Linking research, policy and practice
Whether viewed from the perspective of development organizations and funders, or the ultimate beneficiaries of such programmes, investing in a strong knowledge base is critical in achieving development impact. A core part of this is ensuring that all policy decisions and actions have a sound empirical basis.
In practice, however, building sufficient capacity to access, adapt and utilize evidence-based research is quite a difficult undertaking. It requires investing both in core research and analytical capabilities (the evidence base) for effective development action, as well as a range of crucial, but often neglected, capacities that are needed to drive the research message home. These include how to: identify and understand the key stakeholders in the policymaking process; adapt to the dynamics of the political debate; get the timing right in disseminating research results; and communicate in a language that policymakers and practitioners can understand.
This document from Michigan State University contains an overview of the past 25 years of research, capacity-building, and outreach by the university's Food Security Group (FSG). The paper describes key elements of the FSG approach and examines the insights gained from research and outreach, primarily in Africa, and their value to the U.S. Feed the Future Initiative in addressing the major current challenges facing food and agricultural systems.More
06 June 2013
Development actors are increasingly prioritising ‘investing in women’ to ensure food security and sustainability—as well as equity—in agricultural development. In this context, collective action is a critical but poorly understood way for women small-scale farmers to strengthen their engagement in agricultural markets.More
04 June 2013
It is difficult to predict changes in market systems, even after thorough market analysis and strategic planning. This presents particular challenges for donors and practitioners in assessing the impact of their development interventions. Monitoring and Measuring Change in Market Systems - Rethinking the Current Paradigm synthesizes the outcome of diverse consultations facilitated by USAID's SEEP Network between 2010 and 2012. The aim was to support practitioners to develop more effective monitoring and evaluation frameworks for both market and financial systems.More
13 May 2013
One of the main challenges countries face in effectively targeting social safety net programmes is correctly identifying the poorest households. This January 2013 Brief highlights a study by MIT's Poverty Action Lab that compared community-based methods of selecting who qualifies for a cash transfer programme with proxy means tests. The study found that while participatory methods were less accurate overall, they greatly improved local satisfaction and better matched the poor’s own concept of poverty.More
25 April 2013
Drawing on a district-level planning process in Thailand that aimed to mainstream climate change into local development plans, the authors of this paper argue that the current process of ‘ predict-then-act’ climate change adaptation is inherently flawed. The uncertain nature of climate change predictions can lead to dilemmas in selecting proper measures, whilst the long timeframes involved hinders investment and distances stakeholders’ priorities. Furthermore, this sequential process often overlooks the role of socioeconomic dynamics in changing countries' risk profiles over time.More
25 April 2013
This series of interviews conducted under the auspices of a USAID-supported market facilitation initiative is available for download. The podcasts explore the recognition that development takes place in a dynamic, complex system and the resulting consequences for monitoring and evaluation frameworks. The three interviewees - David Snowden, Shamim Bodhanya and Jeanne Downing - provide insights from research as well as practice.More
24 April 2013
This white paper summarizes the lessons learnt from across cases, projects and research experiments in effectively developing and providing climate information and advisory services for smallholder farmers. The case studies were presented at an international workshop in Senegal in December 2012, co-organized by CGIAR's Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and its partners. The workshop discussions focused on two projects that are attempting to reaching farmers at scale: Integrated Agrometeorological Advisory Services (IAAS) in India (which recently announced in 2012 plans to scale up to 10-12 million farmers) and Mali’s Projet d’A ssistance Agrometeorologique au Monde Rural (which has provided innovative services to farmers since 1982).More
Research, Policy and Practice, Capacity.org Issue 35 (December 2008)
Simon Hearn and Nancy White (2009) Communities of practice: linking knowledge, policy and practice, Overseas Development Institute
Innovations for Scaling Impact (iScale)
iScale is a global network of expert practitioners, action researchers and thought leaders committed to developing, promoting, applying, and sharing social change innovations to scale the impact of efforts to address the world’s most pressing challenges. iScale engages in this work through a combination of action-learning projects and field-building activities in five programme areas: Peace + Security; Governance + Transparency; Environment + Climate; Health + Education + Livelihoods; and Business + Markets.