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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.  

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.

Christian Aid Afghanistan Country Strategy 2014-2016

CAID’s programme in Afghanistan has been running for three decades under four regimes – from the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, which controlled the country during the Soviet invasion, to the current government voted in after the US-led intervention of 2001. Working with partners used to working in transitional and dangerous environments, Christian Aid is committed to delivering a long-term development programme in Afghanistan that addresses these issues by focusing on gender equity and building thriving, resilient livelihoods.

Christian Aid Afghanistan - working together for gender equality

CAID’s programme in Afghanistan has been running for nearly three decades under four regimes – from the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, which controlled the country during the Soviet invasion, to the current government that was voted in after the United States-led intervention of 2001. Today, our work in Afghanistan focuses on protecting human rights during conflicts, increasing food security, building the resilience of communities, and promoting the rights and empowerment of women. 

Africa rising? Inequalities and the essential role of fair taxation

Joint report with Tax Justice Network Africa (TJN-A) reveals Africa's much-touted growth is happening alongside worsening income inequality trends.

Christian Aid Colombia estrategia 2012-2017 (Spanish)

Christian Aid ha trabajado en Colombia desde 1980. Nuestra misión principal es exponer la violencia estructural y física y desafiar los sistemas que evitan el cumplimiento de los derechos humanos de todas y todos.