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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.  

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.

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.

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

LPRR: Philippines case study policy recommendations

In 2009, typhoon Ketsana hit the Philippines. Metro Manila was faced with a rapid onset flood from the typhoon rains and flooding of the Marikina and Nangka rivers. 455 mm of rainwater fell in 24 hours, killing 747 people and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.  In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan hit the central part of the Philippines affecting 14.1 million people, killing 6000 people and destroying more than 1 million homes. Linking Preparedness Resilience and Response in Emergency Contexts (LPRR) is a START DEPP DFID-funded three-year, consortium-led project which is aimed at strengthening humanitarian programming for more resilient communities. For this paper the communities include those living in the two study site areas: Taytay and Mahayag. The consortium is led by Christian Aid and includes Action Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help Age, Kings College London, Muslim Aid, Oxfam, Saferworld and World Vision. The countries of focus include Kenya, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic Congo, Colombia, Indonesia and the Philippines and cover a multi-risk profile.

Research summary: better forecasting delivers impact

Since 2007, Rice Watch Action Network has been helping small-scale farmers adapt to a changing environment through the Climate Resiliency Field School. This is a summary of the impact assessment on developing climate services in the Philippines.

LPRR: action learning research

In order for productive learning to occur within the context of this project, monitoring practices must be robust and go beyond collecting data against indicators. This is especially important within a resilience context, as the pre-emptive baseline measurement that is usually used for measuring progress/success is not desirable here. Instead, an ‘outcome harvesting’ approach is more practical, as it does not measure progress towards predetermined outcomes or objectives, but rather collects evidence of what has been achieved, and works backward to determine whether and how the project or intervention contributed to the change. Within the LPRR project there is a need for rigorous evaluation, which balances accountability and learning. Given the ever-evolving evidence base of ‘what works under what conditions’ coupled with the need to demonstrate quality, impactful programming in both upwards and downwards accountability, these types of robust evaluations are essential. In order to ensure learning and accountability are achieved through evaluations, they must be well-planned and budgeted for. This is where the role of the learning strand comes in; by recognising that learning is essential at the outset, it enables it to be included within the design of the project.