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Syrian Civil Society: A closing door report

This report seeks to give a truer view of Syrian civil society, giving a voice to people who have often been mentioned only as a footnote to atrocities, as aid workers killed in a shelling, or vilified as terrorists in the narratives of the government and its allies. Since March 2011, Syria has experienced one of the bloodiest and cruellest conflicts of recent times. Hundreds of thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands more injured.  But while these grim figures have been repeated in the western media frequently, less often told is the story of the Syrians who did everything in their power to counter this.  Against the backdrop of conflict arose an active Syrian civil society – Syrians on the ground who, more often than not, had no previous experience in this sector. Syrians who came from a society whose government allowed no space for civil society to grow: and yet it did. But as civil society’s space is being squeezed worldwide, to grasp the potential for Syrian civil society we must act now. The door is already closing and it will slam shut, returning the country to the pre-2011 hostile environment where civil society groups faced being shut down and their members and volunteers risked being arrested or imprisoned if they were perceived to challenge the state. This report is an appeal and a challenge. Will the international community support the Syrians who recognise the difficulty of the task they face?

Cyclone Fani Appeal church presentation

A presentation to share with your church.

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.  

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.

Healthy Harvests: The benefits of sustainable agriculture in Africa and Asia

Smallholder farmers can improve agricultural productivity, food security and livelihoods by adopting sustainable approaches that utilise resource-conserving technologies and that draw upon their own knowledge.