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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.  

Keeping the SDGs on track

Detailing how the three basic SDG principles can be put into practice by improving accountability mechanisms under the High Level Political Forum .

Research brokers in fair and equitable research partnerships

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 module 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. It is aimed at research brokers, organisations that facilitate research partnerships by playing a brokering, technical support or capacity development role. It asks what research brokers bring to research partnerships and describes challenges they commonly encounter. It goes on to provide a checklist of questions for research brokers to ask at each stage of a research process, two tools that they will find useful for reflection, and short summaries of other useful publications.

Funders in fair and equitable research partnerships

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 module 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. It is aimed at research funders, in particular on the bodies that make up UK Research and Innovation, and specifically their remits under the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Newton Fund. It asks what funders bring to research partnerships and describes challenges they commonly encounter. It goes on to provide a checklist of questions for funders to ask at each stage of a research process, two tools that they will find useful for reflection, and short summaries of other useful publications.

UK-based academics in fair and equitable research partnerships

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 module 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. It is aimed at UK-based academics, those working in research roles in a university or higher education institute. It asks what UK-based academics bring to international development research partnerships and describes challenges they commonly encounter. It goes on to provide a checklist of questions for UK-based academics to ask at each stage of a research process, two tools that they will find useful for reflection, and short summaries of other useful publications.

Southern academics in fair and equitable research partnerships

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 module 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. It is aimed at academics based in universities in the global South. It asks what academics based in the global South bring to research partnerships and describes challenges they commonly encounter. It goes on to provide a checklist of questions for academics based in the global South to ask at each stage of a research process, two tools that they will find useful for reflection, and short summaries of other useful publications.

Southern CSOs in fair and equitable research partnerships

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 module 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. It is aimed CSOs in the global South with a development focus, which may be expressed in terms of poverty alleviation or human rights. It asks what CSOs in the global South bring to research partnerships and describes challenges they commonly encounter. It goes on to provide a checklist of questions for Southern CSOs to ask at each stage of a research process, two tools that they will find useful for reflection, and short summaries of other useful publications.

International NGOs in fair and equitable research partnerships

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 module 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. It is aimed at international NGOs, non-profit organisations performing a variety of service, humanitarian and advocacy functions, across multiple countries in a global context. It asks what international NGOs bring to research partnerships and describes challenges they commonly encounter. It goes on to provide a checklist of questions for international NGOs to ask at each stage of a research process, two tools that they will find useful for reflection, and short summaries of other useful publications.

Introduction to fair and equitable research partnerships

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 introduction is the first in 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. It describes what fair and equitable research partnerships are and why they are important, before introducing eight principles for working towards this kind of partnership. It goes on to outline the structure of the six modules in the resource set of resources and suggest guidance for their use. 

Fair and equitable research partnerships case study: RRC

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. It explores insights from the Rethinking Research Collaborative (RRC), an informal network of academics, civil society practitioners, international NGOs and research support providers from the UK and many other countries who are committed to improving research in response to global challenges. It presents reflections on the strengths and challenges of the RRC's efforts to model a fair and equitable research partnership in the research that forms the foundation of this set of resources. It is structured around the eight principles for fair and equitable partnership identified by the RRC, and is therefore a retrospective reflection on applying these principles in practice.

Humanitarian inclusion standards

The humanitarian inclusion standards for older people and people with disabilities were developed by the Age and Disability Capacity Programme (ADCAP), an initiative of the Age and Disability Consortium. These standards provide practitioners and organisations with clear actions that can be taken to protect, support and engage older people and people with disabilities and help us all realise these commitments. They provide guidance to identify and overcome barriers to participation and access in diverse contexts, and at all stages of the humanitarian programme cycle.

Humanitarian inclusion standards (Arabic)

The humanitarian inclusion standards for older people and people with disabilities were developed by the Age and Disability Capacity Programme (ADCAP), an initiative of the Age and Disability Consortium. These standards provide practitioners and organisations with clear actions that can be taken to protect, support and engage older people and people with disabilities and help us all realise these commitments. They provide guidance to identify and overcome barriers to participation and access in diverse contexts, and at all stages of the humanitarian programme cycle.

Humanitarian inclusion standards (French)

The humanitarian inclusion standards for older people and people with disabilities were developed by the Age and Disability Capacity Programme (ADCAP), an initiative of the Age and Disability Consortium. These standards provide practitioners and organisations with clear actions that can be taken to protect, support and engage older people and people with disabilities and help us all realise these commitments. They provide guidance to identify and overcome barriers to participation and access in diverse contexts, and at all stages of the humanitarian programme cycle.

Good practice guide

This good practice guide has been developed as part of the Age and Disability Capacity Programme (ADCAP), an initiative of the Age and Disability Consortium. This guide shares good practices and challenges that have emerged through the experience of the Age and Disability Capacity Programme (ADCAP) implementing partners, in embedding inclusion of older people and people with disabilities within their humanitarian policies and practices.

Rethinking research partnerships: discussion guide and toolkit

This discussion guide and toolkit provides ideas and approaches to enable you to think through your research partnerships; to encourage you to critically engage with issues such as the roles different actors play in partnership; and what types of evidence are valued, used and produced. We intend that it will open up space for more voices, perspectives and knowledge to inform research design, implementation and communication. Christian Aid co-led with the Open University on the production of this resource, drawing from a seminar series that brought together academics and NGO staff to reflect on their experiences of research partnerships. This consortium engaged with questions of participation and the politics of evidence in academic-NGO research partnerships. It was funded by the ESRC and this publication is one of the outputs of the series. We don’t expect you to work your way through the guide, but to dip in and out, using the sections that seem relevant and useful to you. It includes some discussion, insights from that emerged from participants in the consortium / seminar series and participatory tools. Please do get in touch with our research, evidence and learning team if you have questions, suggestions or would like to share how you have used the material.

Working effectively with faith leaders - harmful traditional practices

In 2016, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for International Development released a call for proposals for a study entitled “Working effectively with faith leaders to challenge harmful traditional practices.” A Consortium of the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities, an international alliance examining the contribution of faith groups to community health and wellbeing, undertook this study to investigate best practices around engaging with faith leaders on harmful traditional practices (HTPs). This study is currently on-going and will continue until 2018.

Voice to the people: research summary

This paper shares findings from a review of Christian Aid’s work using communications for development (C4D) approaches to strengthen the voice of programme participants and aid recipients in programme learning and communications. It draws on documentation and interviews with Christian Aid staff and consultants involved in the work, as well as some research with other development organisations, to explore how C4D can be more integrated into Christian Aid’s work to promote more direct communications from programmes.

Christian Aid gender strategy: just and equitable power relations

Our 2017 gender strategy reaffirms and renews our commitment to prioritising gender justice, especially for women and girls, throughout the organisation and in our work.  Our vision is to end poverty, and in our corporate strategy 'Partnership for Change', we identify three main goals which will help us to achieve this: Ensure just power relations Ensure equity and sustainability Ensure resilient and thriving societies Gender injustice is rooted in unequal power relations and the most pervasive gender inequality is between women and men. Gender injustice violates human rights, constrains choice and agency and negatively impacts upon people’s ability to participate in, contribute to and benefit from development and humanitarian relief. Unless we can help create just and equitable relationships between women and men of all ages and diversities, we will be unable to achieve equitable, sustainable, resilient and thriving societies. Gender justice is, therefore, at the heart of Christian Aid’s work. We also recognise that inequalities intersect and create complex disadvantages that compound gender injustice and poverty. We therefore take an inclusive and intersectional approach that enables us to address how inequalities, such as sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, class, religion, caste and disability, intersect with gender inequality and perpetuate poverty.