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Simmons and Simmons

Simmons and Simmons partnering for a fairer and more just world

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.  

Developing skills for life and making connections in Ghana

In this final update from our EU funded GEOP programme in Ghana, we discover how young men and women are gaining technical, business and leadership skills and are using their collective voice to create better working environments. 

Stories of change: case studies from GEOP Ghana, April 2019

Stories of change from Ghana, where our EU-funded GEOP project is helping people with disabilities access training, get jobs and set up their own businesses.  Project background Growing Economic Opportunities for Sustainable Development project (GEOP) is a three-year, EU-funded project that aims to foster strong partnerships between civil society and local authorities, to promote local job creation, revenue mobilisation and expansion of economic activities. The project is implemented in the Ellembelle District, Western Region, and Ayawaso East Municipal Assembly and Ablekuma South sub-metros of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Ghana. Find out more about GEOP here.

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.