is implemented by the Research, Evidence and Learning team at Christian Aid. The research began with the overarching question how are community members and supporters being influenced by, and influencing, processes of social change? Each country team adapted the question to make it relevant to their socio-political context, and designed research at several different levels, from local to national. This paper tells the story of the first three years of Ten Years of Change. It narrates our ideas and ambitions and how we clarified them; how we identified where, by whom and how the study would be implemented; and how we worked with colleagues in other countries to begin to translate our idea into practice. It then discusses the forces that shaped the parallel but distinct evolution of each of the three streams of the study, before reflecting on the challenges of trade-offs and power. It concludes by returning to some of our assumptions about practitioner research, reflecting on how they played out in practice, finally turning to considerations for the next stage of the study.  

Pathways to Localisation: locally led humanitarian response (Myanmar)

This Myanmar-language paper presents a synthesis of the four national frameworks into one global localisation framework relevant for humanitarian practitioners, policy-makers and decision-makers. It outlines: The notable differences between the four national localisation frameworks, and reflect the diverse contexts specific to the very different operating environments and humanitarian crises in Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria and South Sudan. A number of priority actions and areas common across the four frameworks, many of which link closely to existing localisation commitments, frameworks, and indicators which are referenced. The key areas included in all four national localisation frameworks, along with objectives, priority actions, and potential indicators.

Illicit drugs and tough trade-offs in war-to-peace transitions

Millions of marginalised people rely on illicit drug economies - often deeply intertwined with armed conflicts - for their survival. But Agenda 2030, particularly Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, makes no mention of illicit drug economies. It is clear that the war on drugs has not worked, and it is increasingly recognised that a new, development-based approach to tackling illicit economies is needed. But at present, the evidence base to inform such policies is weak. This report presents evidence on why illicit drugs are a development issue and why they matter for peacebuilding, before discussing the problem with current approaches, and the implications for drugs, peacebuilding and development policy. Report authors: Ross Eventon and Eric Gutierrez

Keeping hope alive: Christian Aid's work on peace - Impact study 2019

Without an explicit focus on peace, there can be no sustainable development. This Impact Study, and accompanying case studies, share some of our story of taking peace seriously. Throughout our work in providing humanitarian assistance and long-term development support, it has become clear that we cannot ignore the reality of violence. Peace and justice matter to us as a faith-based organisation and we seek to respond to real challenges of building peace with integrity, respect, courage and hope. From Violence to Peace lays down our hopeful vision that a more peaceful reality free from poverty, violence and injustice is possible. This study shares key examples of impact and some things we’ve learnt along the way. Key facts In 2016, more countries experienced violent conflict than at any time in nearly 30 years. If current trends persist, by 2030 – the horizon set by the Sustainable Development Goals – more than half of the world’s poor will be living in countries affected by high levels of violence. (OECD). Violent conflict has spiked since 2010, with two billion people now living in countries where development outcomes are affected by fragility, conflict, and violence (World Bank, 2018). Much of this violence is due to recurring violence and protracted conflicts. It is estimated that 135 different countries have experienced conflict recurrence – a pattern that is deepening. We stand in solidarity with our local partners – households, community organisations and local leadership who live through conflict and violence first hand. We want governments, faith institutions and communities to want and work for peace in their societies and to keep hope alive. Peace is not something fluffy and aspirational. Peacebuilding can and does work.

Keeping hope alive: South Sudan case study

Without an explicit focus on peace, there can be no sustainable development. This case study about Christian Aid's work on peace in South Sudan, alongside the accompanying reports, shares some of our story of taking peace seriously. Throughout our work in providing humanitarian assistance and long-term development support, it has become clear that we cannot ignore the reality of violence. Peace and justice matter to us as a faith-based organisation and we seek to respond to real challenges of building peace with integrity, respect, courage and hope. From Violence to Peace lays down our hopeful vision that a more peaceful reality free from poverty, violence and injustice is possible. This study shares key examples of impact and some things we’ve learnt along the way. Download the case study above or view the full report here

Accelerating localisation research summary - Myanmar-language version

Recommendations for practices that strengthen the leadership of national and local actors in partnership-based humanitarian action in Myanmar. Read the English-language version here

Myanmar: Building a Culture of Dialogue manual - English

A facilitator’s manual to guide dialogue within and between communities in conflict. In Myanmar, violence and protracted conflict – often fuelled by fear, hatred and distrust – have a strong impact on people’s lives. Many years of peace building work make us believe in the importance of dialogue as a tool to build trust and strong relationships. Dialogue provides the opportunity to share feelings, understand different points of view and reflect on situations.   For our project ‘Sagar Wine’ (culture of dialogue) in Rakhine State, we developed a training manual. In three creative and interactive modules with many visuals, participants will explore personal development, understand the dynamics of conflict and practice dialogue facilitation skills. The manual ‘Building a Culture of Dialogue’ is available in English and Burmese language.

Myanmar: Building a culture of dialogue manual - Burmese

A facilitator’s manual to guide dialogue within and between communities in conflict. In Myanmar, violence and protracted conflict – often fuelled by fear, hatred and distrust – have a strong impact on people’s lives. Many years of peace building work make us believe in the importance of dialogue as a tool to build trust and strong relationships. Dialogue provides the opportunity to share feelings, understand different points of view and reflect on situations.   For our project ‘Sagar Wine’ (culture of dialogue) in Rakhine State, we developed a training manual. In three creative and interactive modules with many visuals, participants will explore personal development, understand the dynamics of conflict and practice dialogue facilitation skills. The manual ‘Building a Culture of Dialogue’ is available in English and Burmese language.

Accelerating localisation research summary - Myanmar

Recommendations for practices that strengthen the leadership of national and local actors in partnership-based humanitarian action in Myanmar. Read the Myanmar-language version here

Kenya prequalification of suppliers 2019-20

Christian Aid Kenya invites interested and eligible suppliers to apply for pre-qualification indicating the category of goods and services as they wish to supply.  Existing suppliers who wish to be retained must also re-apply and submit information requested in the prequalification document.  

Honour the Promises: One year on from the Rohingya pledging conference

On 23 October 2017, a pledging conference at the United Nations resulted in 36 financial commitments for the Rohingya crisis response. At the time, Christian Aid welcomed the pledges as a 'good start'. However, our new analysis reveals that less than half of funding requirements have been met, a year on. This policy paper explains why it’s time for a comprehensive long-range plan to protect all those displaced by conflict.  

In it for the long haul? Lessons on peacebuilding in South Sudan

This report analyses approaches to conflict transformation and peacebuilding in South Sudan. It identifies overarching lessons from outside South Sudan, from the country’s own history, and based on the wisdom of local peacebuilders, long-term practitioners and citizens affected by their work. The reports outlines 10 lessons or principles which provide some guidance to those who wish to understand or support peacebuilding in South Sudan. These are each accompanied by short case studies which explore why these principles can make an important difference. In illuminating the role of ‘local’ or ‘sub-national’ peacebuilding, the report also demonstrates the interlinkages between national and local interests, making the case for why analysis which spans multiple levels is critical to inform understanding, strategies and approaches to building national peace in South Sudan. This report is also accompanied by a policy and practice summary 

Policy and practice summary: Lessons on peacebuilding in South Sudan

This policy and practice summary accompanies a longer report which identifies overarching lessons contributing to the effectiveness of peacebuilding in South Sudan. It aims to provide some guidance for those wishing to understand or support peacebuilding in South Sudan, particularly donor agencies and practitioners within the peacebuilding sector. The summary includes:  Why we should learn from the ‘local’ and engage in multi-level approaches What we found out Conclusion and methodology Read the full report here

LPRR: Humanitarian response strand learning paper

The Linking Preparedness, Response and Resilience, a DEPP funded, multi-agency project, supported seven local NGOs in Kenya and Myanmar to develop and pilot operational methodologies for supporting integrated community-led responses to humanitarian crises. The project was funded by the START network through UK aid and was led by Christian Aid. The approaches tested by the project were based on the research carried out by Kings College London (KCL), on the on-going action-research of carried out by Local to Global Protection (L2GP) and on the ideas, capacities and contexts of the LNGOs themselves. The pilots test the application of the recommendations made by communities as captured by the KCL research of how to improve humanitarian programming. This learning paper summarises the key findings to date from seven of these pilots in 3 local organisations from Marsabit County of Northern Kenya, two from NW Myanmar (Rakhine State) and two from SE Myanmar (Kayah and Kayin States). Given the small budgets for the pilots and the very short timeframes for their completion, they are the first step for the seven LNGOs to test and develop some of the components of the emerging ‘practice’ for facilitating locally-led emergency programming.