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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.

Christian Aid Philippines: Typhoon Mangkhut Response Experience

An assessement of Christian Aid's emergency response to Typhoon Mangkhut (local name Ompong), which made landfall in Baggao, Cagayan, Northern Luzon, Philippines, early morning on Saturday 15 September 2018, with maximum sustained winds of 205 km/hr near the centre and gusts of up to 285 km/hr.

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?  

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.

LPRR final evaluation report

The Linking Preparedness, Response and Resilience (LPRR) project, which is part of the DFID funded Disasters Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP), was carried out from 2015 to the end of March 2018. The project was delivered by a consortium led by Christian Aid, which included Action Aid, Concern, Help Age, King’s College London, Muslim Aid, Oxfam, Safer World, and World Vision. The LPRR project brings together the expertise of response and resilience professionals (and frameworks) in order to support communities affected by emergencies and at the risk of violence. The consortium was present through a research component in eight countries, namely Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Philippines, Colombia, Indonesia, with pilot projects in Kenya, Pakistan and Myanmar. The project was delivered through three distinct strands: conflict prevention, humanitarian response, and learning.

LPRR knowledge co-development paper

Co-production is a process through which partners draw upon their own learning to feed into a collective knowledge creation process. It fits well within international development, humanitarian and resilience-building processes, where the multi-partner nature of many current projects ensures there is a multiplicity of perspectives that can be drawn upon. It can also be democratic – where all forms of knowledge are valued – and so create ownership; work to find a balance between theory and practice and strengthen (and build) technical capacity and process Co-production was explicitly employed in the Linking Preparedness, Resilience and Response (LPRR) project, part of the DFID funded Disasters and Emergencies, Preparedness Programme (DEPP). It explored how humanitarian response can be strengthened to enable (and not undermine) long term community resilience building. Christian Aid (CA) led the project with seven consortium partners – World Vision, Action Aid, Help Age International, Concern, Oxfam and Muslim Aid. The project collaborated with King's College London (KCL) who led the research function. The purpose of this practice paper is three-fold: To explore the learning environment amongst consortium partners i.e. group learning and the tools and processes employed to facilitate this To detail the challenges and enablers of an implementing NGOs, Christian Aid and other consortium partners, co-producing knowledge with an academic institute, KCL; and To assess how the project helped to build capacity amongst relevant agencies – including in-country partners.

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.

LPRR: Empowering communities to lead humanitarian response

The DFID DEPP funded LPRR consortium is led by Christian Aid and includes Action Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help Age, King’s College London, Muslim Aid, Oxfam, Saferworld and World Vision. It aims to increase preparedness and resilience capacity in conflict and response settings. As part of the project, King’s College London University designed and implemented a study in Bangladesh, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan and the Philippines. It was one of the rare approaches which specifically asked 327 crises survivors and first responders from past humanitarian emergencies to draw upon their own experience and expertise to guide improved humanitarian response programming for long term resilience.

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.

Developing climate services in the Philippines - Prog. Review Summary

A summary of an impact assessment carried out in the Philippines, on Christian Aid’s partner Rice Watch Action Network's programme to help small-scale farmers adapt to a changing environment through an approach called the Climate Resiliency Field School.

Evaluation of Christian Aid’s DEC Typhoon Haiyan Rehabilitation and Resilience Building Programme

An external evaluation of Christian Aid's DEC-supported response to Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines. Assessing achievements, outcomes and lessons for future emergency responses.

Developing Climate services in the Phillipines: programme review

A review of the Rice Watch Action Network's Climate Resiliency Field School (CrFS) - a season-long training programme with a focus on sustainable farm training, including increased access to weather and climate forecasts.

LPRR: briefing note

The Linking Preparedness Response and Resilience (LPRR) project is part of a growing portfolio of Start Network Engage projects funded by UK aid from the UK Government, through its Disaster and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP). LPRR, started in January 2015, will run until the end of December 2017. It seeks to increase preparedness and resilience capacity in conflict and response settings by improving resilience-building strategies in multi-hazard and multi-risk environments. Led by Christian Aid, LPRR joins together nine agencies (Action Aid, Christian Aid, Concern, Help Age, King’s College London, Muslim Aid, Oxfam, Saferworld and World Vision) to promote resilience in humanitarian responses to disasters and conflict contexts.

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.