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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.  

The UK's climate fair share

Infographic showing the scale of the UK’s responsibility for addressing the climate crisis, requiring ambitious action at home and overseas. Please find a background document here.

Migraciones climáticas en el Corredor Seco Centroamericano

This is the orignial Spanish version of a study that examines the relationship between three factors – migration, gender and climate change – in the Central American Dry Corridor (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua). Although there is a vast body of literature that addreses each of these factors individually, other studies have not looked at the links between the three. This report is divided into four sections. The first provides the background and context of the Dry Corridor in order to explain why the variables analysed were chosen. The second includes the main testimonies gathered in each of the countries during the fieldwork. The third sets out the main conclusions, and the final section includes a series of recommendations for the inclusion of a gender equality perspective in public policies on climate change.

Climate migration in the Dry Corridor of Central America

This study examines the relationship between three factors – migration, gender and climate change – in the Central American Dry Corridor (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua). Although there is a vast body of literature that addreses each of these factors individually, other studies have not looked at the links between the three. This report is divided into four sections. The first provides the background and context of the Dry Corridor in order to explain why the variables analysed were chosen. The second includes the main testimonies gathered in each of the countries during the fieldwork. The third sets out the main conclusions, and the final section includes a series of recommendations for the inclusion of a gender equality perspective in public policies on climate change.

Keeping hope alive: Central America 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 Central America, 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

Briefing: Time for climate justice

Why should we achieve net zero greenhouse emissions? How can we do that in a sensible, fair and sustainable way?  

Picture Power in El Salvador

Over the last year, Christian Aid has been carrying out participatory photography through its in-house methodology called Picture Power.

Report: Achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the UK

Why is 'net zero' important? This report outlines why the impacts of climate change are creating an urgent need for the UK to legislate for a net zero emissions target.

Fair and equitable research partnerships case study: Dr Bhavani

Funding for research in international development often includes a focus on fair and equitable partnerships. Academics from the global North are increasingly encouraged by funders to include academic partners based in the global South and civil society practitioners in their research projects. But achieving this is complicated: partnership and research are both political. This case study is one of a set of resources that has been designed to help academics, NGOs, CSOs, research brokers and funders put principles for fair and equitable research partnerships into practice. The case study explores insights from Dr Bhavani RV of the of the M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in India, project manager for Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA), an international research partnership funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) (2012–18). After situating the organisational identity of MSSRF and its involvement as lead agency in the LANSA research programme consortium, Dr Bhavani explores several learning points relating to fair and equitable research partnerships – from negotiation of ethical considerations to adaptation of research approach and consortium governance. Finally, she reflects on ways in which MSSRF has both contributed and benefited from involvement in the LANSA research consortium.  

Christian Aid Ireland’s adaptive programme management

Governance, gender, peace building and human rights Tackling the problems of poverty, vulnerability and exclusion that persist in parts of the world that continue to be affected by violence or political insecurity is difficult for several reasons. For one, because of the complexity of the prevailing social, economic and political systems, solutions to chronic problems are far from obvious. One response to this aspect of the challenge is adaptive programme design and management. This paper, 'Learning to make a difference: Christian Aid Ireland’s adaptive programme management in governance, gender, peace building and human rights', is the product of a multi-year collaboration between ODI and the core team of Christian Aid Ireland to assess the relevance of adaptive or trial-and-error approaches to the field of governance, peace building and human rights. It explains the basis on which Christian Aid Ireland’s current five-year programme funded by Irish Aid has become committed to an adaptive approach. It then describes and seeks to draw lessons from the programme’s first year of experience, considering the possible implications for implementation over the coming years.

Bangladesh – accountable governance - a theory-based approach

Christian Aid Bangladesh (CAB) has been implementing the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) Standards in Accountability and Quality Management1 since 2011, as part of its accountable governance mechanisms. Along with its partners, Christian Aid (CA) also uses Participatory Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis (PVCA), a tool for empowering communities to undertake risk and capacity analyses and action planning . The use of both HAP Standards and PVCA is seen as important for CAB and its partners in taking a more systematic approach to downwards accountability in its programme work. In Bangladesh, three partner organisations have piloted and been most involved with implementing HAP Standards with CAB support - Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK); Dushtha Shasthya Kendra (DSK); and the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB). Each of them are CA partners in the Department for International Development (DfID)-funded ‘Programme Partnership Arrangement’ (PPA) programme. This evaluation focussed on the use, and added value of HAP and PVCA in their recovery and resilience work within the PPA. Related resources Methodology: process tracking

Time for climate justice 12 - Inequality and climate resilience Asia

Considers implications of climate change for resilience in context of increasing urbanisation, and draws on experience from our Asia programmes.

Christian Aid en América Latina y el Caribe estrategia (Spanish)

Hemos trabajado en América Latina y el Caribe por más de 30 años, apoyando a nuestras contrapartes para enfrentar la injusticia, las violaciones a los derechos humanos y la desigualdad.