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Fair and equitable research partnerships case study: Tom Kariuki

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 Tom Kariuki of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS). Tom describes the vision of the AAS and the evolution of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), an agenda-setting and funding platform. He reflects on the impact of shifting the centre of gravity for African science to Africa, issues of trust which limit funders’ interest in devolving fund management to African organisations, and the importance of investing in institutional capacity to enable sustainable research leadership in Africa.

New pathways out of poverty in Africa: sustainable agriculture

A Christian Aid and CAFOD policy paper investigating how agricultural transformation has become a development priority for African governments and the international development community. It is commonly understood as a shift from ‘low’ productivity subsistence agriculture to more commercially-oriented production. This shift is seen as the first step away from the continent’s continued dependence on raw commodity exports, and towards diversified and domestically integrated economies that provide sufficient employment opportunities to the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population.   This is to be welcomed. However, this report highlights the risk that agricultural transformation strategies already underway in some African countries could increase inequality and further degrade the environment. To prevent this from happening agriculture transformation strategies need to: integrate actions that will build the resilience of producer households and wider ecosystems to climate and economic shocks, instead of focusing predominantly on increasing the productivity of smallholders link smallholder producers to the wider domestic economy.  CAFOD and Christian Aid programmes that support small agro-enterprise development, climate resilience building and inclusive agricultural market development include deliberate actions to ensure equitable and environmentally sustainable outcomes. To further promote the integration of these principles in the design and implementation of government policies, we have initiated an on-going dialogue with our partner organisations in Africa to determine how agricultural transformation policies in their own countries can contribute to more equitable and sustainable development.

Research methodology: guide to process tracing and realist evaluation

Process tracing was first trialled as a new approach within a series of theory-based evaluations of Christian Aid’s governance portfolio in 2015. The aim was specifically to understand and evidence how Christian Aid and its partners’ accountability practices were contributing to building more (downwardly) accountable relationships more broadly in the context of Bangladesh. The evaluation team added elements of realist evaluation to their evaluation design, in order to allow for greater flexibility of the methodology and ‘user-friendliness’ of the findings. ‘Flexibility’ because selection of methodology in this case preceded the final agreement on evaluation questions, and combining the two different methodologies would provide more room for the evaluators to adapt and tailor the approach based on the eventually defined questions; greater ‘user-friendliness’ due to realist evaluation’s focus on potentially more actionable ‘what works where for whom?’ questions that would complement the more theoretical ‘tracing’ of competing explanations through process tracing.  This guide focusses primarily on the steps necessary to conduct process tracing but includes a brief section on how and where to combine this with realist evaluation. There is a list of selected references at the end of the document for those interested in further reading. Related research Bangladesh: accountable governance - a theory-based approach (process tracing)