COMPARATIVE STUDY FOR THE REPORT ON THE STATUS OF PASTORALISM PROJECT COMMISSIONED BY: OXFAM GB
CONSULTANT: Amrik Heyer 2006
Acknowledgements I would particularly like to thank Sarah Gibbons, Kemal Mustapha, Professor Vigdis Broch-Due and Tom Wolf for their useful insights into this report.
ADB AHDR CBS CDD-Ghana CEE CGB CR DANIDA DFID EA EPAG FGD GDG GoK HDI HDP HDR HH IDASA IDS IDT ILO ILRI INGO ITDG M&E MoP&ND MSU Dutch Norway NGO NSF 0PDC OIDC OWDA PA PARU PEC PSI RBA RPK SDWG SID SIDA SL UNDP USAID WB The African Development Bank Arctic Human Development Report Central Bureau of Statistics (Kenya) Center for Democratic Development, Ghana Central and Eastern European Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Comic Relief Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department For International Development East Africa Emergency Pastoralists Assistance Group Focus Group Discussion Gudigga Dhaganka Gurtida (Somali Council of Elders) Government of Kenya Human Development Index Human Development Paradigm Human Development Report Household The Institute for Democracy in South Africa Institute of Development Studies International Development Targets International Labour Office International Livestock Research Institute International Non Governmental Organisation International Technology Development Group Monitoring and Evaluation Ministry of Planning and National Development (Kenya) Michigan State University The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs Norwegian Agency for International Development Non Governmental Organisation The National Science Foundation, US Oromia Pastoralist Development Commission Oxford International Development Centre Ogaden Welfare Development Association Participatory Assessment Poverty Analysis Research Unit Poverty Eradication Commission Pastoralists Special Initiative Rights Based Approaches Resource Projects Kenya Sustainable Development Working Group (Arctic Council) Society for International Development Swedish International Development Agency Sustainable Livelihoods United Nations Development Programme The United States Agency for International Development The World Bank
CONTENTS Acknowledgements Glossary Contents Executive Summary 1. Introduction 1.1 Background 1.2 Purpose of the Assignment 1.3 Report Summaries 1.3 Structure of the Report 2. Research Context: Aims, Agendas, Concepts and definitions 2.1 Introduction 2.2 Aims and Agendas 2.3 Defining the area of research 2.4 Framing Research 2.5 Conclusions 3. Implementing Policy-relevant Research 3.1 Introduction 3.2 Addressing Knowledge gaps 3.3 Comparability: breadth vs depth 3.4 Understanding long-term trends 3.5 Conclusions 4. Institutionalising Evidence-based Policymaking 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Ownership 4.3 Sustainability 4.4 Credibility 4.5 Accessibility 4.6 Conclusions 5. Strengthening Policy Influences 5.1 Introduction 5.2 Stakeholder Sensitization 5.3 Local Voice 5.4 Conclusions 6. Lessons Learned for ROSP Annexes Annex 1: Bibliography Annex 2: Report Summaries Annex 3: Qualifying comments on quantitative surveys Tables Table 1: Report Summaries Table 2: Aims and Agendas Table 3: Organisational Profile Table 4: Dissemination Avenues Table 5: Lessons learned
Executive Summary 1. Introduction The Report on the Status of Pastoralism (ROSP) is an Oxfam GB initiative, designed to improve the quality and accessibility of information on pastoral communities and their livelihoods in the HECA region. The current study has been commissioned to develop a series of ‘lessons learned’ from key research initiatives on poverty and/or marginalized communities, to inform the next stage of the ROSP process. The report begins by locating each report’s research aims and agendas in relation to those of the ROSP, and looking at the ways in which these have informed conceptual frameworks and the defining of research areas. Sections 3, 4 & 5 discuss the research initiatives in relation to three primary agendas: implementing policy relevant research, institutionalising evidence-based policymaking and strengthening policy influence. The report concludes by summarising the discussion and presenting lessons learned for ROSP. The following reports and projects were analysed in this study: Young Lives Project ; DFID/Save the Children, 2001 (ongoing research project) Avoiding the Dependency Trap: Roma in Central and Eastern Europe, 2002 (report) Arctic Human Development Report, 2002-4 (report) Kenya Human Development Report, 2001 (report) Geographic Dimensions of Well-being in Kenya: Where are the poor? From districts to locations, 2003; Who and where are the poor? A constituency level profile, 2005 (Poverty mapping) Afrobarometer, 1999 (ongoing research project) Vulnerable Livelihoods in Somali Region, Ethiopia; IDS Research Report 57, 2006 (report) Pastoralists Special Initiative Research Project; Comic Relief & Partners, 2005 (research project ) 2. Research context: aims, agendas, concepts and definitions Unlike some of the other research initiatives examined, the ROSP does not aim to focus on commissioning primary research from the onset. Instead it aims to play a facilitating role, strengthening direct and indirect links between research and policy, and ultimately enhancing policy effectiveness. In other respects, the overall aims and agendas of the various reports analysed have much in common with those of the ROSP and can thus usefully inform the ROSP project. In defining the research area, most reports were concerned to highlight dynamics of marginalisation for specific groups or areas. Whereas population-based definitions can have high advocacy potential, geographic definitions may enable researchers to better capture the dynamics leading to marginalisation, which crucially include relationships between groups. All the reports (with the possible exception of the KHDRs) have, in various ways, expanded international conceptual frameworks such as the Human Development Framework and Sustainable Livelihoods, to better capture dynamics of marginalization, vulnerability and poverty including: • redefining international targets to highlight particular areas of marginalization as opposed to general poverty (Roma) • interrogating international targets and definitions to make these more appropriate for non-conventional dynamics and value systems (AHDR) • broadening definitions of poverty in relation to specific population groups • developing frameworks for analysing the affects of policy on poverty dynamics (YL)
understanding political and social roots of vulnerability as well as economic causes (SR, Afrobarometer) providing a geographically disaggregated analysis of poverty trends (PSI, Poverty Maps).
3. Implementing policy relevant research The section examines the uselfulness of different research methodologies for achieving the overall aims of the projects. These aims include addressing knowledge gaps, producing comparable statistics for targeting policy and trend analysis. In relation to addressing knowledge gaps, benchmark studies are useful for: • Profiling a particular area, issue or population group. • Consolidating existing research or undertaking new research to identify policy issues. • Assessing the extent and quality of available information and highlighting knowledge gaps to inform future research. Comparative studies are helpful for mapping broad trends and highlighting particular areas of vulnerability in relation to normative standards. This is useful for policy targeting and advocacy as it highlights difference between various groups or areas. However they may not be so useful for the substance of policy formation, where in-depth context-specific research is more valuable. In relation to the latter, qualitative methods may be more appropriate than quantitative methods, for illuminating policy-relevant dynamics. For trend analysis longitudinal studies fulfil two main agendas: • monitoring and tracking the effects of policy change • analyses of long-term trends and the evaluation of policy (and other) influences on local dynamics. While the latter may be better undertaken through qualitative research, quantitative survey methodologies are often more suitable for monitoring the effects of policy change. 4. Institutionalising Evidence-based Policymaking To help generate substantial policy impacts from research, institutional roles need to established so as to: • Foster user-ownership, through user-involvement in design, set-up, coordination, implementation and funding. • Foster sustainability through long-term links between research institutions and policy forums, which attract financial resources for policy-relevant research without compromising the primacy of local policy agendas. • Ensure credibility by grounding the implementation of research in high-quality academic institutions, while continuing to sustain links between these and policy forums • Strengthen accessibility of research through institutionalising user-friendly dissemination channels which ensure messages are delivered to policy-users in an appropriate and accessible manner A lesson which emerged from this analysis is the need to balance institutional involvement so that the strengths of different types of institutions are maximized. Of particular importance is linking the intellectual contribution of high quality research institutions, with the political clout of formal policy actors and the advocacy and dissemination role of civil society organisations. 5. Strengthening policy influences
Where formal policy arenas are weak or distorted policy impacts will be weakened. It is therefore necessary to involve a wide range of policy influencers in research exercises (including civil society organizations, the general public, and research populations themselves). Actions which interest and involve wider stakeholders include advocacy, networking and consultation forums as well as using imaginative and accessible dissemination avenues. In relation to the latter, interactive websites have many advantages, including being able to disseminate a range of materials and products in a manner which is easily accessible to a range of audiences. Setting up research in such a way as to enable research populations to control and use information about them, can be significant to policy impacts. This can be fostered through consultation and dissemination, but also needs to include a more proactive dimension involving research subjects in the production of research. 6. Lessons Learned for the ROSP 1. Defining the area of study geographically could, have similar advocacy mileage to a population definition. This is particularly the case in Northern Kenya. 2. A benchmark study consolidating existing material, is a useful way to set-up policyrelevant research processes, through, identifying knowledge gaps, and policy issues. 3. Developing links between policy forums, research institutions and donors should focus on sensitising them to appropriate institutional roles, as well as identifyappropriate methods and frameworks which will produce policy-relevant research. 4. Creating a well-marketed, interactive product such as a website, as well as having a high-profile research survey, would be a good way to involve a wide-range of stakeholders in research on pastoralism. 5. Exploring creative ways to engage local populations in the production and dissemination of knowledge would strengthen local voice and could enhance policy impacts on poverty and marginalisation.
INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background The Report on the Status of Pastoralism (ROSP) is an Oxfam GB initiative, designed to improve the quality and accessibility of information on pastoral communities and their livelihoods in the Horn and East Africa region. Current barriers to the accessibility and quality of information include: Data Production: inappropriate methodologies and frameworks for capturing the specificities of pastoralist dynamics in policy-oriented information systems. Dissemination: unimaginative dissemination channels which fail to target relevant user groups and a lack of communication between policy forums and research initiatives. Institutionalisation: lack of ownership and involvement in research exercises by users and subjects of research, leading to unsustainabe data collection processes and limited relevance of information produced. ROSP seeks to address these shortcomings by making available time-series, comparative data across four countries in the region (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), to provide an authoritative analysis of the trends and processes affecting pastoral livelihood systems. It will also work to bring together key lessons and best practice examples from currently disparate research processes. It is hoped that a combination of quantitative and qualitative data will provide a detailed analysis of the changes affecting pastoral systems and the processes underlying these trends. ROSP seeks to be a collaborative venture, working with a range of governmental and nongovernmental partners, building networks and encouraging active sharing of information and learning. Within this it aims to build upon the processes and systems currently in place for data collection, analysis and research, providing institutional support and capacity building where necessary. 1.2 Purpose of the Assignment The current study has been commissioned to develop a series of ‘lessons learned’ from key reports/data collection processes on poverty and/or marginalized communities such as pastoralists, to inform the next stage of the ROSP process. The reports were examined in relation to four main questions: • How were the conceptual and analytical frameworks, and the data production methods chosen and how effective were these in capturing the information required? • To what extent did the institutionalization of the research process achieve sustainability and local ownership? • How effective were dissemination channels in reaching target audiences and achieving desired impacts? • • What are the lessons learned for the ROSP process, in relation to the production, dissemination and institutionalization of high quality data on pastoralism? In particular, what lessons do the reports offer for impacting on policy and poverty reduction processes? The reports/surveys selected for the assignment were chosen due to their aims and objectives and their similarities with ROSP agendas. With this in mind the following reports and studies were chosen: Young Lives; DFID/Save the Children, 2001 (ongoing)
Avoiding the Dependency Trap: Roma in Central and Eastern Europe, 2002 Arctic Human Development Report, 2002-4 Kenya Human Development Report, 2001 Geographic Dimensions of Well-being in Kenya: Where are the poor? From districts to locations, 2003; Who and where are the poor? A constituency level profile, 2005 Afrobarometer, 1999 (ongoing) Vulnerable Livelihoods in Somali Region, Ethiopia; IDS Research Report 57, 2006 Pastoralists Special Initiative Research Project; Comic Relief & Partners, 2005 The reports were then examined to determine the ways in which the aims and objectives have informed research frameworks and processes, including: • Data collection processes: ways of selecting and defining population groups; development of appropriate conceptual frameworks; duration and scope of research process (longitudinal vs status reports); data collection methodologies (quantitative vs qualitative), • Dissemination processes: ways to capture the interest of key stakeholders including the general public • Institutionalisation of research process: ways to forge links between research and policy, enable long-term sustainability, and foster local ownership & capacity building 1.3 Report Summaries The reports/surveys were analysed to determine the ways in which their initial aims and contexts shaped processes of data collection, dissemination and institutionalisation. Specific characteristics of the reports are summarized in Table 1 below, and are discussed further in subsequent sections. For a fuller summary, see Annex 2.
Table 1: Summary of Research Processes
Core Instit. Young Lives (Status: longitudinal: 15 years ongoing) Area Global (4 country sites) Population: children under 18 SC-UK Local RIs DFID OIDC Aims Monitor progress towards achieving IDTs among children Objectives • Understand how key policies affect child poverty • Influence policy • Produce long-term, comparative data to track effects of policy change • Create replicable, low cost methodology for comparative research • Sensitise stakeholders to child poverty issues • Provide regionally comparative statistical data to inform policy • Create a replicable set of guidelines to facilitate integration of vulnerable groups • Provide a comprehensive knowledge base for the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Programme Conceptual Framework Poverty & Livelihoods analysis Policy Analysis Methods • Primary Survey • Community context analysis • Thematic studies Target Audiences Policy Makers (Nat. & Internat.) General Public Researchers Consultation forums Public Archive Dissemination Website Reports Publicity (leaflet, photo exhibition, newsletter etc.) Institutional framework Funds: DFID Coord & Design: DFID, SC-UK, OIDC Research/Analysis: National Research Institutions, and local SC offices Advisory: Country and International Advisory Panels of key stakeholders
Roma HDR (Status: 2001-2002 One-off) Area CEE Population Roma Arctic HDR (Status: 20022004 One-off) Area Arctic Region Population Total in defined area
Improve integration of vulnerable groups, especially Roma peoples. Inform the SDWG on human dpt in the Arctic
• Primary Survey • Document review
Policy Makers (Nat. & Internat.) Academics
Regional Report National reports Website
Funds, design & Research/Analysis: UNDP/ILO Advisory: consultation with key stakeholders including policy makers Funds, Design & Coord: - Arctic Council (Govs of Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Norway) -Civil Society (Saami Council) - Universities & Research institutes Research/Analysis: Academics
Arctic Council (govts)
• Secondary document Analysis (reports books, articles)
Civil Society Policy Makers
Table 1: Summary of Research Processes cont/….
Core Instit. UNDP IDS – Uni of NBO Aims Promote HD & people-centred approach to national policy making in Kenya Objectives • Provide information for policy planning and programming. • Institutionalise HDcentred information systems Concept Framework HDI Methods • Secondary Analysis of CBS Census & Surveys • Primary participatory research Income Poverty line measures: Disaggreg (provincial, district, location & constituency levels) • Primary Survey • Secondary Analysis of CBS Census & Surveys Policy Makers Poverty Maps/ Reports Target Audiences Policy Makers Dissemination Yearly Reports Institutional framework Funds, Design & Coord: UNDP Research/Analysis: UNDP, IDS, CBS (MoP&ND, GoK)
Kenya HDRs (Status: longitudinal: 2001 ongoing) Area: National (Kenya) Population: Total Adult Kenya Poverty Maps (Status: longitudinal: 2003 ongoing) Area: National (Kenya) Population: Total Adult
WB ILRI CBS
Institut-ionalise an M&E system for effective monitoring & targeting of poverty programmes In Kenya
• Build time series benchmarks for poverty measurement • Inform a pro-poor economic recovery policy agenda • Enable effective targeting & M&E of decentralized budget allocation • Collect views of citizens on governance and economy • Provide a baseline for comparison overtime • Feed into policy process • Inform voting-age adults in Africa
Funds: World Bank, ILRI, (SIDA, DFID, GTZ, Rockefeller) Design and Coord: WB, CBS, ILRI Research/Analysis CBS (MoP&ND, GoK), ILRI, University of Nairobi, PEC, PARU, SID
Afrobarometer (Status: longitudinal: 1999 ongoing) Area: Continental (Africa, 18 countries) Population: Total Adult
MSU, IDASA, CDD
Improve governance structures and processes in Africa
Governance and Democracy Frameworks
Voting age adults in Africa Policy Makers Researchers
Website Press releases & Briefing Papers (<46) Working Papers Books (3) Data Archive
Funds: NSF, SIDA, Dutch, USAID, WB, CGB, Trocaire, MSU, ADB, DFID, DANIDA, Norway Design, Coord, Analysis IDASA (SA),CDD (Ghana), MSU Advisory: International scholars
Table 1: Summary of Research Processes cont/….
Core Instit. IDS Sussex UNOCHA –PCI Aims Contribute to more informed debate and improved policy-making for Somali Region Objectives • Investigate causes and consequences of livelihood vulnerability in SR • Improve understandings of livelihood vulnerability among local populations, federal government & international agencies • Enhance understanding of key trends likely to affect pastoralist ways of life over the next 10 – 15 yrs • Enable pastoralist communities to make better informed decisions • Feed into GoK and Development Partners (Donors and NGOs) policy and planning Concept Framework Livelihoods / Vulnerability Sociopolitical change Methods • Primary HH Survey • Primary qualitative research • Primary Trade & Marketing Survey Adapted Livelihoods Systems sustainability & trends Voices of pastoralists • Primary qualitative research • Stakeholder interviews (national) • Document review (general) Target Audiences Local populations Policy Makers NGOs & Donors Researchers Dissemination (Ongoing) Research Report Workshops of initial findings (Local, National & International) Institutional framework Funds: DFID Design and Coord, research and analysis: UNOCHA-PCI IDS: Sussex Advisory: GoE, GDG, District & Municipal Administrations, OPDC, SC UK, Hope for the Horn, OWDA Funding: Comic Relief Coordination: Comic Relief, Oxfam GB, ITDGEA, RPK, EPAG Design & Analysis: Acacia Consultants Research: Oxfam GB, ITDG-EA, RPK, EPAG
Vulnerable Livelihoods in Somali Region (Status: 20042006 One-off) Area: State (Somali Region, Ethiopia) Population: Total: Random Sample PSI (Status: 2005: One-off ) Area: Country (Kenya) Population: Pastoralists
Comic Relief Oxfam GB
To improve targeting of funds to ensure maximum poverty impact for pastoralists
NGOs Policy Makers Local Populations Donors
Research Report Workshops (National & District)
1.4 Structure of the Report The report begins by locating the research aims and agendas in relation to those of ROSP, and looking at the ways in which these have informed conceptual frameworks and definitions of research areas. Sections 3, 4 & 5 then discuss the research initiatives in relation to three primary agendas: implementing policy relevant research, institutionalizing evidence-based policymaking and strengthening policy influences. Lastly, the document summarises the discussion in the form of a series of lessons learned for ROSP arising from the analysis. 2. RESEARCH CONTEXT: AIMS, AGENDAS, CONCEPTS & DEFINITIONS 2.1 Introduction This section describes the aims of the different research initiatives in relation to those of the ROSP.. It goes on to analyse different ways of framing research and defining research areas, in the light of these overall aims and objectives. 2.2 Aims and Agendas The ROSP project was developed through Oxfam GB’s concerns to improve policy effectiveness for poverty reduction in pastoralist areas. To this end, ROSP aims to enhance the quality and accessibility of policy relevant research through the following objectives. To: • Produce and disseminate a benchmark assessment of existing research to identify key issues and knowledge gaps, and assess the extent of current data and research availability • Encourage policy-relevant research that illuminates long-term dynamics in a and regionally comparative manner; to identify trends, track changes, monitor progress, establish targets and better inform policy substance • Contribute to the institutionalisation of evidence-based policy-making in a manner which strengthens user-ownership, ensures credibility and accessibility of research and fosters sustainability • Strengthen policy influences through enhancing local voice, increasing stakeholder sensitivity and raising public awareness Like all the research initiatives examined for the present assignment, the ROSP ultimately aims to improve the well being of its target group by improving policy. Unlike other initiatives, ROSP does not seek to achieve this solely through undertaking or commissioning primary research. Instead it aims to play a facilitating role, strengthening local research and analysis capacity and improving the links between research and policy, thus ultimately enhancing policy effectiveness. The shared aim of improving the policy impacts of research, has led to many commonalities between the reports here analysed and the aims and agendas of ROSP. The Young Lives project arose from DFID and Save the Children’s concerns to monitor progress towards achieving IDTs, focusing on improved child well being. The project identified several shortcomings in current research on policy effects on child poverty (which are also of relevance to ROSP), as follows 1: Research is segmented (e.g. focused on health or education) Research is not well disaggregated (e.g. by gender, age, disability etc.) Changes in the situation of children are not well documented; instead we gain a snapshot view which does not capture improvements or deteriorations over time Quantitative and qualitative research are not well integrated (e.g. documenting school attendance, but not the extent to which children feel valued by their families “…issues
Young Lives Conceptual Framework
which children themselves say are important to them…”. Equally, small-scale studies, which capture this information, are too small scale to be a good basis for policy making.) Most research does not link the situation of children with broad national/international policies: recommendations often stop at development projects/programmes Research is not well disseminated; it often sits on library or office shelves but is not used
In tackling these issues, Young Lives was designed to address knowledge gaps on child poverty through undertaking primary, comparative, longitudinal research. It was also concerned to improve the policy relevance of research to enable national policy makers to better address international targets, including developing a low cost survey methodology, which would be replicable elsewhere. The project seeks to inform policy through extensive consultation and dissemination processes, as well as through raising stakeholder and public awareness on child poverty issues, thus also influencing policy indirectly. The Roma research 2 was initiated by the UNDP and ILO in the context of EU accession, where significant resources were suddenly made available to bring vulnerable groups suffering from poverty and marginalization, into the mainstream. The Roma report identifies similar policyresearch deficits to those of Young Lives. Despite the existence of extensive qualitative data on the Roma therefore, the policy aims of the project led researchers to develop a quantitative survey to obtain policy-relevant comparable statistics on Roma populations. It also aimed to contribute to the effectiveness of IDTs through developing a set of ‘core principles’, which can act as a practical guide for the assessment of vulnerable groups more generally. The Arctic Human Development Report was commissioned by the Arctic Council 3 to inform its newly established Sustainable Development Programme, which extends a previous focus on environmental concerns, to embrace social and livelihoods imperatives. Unlike Young Lives and the Roma reports, the research was not so much concerned with providing a comparative understanding to address international development agendas; rather, it was intended to inform a regional policy forum.. Instead of investing in an expensive quantitative survey therefore, leading academic experts were commissioned to undertake a ‘scientific assessment’ of existing (mainly qualitative) research, which would: provide an accessible overview of the state of human development in the Arctic that can be used as a benchmark for assessing progress in the future; identify critical gaps in knowledge and; provide a framework to help establish priorities for the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG). 4 Kenya HDRs and Poverty Maps are funded and designed by the UNDP and WB/ILRI respectively, in collaboration with the Central Bureau of Statistics and local research institutions (mainly government but also academic). While the Kenya HDRs are viewed as being ‘important tools for the promotion of the cause of HD and people-centred approach to national policymaking’ the Poverty Maps have been initiated to build:
2 3 4
Avoiding the Dependency Trap: Roma in Central and Eastern Europe The Arctic Council is made up of the governments of Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Norway) Arctic HDR
‘sustained time series benchmarks for poverty measurement in Kenya necessary for institutionalising an effective monitoring and evaluation system for the effective implementation and targeting of poverty programmes’. 5 Both are concerned to provide comparative data (in the case of the poverty maps, also longitudinal data), which will monitor and inform national policy in relation to international targets. Both are also centrally concerned to institutionalise policy-relevant research through capacity building and linking research institutions and policy forums. The Afrobarometer project aims to consolidate and understand democratic processes in Africa through conducting a longitudinal, comparative public opinion survey on perceptions of governance reforms and outcomes, and assessments of poverty and economic conditions which will feed directly into the policy process. “We seek to reach diverse audiences: decision-makers in government, policy advocates, donor agencies, journalists and academic researchers, as well as voting-age adults in Africa who wish to become informed and active citizens.” 6 Unlike other reports discussed so far, the research inspiration, design and implementation is grounded in academic institutions, most of which are local to the research area. The research is particularly concerned with enhancing the political capacity of electorates through improved information. . The Vulnerable Livelihoods in Somali Region report was initiated from IDS Sussex, as a response to a dearth of policy-relevant data on a particular area of Ethiopia, which has been marginalized by the state, mainly on ethnic grounds. “In this highly politicised context, this research study is an attempt to gather information and give voice to the people of Somali Region themselves, and to present this evidence to policy makers (community leaders, the regional and federal governments, international donors, and international and local NGOs) as an input to their strategizing and decision-making.” 7 Primary research in this case is geared to addressing national data gaps as well as providing a baseline through which to assess current and future policy impacts. Like the Afrobarometer, the research is concerned not only to inform formal policy, but also to enhance the political capacity of local populations through improved access to policy relevant information. The Pastoralists Special Initiative was commissioned “to enhance Comic Relief’s and partners’ knowledge and understanding of key trends and factors currently affecting and likely to affect the pastoralist way of life over the next 10 – 15 years, so that they are better able to target funding to ensure favourable outcomes and maximum poverty impact for pastoralists.” 8 It is thus primarily concerned with informing internal institutional policies, through primary research centred around the identification of long-term trends and local perceptions. Like the two projects described above, the PSI is also concerned to enhance local voice through the use of participatory methods and local dissemination.
Central Bureau of Statistics (2005) “Geographic Dimensions of Well-being in Kenya: Who and where are the poor? A constituency level profile”. www.afrobarometer.com 7 Devereux, 2006 8 Pastoralists Special Initiative, 2005
Table 2: Comparison of research initiatives in relation to ROSP aims
Aim Implement policy-relevant research 11 BenchLongitud- Comparative 9 10 mark inal ROSP Improve policies and practice in pastoralist areas Monitor progress towards achieving IDTs among children Improve integration of vulnerable groups, especially the Roma Inform development priorities for the SDWG Promote HD approach to national policy making Institutionalise M&E system for effective targeting of national poverty programmes Improve governance structures and processes in Africa Contribute to more informed policymaking for SR Improve efficacy of pastoralist programs for CR & partners √ X √ √ X √ √ √ X √ √ Approaches IMPACT ON POLICY Institute evidence-based policy making User Sustain- AccessCredownability ibility ibility ership √ √ √ √ √ X √ √ √ X √ X √ √ √ √ X √ X
Strengthen policy influences Local Stakeholder Public Voice sensitisation awareness √ √ √ X √ √ X
X √ X
X √ √ √
X √ X
√ X √
√ √ X
X √ √
Benchmark study provides a basis for future research and analysis. Longitudinal studies are those which seeks to monitor or track changes over time. They often use time series data or select indicators which can be measured at periodic stages through the research 11 Comparative studies seek to show difference between groups/areas within a society or country, or in some cases across a region.. They use common sets of indicators and analyses to allow comparison.
2.3 Defining the research area. Like the ROSP, many of the reports analysed were concerned with collecting information on specific population groups, often neglected or not well understood in policymaking circles. For example, Young Lives set out to collect data on children partly because children are particularly vulnerable to poverty, and partly because little is known about childhood poverty, especially about children aged 5 up to adolescence. The primary emphasis in such reports is on making more visible particular arenas of impoverishment for policy-making purposes. In this sense they address issues of rights and exclusion, as well as a more general poverty discourse. Reports that have opted to study particular population groups are able to highlight issues of marginalization for policy and advocacy purposes, but they have also had to grapple with the fact that population definitions evolve in the context of social and political processes, and do not have an ‘objective’ basis outside the agendas and perceptions of those who use them (including researchers). These reports underscore the necessity of locating chosen population definitions in relation to local socio-political dynamics as well as research agendas, so that research results can be interpreted accordingly. (Despite the fact that it uses a geographic area definition, the Arctic report, for example, contains a lengthy section deconstructing an ‘idea-scape’ about the Arctic and its peoples, which usefully delineates the social demography of the area.) The reports under discussion divide roughly between those in which the research is targeted on particular population group and those that target a specific geographic area. 12 Whereas the former may have more impact in advocacy terms and in highlighting the visibility of particular groups, the latter poses less definitional challenges and allows the research to capture a wider range of inter-group dynamics, which are germane to marginalization and impoverishment. Geographical definitions may also yield more information about the kinds of dynamics, which lead to the marginalization of particular populations on the basis of cultural identity (such as relationships between different groups living in the same area). Both have important policy impacts. Whilst the former may improve the visibility of a particular population in policy, the latter may better inform policy substance on issues affecting the well-being of the population concerned. For Young Lives, population definition was relatively unproblematic, as a juridical definition of children in terms of those who have not attained voting majority, was sufficiently able to capture the target population. The PSI report was concerned to identify changes and trends in pastoralist livelihoods among those who were no longer pursuing a pastoral livelihood as well as those who were still nomadic pastoralists. In this research context, a continued valuation of the pastoralist way of life by many pastoralist ‘drop outs’ (rich and poor), as well as a political association between pastoralism and specific ethnic identities, led the researchers to use a combination of self-identification in cultural terms, and geographic location (broadly reflecting ethnic boundaries). As opposed to relying on a livelihood definition therefore, the combination of self-identification and geographic targeting was thought adequate to capture the population group they wanted to understand, and neither include or exclude any group strictly on the basis of livelihood practice. The Roma report was concerned with the socio-political exclusion of a particular group and its consequent impoverishment. In this case, researchers grappled with a conundrum whereby ‘Roma’ has in many ways become synonymous with poverty and vice versa. People who might be considered to be ‘ethnically’ Roma therefore may well not identify themselves as Roma in
For example the Roma and the Young Lives reports target particular segments of the population, whilst the Arctic report and the Vulnerable Livelihoods in Somali Region report chose geographic delineations of the their research areas.
order to avoid stigma, particularly when they are moving into higher income brackets. Equally, those who are not ‘ethnically’ Roma may define themselves as such, in order, for example, to have easier access to state transfers associated with this group. Therefore, as the report acknowledges, any population sampling of ‘Roma’ is likely to be biased towards the poorer members of the group and of the population at large. In order to deal with the influence of social stigmatization of this population group, researchers used a mixture of self-identification and ‘objective cultural traits’ 13 identified by local administrators and organizations, i.e. by others. (Fourteen percent of those interviewed did not identify themselves as Roma, and in Hungary, researchers deliberately did not conclude interviews with this group, opting instead for self-identification alone.) Whereas the combination of self-identification and identification by others would have been useful revealing the ways in which perceptions about who is and is not Roma highlight the aims and agendas of specific interest groups, the research does not sufficiently interrogate this dynamic. Instead, it appears to collude with the idea that ‘objective cultural traits’ do indeed have some basis in ‘fact’. The Arctic report was framed around a contested regional geographic definition that was partly defined ecologically and partly justified on the basis of being an increasingly important political and policy making arena. Like the Somali Region research, the geographic definition of the research area allows the Arctic report to explore the complexity of relations between and within groups, which may ‘otherwise appear similar in relation to broad demographic, social and economic features’ 14. For example the report captures important relationships between recent migrants into the region and so-called ‘indigenous’ groups (these relationships are also highly relevant to studies of pastoralist communities). According to the report, these relationships are crucial to a human development understanding of socio-economic and political dynamics in the region, as well as providing a more accurate picture of its overall demography. 2.4 Framing research This section examines the conceptual framing of research aims, to illuminate ways in which these have influenced subsequent research agendas. With the influenceof International Development Targets, policy making has shifted from assumption based to evidence based. This has spawned a range of poverty assessment initiatives, together with poverty reduction targets, which have gained acceptance among policy makers, researchers and development practitioners. Many of the reports discussed can be seen in this light. Conceptual frameworks such as the Human Development Paradigm are now geared to the realization of International development Targets (such as MDGs), and the resulting need to generate comparable data in order to inform policy towards realizing these. Striking a balance between framing research in relation to international frameworks and ideas, and the interrogation of these in relation to local concepts and agendas, is a challenge, which reports have addressed with different levels of success. Young Lives is primarily concerned with improving child well being, with relation to meeting IDTs. It is also strongly influenced by DFID’s strategic shift towards channelling development funding through budget support to governments, rather than through project-based interventions. The project’s concepts and frameworks are thus based around improving understandings of policy processes, and developing appropriate ways of measuring and analysing poverty dynamics in relation to its target group. For example:
These are certain traits thought to be associated with Roma cultures, such as certain traditional practices and beliefs. Arctic HDR
Developing frameworks for analysing policy effects, including: an eclectic understanding of policy contexts, which captures the multi-layered and non-linear dynamics influencing policy processes a rigoros framework for understanding the relationships between policy outputs, outcomes and impacts, as well as modifying and mediating influences on these Broadening poverty definitions to better encapsulate indicators relevant to child well being: broadening an income-based concept of poverty to embrace a more holistic definition incorporating a range of livelihoods assets and processes viewing children as important contributors to household livelihoods incorporating subjective as well as objective indicators Enhancing the sensitivity of poverty measurements in relation to the effects of poverty on children Children are particularly susceptible to poverty in terms of being subject to decisions taken by others, and more exposed to hazards and risks; some children are more susceptible than others and children as a group must be disaggregated in relation to gender, age, culture and so forth. Poverty effects on children must be understood developmentally across childhood and monitored at different stages of the maturation process; Poverty impacts directly and indirectly on children (eg through disruption of services). One of the most serious threats to the formation of children’s identity and prosocial skills and sense of self efficacy is relative as opposed to absolute poverty: (this relates to relationships of power)
The Roma research is primarily inspired by an integrationist policy agenda, which aims to lessen the burden on national and regional economies, of populations permanently dependent on state transfers. This has been framed through modifying a more conventional rights-based approach, which has frequently been used to promote the cause of marginalized groups such as the Roma. As well as a rights-based approach therefore, the project adopts a human development framework focusing on “choices, opportunities, participation and responsibility”, maintaining that ‘‘legal rights are necessary but insufficient for increasing integration’. 15 The focus on ‘participation’ and ‘responsibility’ in particular, is meant to inform ‘sustainable solutions that are affordable and will gain the support of majority populations’. The conceptual framework is therefore primarily inspired by a specific policy agenda, as well as a concern to improve the achievement of IDTs with respect to general issues of vulnerability and marginalization. With respect to the latter, the Roma report draws on its research experience to usefully interrogate the framing of Human Development Targets: • Universal targets, while useful in advocacy terms, have limited relevance as policy tools. “The data suggest that national-based measurements of poverty should be emphasized over universal thresholds. The latter may be appealing for their simplicity and high advocacy potential, but they are not very useful as policy targets.” • National surveys relating to IDTs often fail to highlight specific locations and distributions of poverty: “Although marginalized communities (such as Roma) face severe problems
regarding all aspects of the MDGs, national averages cloak the severity of these problems and deprive them of policy attention.” The report therefore begs the question: ‘In relation to progress in achieving MDGs, should we talk of halving national poverty, or halving the poverty of marginalized groups?’ Like the previous two research initiatives, the AHDR was also concerned to modify universal concepts in relation to the specificities of its target area. The regional focus of the research has therefore resulted in a thought-provoking interrogation of human development concepts in relation to local concerns. Although not central to the project aims these insights are also valuable for similar ‘resource-rich but socially and politically peripheral regions’. In particular, the report: • Interrogates the universal validity of Human Development indicators: GDP as a measure of standard of living: it is difficult to use GDP to measure the well being of subsistence systems or mixed economies more generally. Instead, a ‘good life’ may be defined by other parameters such as the maintenance of traditional hunting Schooling and literacy as a measure of knowledge: arctic residents have a highly sophisticated grasp of matters important to their well being, but this doesn’t translate into school enrollments or literacy Life expectancy as a measure of well being: longevity by itself is not a paramount goal, and well being instead has more to do with quality of life Identifies additional parameters of significance to well being in the arctic context, including: ‘fate control’ (guiding ones own destiny) ‘cultural integrity’ (belonging to a viable local culture) ‘contact with nature’ (interacting closely with the natural world). Focuses on communities, not individuals Identifies special characteristics of Human Development that are relevant to the Arctic context: capturing economic rent associated with extraction of natural resources extent of devolution of authority to regional or local decision-makers measures to empower men and women where traditional gender roles are changing fast Captures relationships between local and global, including the effects of international economic actions on fragile local economies 16
The AHDR thus succeeds in setting the arctic region in a global context through recourse to an internationally relevant conceptual framework, as well as developing a locally derived set of values and concerns with which to inform regional policy 17. The primary aim of the Kenya HDRs is to promote a particular conceptual framework (Human Development) and enable a more ‘people-centred’ approach to national policy making. These reports are thus firmly centred within a Human Development conceptual paradigm. The Kenya Poverty Maps aim to increase the effectiveness of national poverty targeting and monitoring. In particular, the poverty maps have been instituted in a context of increasing decentralization of
These kinds of links are muted in the Human Development Paradigm, which tends to analyse economic and political outcomes in relation to national variables, as opposed to their global context where dynamics of power are more clearly exposed. Its particular success in balancing the imperatives of international and local conceptual relevance, has been partly due to its dependence on the type of in-depth qualitative research which the Roma report disregards.
political resources, in which context locally-sensitive policy targeting is more significant. The reports are framed around a conventional income-based measurement of poverty, but one which is geographically disaggregated in relation to administrative and political boundaries (locality, district, province and constituency). In this way, the maps have been framed to increase our spatial awareness of poverty determinants, and to highlight national inequalities. The Afrobarometer research is particularly concerned to consolidate and understand relatively recent governance reforms in Africa towards greater democratization. The research is framed around identifying new indicators that are particularly relevant to developing country contexts, through which to illuminate popular perceptions of governance and economy. These include: Democracy: Popular understanding of, support for, and satisfaction with democracy, as well as any desire to return to, or experiment with, authoritarian alternatives. Governance: The demand for, and satisfaction with, effective, accountable and clean government; judgments of overall governance perfomance and social service delivery. Livelihoods: How do African families survive? What variety of formal and informal means do they use to gain access to food, shelter, water, health, employment and money? Macro-economics and markets: Citizen understandings of market principles and market reforms and their assessments of economic conditions and government performance at economic management Social Capital: Whom do people trust? To what extent do they rely on informal networks and associations? What are their evaluations of the trustworthiness of various institutions? Conflict and Crime: How safe do people feel? What has been their experience with crime and violence? Which mechanisms do they prefer for the resolution of violent disputes? Participation: The extent to which ordinary folks join in development efforts, comply with the laws of the land, vote in elections, contact elected representatives, and engage in protest. The quality of electoral representation. National Identity: How do people see themselves in relation to ethnic and class identities? Does a shared sense of national identity exist The Somali Region research aims to contribute to better informed policymaking for an area which has been marginalized, mainly on ethnic grounds, and which suffers from high levels of vulnerability. It is primarily framed around understanding the causes and consequences of livelihood vulnerability. In particular, the project uses qualitative research to expand a livelihoods based understanding in relation to the analysis of social relations, political dynamics, gender and conflict, thus foregrounding socio-political as opposed to economic determinants of vulnerability. The PSI report aims to improve the efficacy of pastoralist programs through identification of long-term trends. The research is framed around a livelihoods analysis which enables the identification of 3 major livelihood trends, and a prediction of their expected trajectories over the next 15 years. The framework thus adapts a livelihoods approach to enable the identification of long-term trends, as well as disaggregating the livelihood profile of its target group to facilitate more appropriate and nuanced policy formation. 2.5 Conclusions The overall aims and agendas of various reports have much in common with those of the ROSP. The ways in which these have translated into particular conceptual frameworks including definition of research area, can thus usefully inform the ROSP project.
In defining the research area, most reports were concerned to highlight dynamics of marginalization for specific groups or areas. The implications of geographic vs population-based definitions however pose significant differences with respect to policy impact. Whereas population-based definitions can have high advocacy potential, geographic definitions may enable researchers to better capture the dynamics leading to marginalization, which crucially include relationships between groups. In relation to the ROSP, a geographic definition of its area of interest would broadly capture the demographic group it is concerned to understand (namely pastoralists), due to their concentration in particular regions. It would also enable the ROSP to highlight relationships between different groups within the area, as well as and the diversity of livelihood trends. At the same time, a geographic definition could lose some of the political mileage of a populationbased definition, which has the advantage of fore-grounding the rights and interests of a specific population group. In the case of Kenya, however, ‘the North East’ as a region has much the same connotations of marginalization and impoverishment as do ‘pastoralists’ as a group. Using a geographic definition may thus have similar levels of advocacy potential as would a population-based definition, although this may vary from country to country. Lessons may be drawn here from the PSI report which used a combination of geographic targeting and selfidentification to capture the variable dynamics that characterize pastoralist livelihood trends, without restricting the research to a narrowly defined pastoralist scenario. Most of the reports here analysed have been framed within international development paradigms such as Sustainable Livelihoods (DFID), Human Development Paradigm (UN) and Governance agendas, which have all been geared to expanding an income-based definition of poverty to include other dynamics, such as social and human capital. While basing research on these conceptual paradigms has the advantage of setting research projects in relation to international frameworks and thereby increasing their policy relevance, particularly in the context of IDTs, the extent to which they can be adapted to capture the specificity of local realities has been a significant issue for many of the studies. All the reports (with the possible exception of the KHDRs) have, in various ways, expanded these frameworks to better capture dynamics of marginalization, vulnerability as well as poverty including: • redefining international targets to emphasise particular areas of marginalization as opposed to general poverty (Roma) • interrogating international targets and definitions to make these more appropriate for non-conventional dynamics and value systems (AHDR) • Broadening definitions of poverty in relation to specific population groups • Developing frameworks for analyzing policy effects on poverty dynamics (YL) • addressing political and social roots of vulnerability as well as economic causes (SR, Afrobarometer) • providing a disaggregated analysis of poverty trends (PSI, Poverty Maps). The reports therefore have valuable lessons for the ROSP, which seeks to improve analytical frameworks to better capture and target poverty issues for a marginalized population group. As these reports demonstrate, it is important to use the research context to meaningfully interrogate universal concepts and emphasise the significance of local experiences not only to enable more effective policy targeting, but also to expand general understandings of poverty and well being, and make these more sensitive to marginalized groups.
3. IMPLEMENTING POLICY-RELEVANT RESEARCH 3.1 Introduction This section discusses various ways of implementing policy-relevant research, to try and improve policy effectiveness. It examines the appropriateness of different methodologies for achieving the various research aims, which include: addressing knowledge gaps producing comparable statistics for policy targeting understanding changes over time to track and monitor policy effectiveness and identify trends It analyses the use of benchmark (or status) reports, longitudinal research and comparative studies as well as the relative merits of qualitative and quantitative methods, and use primary or secondary data. Although ROSP does not aim to focus on conducting primary research, the various methodologies are significant to its aims, which include facilitating and encouraging research, which is more relevant to policy. 3.2 Addressing knowledge gaps Like the ROSP many of the research initiatives were specifically concerned with addressing a knowledge gap in relation to marginalized communities/areas, so as to make them more visible in policy terms (Young Lives, Roma, AHDR, PSI, Somali Region). A major issue in relation to this aim is the choice between conducting primary research or secondary investigation. Primary research is considerably more expensive than secondary analysis, and needs to be strongly justified in relation to its potential to add substantially to our understandings of particular issues, or to contribute to their policy effectiveness. The Afrobarometer, for example, engaged in primary research to capture relatively new processes of governance reform in its context setting. In the case of the Somali Region report, a major aim of the project was to address the lack of research on a particular area, as well as lack of policy visibility for an ethnically marginalized population. Young Lives chose to conduct primary research not only to fill a perceived knowledge gap, but also as an advocacy tool through which to profile issues relating to marginalized and vulnerable population group. Primary research in this case has been used as a ‘context’ through which to increase involvement of key actors in issues relating to its target group, as much as a means of gathering knowledge. The AHDR on the other hand approached the issue of addressing a knowledge gap through consolidating secondary sources. In this case the team chose to consolidate existing research in the form of a benchmark study to inform the analysis of general trends and issues of interest to policy makers, as well as isolating knowledge gaps for future research. This had the advantage of drawing on extensive in-depth research stemming from a variety of sources (academic and policy), much of which had been developed over extended periods and which represented considerable resources of money, time and technical expertise. It would have been nearly impossible to commission new research, which approached this level. The report serves as a useful baseline from which to monitor future progress, develop policy indicators and commission shorter more targeted studies on themes of particular interest. 3.3 Comparability: breadth vs depth Central to the selection of research methodologies has been the aim of producing comparable data in order to improve policy targeting, and inform policy change to bring population groups/areas ‘into line’ with normative standards (e.g. MDGs). Quantitative survey methods based on standardized indicators and replicable questionnaires, carry with them connotations of
accuracy, generalisability, comparability and ‘truth’, attractive to policy making contexts. However, such studies tend to emphasise breadth rather than depth, lending themselves more to targeting, monitoring (and advocacy), rather than the substance of policy formation which requires in-depth analysis. In addition, the samples on which such studies are based are often too small to meaningfully reflect generalized traits, or too large to be feasible in research terms. The Afrobarometer, Young Lives, and Roma reports have all developed a standardized questionnaire to facilitate cross-country comparisons, but with some room for country specificities. (Interestingly, the Roma research acknowledges that country specific questions have been the more useful in policy terms). The Roma research aims to provide national and international policy makers and other stakeholders with accurate, reliable, and comparative statistical data which it deems “necessary to design and implement sound policy”. Despite the existence of extensive qualitative data on the Roma therefore, this particular view of the policy context has led researchers to implement a core quantitative survey in order to obtain comparable statistics on Roma populations in Central and Eastern Europe. This is a different approach to that of the AHDR for example, where the research team opted for a ‘scientific assessment’ of existing mainly qualitative research as the best means to inform policy. Like Young Lives, the Roma study also aims to standardize methods and principles to enable wider comparability and to harmonise policy agendas. Whereas Young Lives develops a low cost standard questionnaire on child poverty replicable in other research settings, the Roma research develops a set of ‘core principles’ to standardize assessments of, and interventions relating to vulnerable groups more generally. The Afrobarometer is also based on a regionally comparative questionnaire. Unlike the Human Development and Roma surveys however, the Afrobarometer study is not intended to be sufficient unto itself in analytical or policy terms. Rather it is intended to be complemented by more in-depth studies of deeper research issues. It also includes a full discussion of the limitations of the survey technique (see annex 2). Young Lives also addresses the limitations of quantitative surveys through accompanying its core questionnaire with a community context analysis to set the results in contextual perspective, and by commissioning thematic studies on ‘areas of interest’ identified through the main survey, which need to be looked at in more depth. The core questionnaire acts partly as a ‘map’ around which to identify deeper research issues. The Roma report on the other hand, is very much dominated by its survey results, with little in the way of qualifying information, especially including the voices and viewpoints of research subjects. In countries like Kenya, distinguished by substantial inequalities between groups and localities, poverty maps based on census and survey data provide the comparable statistical coverage that policy making requires, along with a disaggregated analysis of this data right down to the local level which deepens the accuracy and policy relevance of the research. For example, the reports discover that only two thirds of the rural population live in locations that exhibit the district average in terms of poverty. When complemented with other data, the reports will enable a better understanding of the geographic determinants of poverty, such as distance from market places and roads, service centres, relationship to biophysical, environmental and agro-climatic patterns, useful for targeting interventions. At the same time, as the introductions to poverty map reports acknowledge, the maps are limited to indications of poverty, and do not address its root causes. Therefore, in relation to the substance of poverty reduction policy formation, their use is limited. The danger is that, the
attractive simplicity of their presentation, and the perceived levels of ‘certainty’ that often accompany arrays of quantitative statistics will lead to large investments in surveys and quantitative exercises to inform future reports of this nature, at the expense of in-depth (qualitative) research. Despite extensive qualifying comments in the report introductions, there is also a danger that the simplicity and accessibility of these maps will mean that their policy relevance is over-rated. The Somali Region report gives equal weight to both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, combining the merits of both. Due to the fact that little rigorous fieldwork has been conducted in the Somali Region, a quantitative survey estimating incomes, livestock ownership, mortality and other quantifiable indicators of household well being was an important objective of the study. At the same time, the centrality of conflict, politics, gender and social relations as determinants of well-being outcomes necessitated a qualitative and contextual analysis as well as an understanding of trends in vulnerability over time. A household survey conducted in different livelihood zones (including urban areas and a refugee camp), was therefore complemented by qualitative fieldwork 18 . In addition, partly as a reflection of the primacy of livestock in the livelihoods of the region, a trade and marketing survey was conducted. The result has been a report rich in textured analysis of key issues, that complements local observations with ‘objective’ indicators such as mortality rates, and in-depth socio-economic analysis. This type of in-depth qualitative research has enabled a deeper understanding of local dynamics, enhancing the sensitivity of national policy to local issues and highlighting the aspirations and agendas of (marginalized) local agents (the Poverty Maps to an extent straddle both these camps). The extent to which this type of study is replicable is uncertain however. The level of detailed analysis would be difficult and costly to reproduce through regular surveys, and at present the research remains as a one-off. Young Lives has attempted to bring this kind of qualitative dimension to its research through innovative data collection methodologies, including the collection of subjective as well as objective data such as feelings and perceptions, which are regarded both as indicators and determinants of poverty processes. However, large-scale quantitative survey methodologies do not generally foster participation or local ownership of the research process. Instead, more participatory qualitative approaches which allow the world views and values of informants to be expressed, and which invest in longer-term relationships between respondents and researchers, are likely to produce more contextually informed analysis. In the case of Afrobarometer, Young Lives and Roma studies, standardized quantitative surveys have enabled research initiatives to measure local dynamics in relation to trans-local comparable standards, thus setting national policy imperatives in relation to wider targets. These surveys have also been specially tailored to capture appropriate indicators on marginalized groups in a form which is accessible to, and usable by policy makers. For the PSI, and Somali Region studies, in-depth qualitative research has enabled a deeper understanding of local dynamics, to enhance the sensitivity of national policy to local issues and to highlight the aspirations and agendas of (marginalized) local agents. As these studies demonstrate, whereas quantitative research is useful for policy targeting and monitoring, qualitative research is likely to be of more relevance to the substance of policy formation.
This involved semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, individual case studies and life histories, with several methods being used to facilitate discussion (community mapping and wealth-ranking, seasonal calendars, historical timelines etc.).
3.4 Understanding long-term trends For some of the research projects capturing dynamics and trends over time, rather than producing a ‘snapshot’ of conditions at one time was one of the main aims of the research. Young Lives accorded the longitudinal aspects of the study the highest priority: “Without this emphasis it becomes ‘just another study of children’”. Young Lives implements a standard questionnaire at 3-4 yearly intervals on a core sample of children to gain a dynamic picture of poverty, as well as including questions on how poverty indicators for children play out in adult lives. This enables the study both to generate an understanding of the long-term effects of childhood poverty, and to influence and monitor the extent to which international (and national) policy targets are being met. In the case of the Afrobarometer, a standardized public opinion questionnaire implemented at regular intervals in different political settings is intended to provide comparative comment on processes of liberalization and governance, as well as being a baseline to monitor these dynamics in relation to future surveys (3 rounds have so far been conducted covering 18 countries). Similarly, the Human Development Reports and Poverty Maps are based on national surveys and censuses, which are repeated at regular intervals (although not using a standardized format). Future reports will make use of new data, thus reflecting changes over time, useful for monitoring policy impacts. Standardised longitudinal surveys are useful from a monitoring perspective in measuring policy impacts, and understanding the effects of policy change. Where such research is based on rapid questionnaires however, the effect may be more of a series of ‘snapshots’ rather than a genuine picture of long-term dynamics. The PSI report was also primarily concerned to identify long-term trends and use this analysis for policy purposes. In this case however, researchers conducted a one-off study based on qualitative participatory methods (including timelines and memory) to collect data on changes over time. Whereas the research had limited value as a monitoring tool, it was useful for informing policy substance through the identification of longterm trends, and analysis of the effects of change on local populations. Had the research contextualized its analysis in relation to quantitative indicators, its policy-relevance would have been greater. In this sense it suffers from a similar lack of all-roundedness as the Roma report, but from the opposite perspective: over-reliance on qualitative data. 3.5 Conclusions As this section has demonstrated, research methodologies are often shaped by the overall aims of the research process, whether it is to fill gaps, identify trends or to enable comparison across and within countries. There are policy benefits to all the different types of research examined: benchmark studies, comparative surveys and longitudinal research.
Benchmark studies are useful for • Profiling a particular area, issue or population group • Consolidating existing research or undertaking new research to identify policy issues • Assessing the extent and quality of information availability and knowledge gaps to inform future research In relation to the ROSP commissioning a benchmark study of existing research would be a useful way to identify future research needs and relevant policy issues, as well as profiling its
target population group. In addition, such as study could help to identify the kinds of research methods which are most usefully applicable to policy formation, targeting, and monitoring, and which could inform institutional capacity building. For example, in relation to pastoralism in Kenya, there exists substantial in-depth research quantitative and qualitative research stemming from high quality research institutions, which would be extremely useful in policy terms. However, this has yet to be collated and organised into a policy format, including a benchmark study from which to identify gaps, or policy lessons. Subsequent to identifying knowledge/policy gaps through a thorough assessment of existing research, ROSP may want to encourage a new research, partly to address these gaps and partly as an advocacy tool to profile its target population. In this respect, it is important to be aware of the pros and cons of various research methods. Longitudinal studies fulfil two main purposes: on the one hand they enable the monitoring and tracking of the effects of policy change; on the other hand they enable the analysis of longterm trends and evaluation of policy (and other) influences on local dynamics. While the latter may be better addressed through qualitative research (either one off studies which use historical methodologies, or repeated studies where a particular area or theme is periodically revisited), studies which aim to monitor the effects of policy change lend themselves more easily to quantitative survey methodologies. Longitudinal studies are definitely a priority for ROSP, both from the point of view of monitoring the effects of policy change, as well as identifying long-term trends and dynamics. The ROSP may therefore wish to encourage more longitudinal research (quantitative and qualitative), as well as facilitating the dissemination of existing long-term studies. Comparative studies are helpful for mapping broad trends and highlighting particular areas of vulnerability in relation to normative standards. They are therefore useful for policy targeting and advocacy (the poverty maps are a particularly good example of this). However, as the Roma report recognizes, they may not be so useful for the substance of policy formation, where indepth context-specific research is more valuable. In relation to the latter, qualitative methods may be more appropriate than quantitative methods, for illuminating policy-relevant dynamics. Both of these agendas are relevant to ROSP, which aims to provide a regionally comparative framework through which to measure and assess relative changes in pastoralist poverty indicators, and at the same time to enhance the sensitivity of national policies in relation to the particular dynamics of marginalization and vulnerability germane to its target group. The aim of providing regionally comparative data to inform policy should be carefully considered in view of the fact that comparative studies are more useful for addressing international development targets, than the substance of national policy formation. Policies on pastoralist areas suffer more from lack of in-depth knowledge of relevant dynamics, than broad assessments of poverty indicators, in which context in-depth localized studies may be more appropriate than large-scale quantitative surveys using comparable indicators. At the same time a high profile quantitative survey such as that of the Afrobarometer or Young Lives would be useful as an advocacy tool and a means through which to institutionalise policy-relevant research processes.
4. INSTITUTIONALISING EVIDENCE-BASED POLICYMAKING 4.1 Introduction This section addresses the capacity of research to impact on policy through institutionalisation and dissemination. It assumes that, no matter how relevant is the research produced for policy purposes, impacts will be limited unless research is disseminated in such a way as to be accessible to policy makers, and institutionalised in such a way as to foster user-ownership and sustainability while maintaining sufficient levels of quality and rigour. The following section locates reports in relation to their organisational setting, and examine the ways in which research initiatives have reached out beyond their institutional roots to foster the ownership and involvement of potential users. 4.1 Ownership The aim of influencing national policy agendas has been achieved in various ways by the different studies under consideration. In most cases, consultation with government representatives prior to, and during the research process, as well as stakeholder workshops to disseminate research findings, have been the main methods to involve national policy makers. Young Lives has given policy makers a formal role on advisory boards, and has also partnered with local research institutes, which have government credibility. The Kenya HDRs and Poverty Maps have institutionalised the research process through capacity building of government research offices, as well as extensive technical workshops and consultation processes, which are expected to enhance national ownership of the research, as well as its policy relevance and long-term sustainability. Table 3 below depicts the organisational profiles of research processes, disaggregating institutions into academic, NGO and government. The agendas of each of these broad categories influence research projects in similar sorts of ways. For example, research that is dominated by government institutions will probably be oriented to formal policy-making agendas, whilst research grounded in academic institutions is likely to be oriented to increasing general understandings of particular issues/populations. Many of the reports span various institutional contexts. The table therefore prioritises certain types of involvement over others in relation to their levels of influence over the research process. For example ‘setup’, ‘funding’ ‘design’ and ‘coordination’ are likely to have more influence over reports and their outcomes than ‘fieldwork’ and ‘consultation’. The table also shows whether research is dominated by international or local institutions. Where research exercises aim to impact on national agendas, a dominance of international institutions over key processes may have negative effects on sustainability and user-ownership, and the consequent capacity to instigate meaningful change. It is significant, for example, that the top half of each research process (indicating more substantial involvement in research from set-up to design) is often dominated by international as opposed to local institutions, whilst the bottom half which indicates less substantial involvement and more of an advisory role, is dominated local institutions. Despite being geared primarily to influencing national policy arenas, a glance at the table shows that most of the research exercises here examined were dominated by international research/policy agendas outside target user-groups. In particular, the table shows that donor agencies have had a strong involvement in these studies. Due to their large resources, it is to be expected that these organisations will have a substantial influence over policy-oriented research projects. At the same time, however, where donors limit their involvement to funding (as is the case with the Afrobarometer and the AHDR) a greater role for research-users in key
processes of design, coordination and instigation would deepen user-ownership and consequent impacts of research. The challenge is to build sufficient awareness and capacity among user groups and donors to facilitate appropriate organisational roles.
Table 3: Organisational Profile IRI Young Lives
Set up Funds Design/co-ord Research Advisory/Consultation Dissemination √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √
Set up Funds Design/co-ord Research Advisory/Consultation Dissemination √ √ √ √
Set up Funds Design/co-ord Research Advisory/consultation Dissemination √ √
Set up Funds Design/co-ord Research Advisory/consultation Dissemination √ √ √ √ √ √ √
√ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √
Ken Poverty Map
Set up Funds Design/co-ord Research Advisory/consultation Dissemination √ √ √ √
Vul Livelihoods SR
Set up Funds Design/co-ord Research Advisory/consultation Dissemination
Set up Funds Design/co-ord Research Advisory/consultation Dissemination
√ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √
Set up Funds Design/co-ord Research Advisory/consultation Dissemination
In relation to the research exercises here considered, the Afrobarometer is an example where local (if not ‘user’) involvement in the research has been substantial, despite reliance on donor sources of finance. Whileh funded by donors, the setup, coordination, design and implementation rest with local and international research bodies. The report which particularly stands out relation to user-ownership is the AHDR, where the users of the research, i.e. the policy makers have had a strong stake in the research process through funding as well as instigation and coordination. This deepens the potential policy impacts of the AHDR research, also lending it greater sustainability and long-term relevance. The PSI report on the other hand, while institutionalised within its user-group, fell victim to issues of inefficiency due to attempts to foster ownership through joint coordination, compromising both the research process and outcomes. This is an important lesson for ROSP in that coordination of the research process needs to balance imperatives of user-ownership with efficiency. In the case of Young Lives, institutionalisation of the study at the national level through inputs into implementation and national-level coordination by national research institutes and NGOs, is likely to contribute to long-term sustainability, but has not necessarily fostered ownership by potential end user. It appears as though national research institutions and policy makers have been consulted on the core questionnaire and enabled to make limited modifications in relation to country contexts, but have not impacted substantially on the overall set-up and design of the research. The major processes of set-up, research design, funding and coordination therefore come across as being primarily dominated from outside, with implications for long-term impacts. This is mitigated to some extent by a rigorous dissemination strategy, including involving policymakers at an institutional level as project advisors in order to encourage dissemination of the research in policy circles. Their role however has not been substantiated beyond being useful agents for dissemination and publicity. 4.3 Sustainability Whereas ownership of research by policy makers is significant for the force and extent of policy impact, capacity to influence long-term policy change will depend on the sustainability of research exercises. Some of the studies in question, such as the KHDRs and Poverty Maps as well as Young Lives, have attempted to foster sustainability through capacity building and forging institutional links between policy and research forums. The KHDRs and Poverty Map initiatives, although instigated by international donors (UNDP and WB respectively) have deliberately sought to inculcate national ownership and increase the long-term sustainability, by setting up and funding a long-term research initiative through local policy and research bodies. The poverty maps in particular, have engaged in technical capacity building of government research staff, through extensive workshops and trainings. A worry is that, with their large budgets and resources, the donor agencies in question have pushed their own research agendas at the expense of locally initiated research concerns, and have also diverted scarce technical resources away from national research agendas 19 . The strong outside pressure on these research exercises backed by considerable resource outlays, may thus achieve conditional involvement at the user level, but are ultimately likely to compromise ownership and long-term policy impacts. Had resource inputs remained separate from research design and management, ownership may have been deepened alongside sustainability.
For example, there is little sense of the ways in which IDS or CBSs research agendas have informed these projects.
Afrobarometer and Young Lives have also addressed sustainability issues in terms of financial resources, through developing internationally relevant research agendas, which are attractive to donor audiences. However, as the KHDR/Poverty Maps cases demonstrate, the necessity of attracting donor finance must be balanced by the need to ensure that local policy and research agendas dominate processes of design and coordination. 4.4 Credibility Policy-relevance of research also depends on credibility and quality of data collection methods and processes. In this respect, achieving a degree of separation between research design/implementation and set-up/funding is important. In the case of Somali Region, Young Lives, Afrobarometer, and AHDR studies, implementation of the research by high quality academic institutions is likely to produce results that are both credible due to their degree of objectivity, and of high quality due to the technical expertise and resource backing involved in research implementation. The AHDR has tempered its institutional grounding in a formal policy arena through commissioning implementation by academic experts. It therefore maintains a level of objectivity from the policy context, which increases intellectual credibility alongside strong policy relevance. In a Forward to the report by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iceland, (also chairman of the Arctic Council), the minister states: “While mandated by governments, the report reflects neither the joint position of the Arctic Council, nor the policies of its Member States. Such a disclaimer in no way detracts from the intrinsic value of the AHDR itself. On the contrary, by distinguishing between research and policy, we are able to establish the synergy required for governments and the wider academic and research communities to work together in a purposeful manner.” Despite its financial reliance on international donors, the grounding of Afrobarometer research in local knowledge-based institutions as opposed to political bodies, is likely to be significant to its credibility for one of its main user-groups; “voting-age adults in Africa who wish to become informed and active citizens.” Like the Young Lives website, the Afrobarometer website also includes substantial information on questionnaire design and sampling methodology, encouraging confidence in the rigour of its data collection methods and findings. (a qualifying comment here relates to the levels of training and consistency in the recruitment of field enumerators). Where research exercises have been implemented through policy-making institutions on the other hand, findings are likely to demonstrate the significance of particular agendas, rather than interrogating these in relation to evidence, thus diminishing their intellectual credibility and consequent policy impacts. Furthermore, policy making bodies (including governments and NGOs) may not have adequate levels of technical expertise or research resources, to conduct research of sufficient quality to effectively inform policy. For example, the CBS Censuses and Surveys on which the Kenya HDRs and Poverty Maps rely, have been compromised by lack of technical capacity and resource pressures, as well as political imperatives in the case of the census in particular. In contrast to Young Lives and Afrobarometer surveys, CBS surveys have not been designed to capture unconventional livelihood profiles and socio-economic dynamics in their questionnaires, let alone deal with particular demographic issues such as sparse population distributions 20. They may therefore fail
For example, the poverty line measure used in the poverty maps, based on the monetary equivalent of a ‘basket of food’, may not be appropriate for groups such as pastoralists.
to capture relevant data on certain population groups, and the lack of rigour in sampling and questionnaire design may skew findings, with implications for policy usefulness. The PSI research, conducted through local NGOs and overseen by a consultancy company, was similarly compromised, by the institutional setting of the research implementation. As opposed to a more technically informed and longer-term academic exercise, limitations of time and resources available for this kind of research in the context of NGOs and consultancy firms, has compromised data quality. For example, lack of systematic research coverage resulted in a tendency to provide snapshots of perceptions and views at the time of the research, rather than enabling a more in-depth analysis such as that of the Somali Region research. In addition, despite the aim of foregrounding pastoralist voice, the use participatory methods in this case was geared more towards the rapid collection of data than enhanced ownership and input of the research population. The Somali Region report by contrast, is strongly dominated by an international academic agenda, and its research methods and analysis consequently have a high level of intellectual credibility. At the same time, the research design and outcomes have sought to inculcate policy relevance and local ownership through constant consultation with research participants and representatives of national and local government. Desired policy impacts however may be compromised by the academic inspiration and nature of the research, unless a very proactive dissemination programme is set in place. The above analysis demonstrates the need to balance political and intellectual credibility in order to achieve effective policy impacts. In the case of Young Lives, this has been achieved through institutionalising the research at international and national levels through reputable NGO and academic bodies, thus combining intellectual and advocacy objectives while maintaining a distance from formal political arenas. At the same time, institutions which have strong levels of political credibility have deliberately been chosen, and government representatives have been formally involved in an advisory capacity, thus also enhancing the ‘political capital’ of the research. The dominance of research institutes, particularly international institutes, over the research process as a whole may weaken its political credibility and policy impacts. Impacts need to be cultivated through mechanisms to foster ownership and increase the ‘stake’ of research users so that their agendas are emphasised. Where key processes of funding, coordination, and/or set-up of research exercises, are dominated from outside, no matter how much consultation is involved, research impacts are likely to be weakened. 4.4 Accessibility Achieving a separation between research implementation, and set-up/funding is important to ensure credibility. Nevertheless, it is also important to bridge this divide once more to ensure policy-oriented dissemination of research results. With the exception of Young Lives and Afrobarometer (and partly due to their longitudinal nature), the report format has been the most visible and also the principle form of dissemination for most of the studies considered. The report format, however, while significant in research circles is unlikely to influence policy directly, and should thus be seen as only one among other dissemination channels 21. An advantage of
Reports have included a range of styles to increase their accessibility beyond an academic audience. For example, use of text boxes commissioned by different stakeholders to highlight specific areas of interest, as well as
reports is that they are products, which represent the aims and agendas of research exercises (as much as their content), and can be distributed through face-to-face encounters such as workshops. However, in relation to informing policy, products such as policy/media briefs & videos, as well as sustained discussion forums (rather than one-off workshops) are likely to be more useful. Young Lives has found visual presentations such as video case-studies to be particularly powerful in attracting the attention of policy makers. In formulating its policy strategy. Young Lives has found it important to first understand the specific characteristics of policy process and advocacy environment. For example through mapping appropriate dissemination and advocacy targets, spaces and civil society/state partners; understanding the access and veto points at both national and local levels; unpacking existing discourses (e.g. on children and poverty) in order to identify tensions between local and international discursive strategies. This can help to identify the best course to pursue. Messages should also be framed in such a way that they will resonate with policy maker’s worldviews and be culturally sensitive. –e.g. economistic discourses vs rights-based discourses for different policy actors. In the experience of Young Lives, policy makers are not necessarily averse to child-sensitive policies, but may not have the time for creative policy-making. It is important therefore not just to critique existing policies or advocate a child focus for policy making, but also to present “…viable, concrete alternatives with measurable indicators.” Among other things, this can involve the identification of good practices/projects from other countries. Due to its centrality in generating impacts, Young Lives also recommends hiring a professional firm to undertake dissemination, particularly as researchers themselves are often not trained in dissemination processes, other than report writing. 4.5 Conclusions A lesson which emerges from this analysis is the need to balance institutional involvement so that the strengths of different types of institutions are maximized: the intellectual contribution of high quality research institutions needs to be linked with the political clout of formal policy arenas as well as the advocacy role of NGOs. Lessons for ROSP include the need to: • Ensure policy impacts by fostering user-ownership, through enabling user-involvement in key processes of setup, funding, coordination and design • Ensure long-term impacts by fostering sustainability through linking research institutions and policy forums initiating discussion forums that sensitise research and policy institutions to the potential policy relevance of quality research and appropriate methods and frameworks for capturing policy-relevant data linking research to international donor interests to cultivate financial sustainability while ensuring that local user-agendas are highlighted
explaining key conceptual parameters (Roma); text boxes containing direct quotes from respondents to illuminate the analysis (PSI, Somali Region report); colour photographs which provide a strong visual picture of the research areas (Arctic report). A modification on written reports is the geographic mapping of the Poverty Maps, which provide a relatively simple and powerful graphic picture (of poverty distributions) easily accessible to a range of readers.
Ensure credibility by encouraging implementation of research through high-quality academic institutions, while continuing to sustain links between these and policy forums Ensure accessibility of research through institutionalising user-friendly dissemination channels which ensure messages are delivered in an appropriate and accessible manner
5. STRENGTHENING POLICY INFLUENCES 5.1 Introduction Whereas all of the research exercises considered for this assignment are concerned to impact on policy, different understandings of the policy context have led to large variations in processes of institutionalisation & dissemination. A paper written for the Young Lives project argues that policy making is non-linear and dynamic, and therefore assuming a linear fit between rational execution of technically-informed evidence is unrealistic 22. Within a multi-layered scenario, the paper argues, there are many interfaces where space for change and influence can be capitalized upon, but which require creative engagement with context-specific policy arenas 23. For example putting indirect pressure on policy forums through stakeholder sensitisation, increasing public awareness and advocacy, may have more policy impact than addressing policymakers directly. Furthermore, although many of the projects under consideration have been developed to impact on the formal policy-making arena, a narrow definition of ‘policy’ places heavy emphasis on processes that may not be the most significant determinants of well being for the populations under consideration. Focus on formal policymaking arenas may mask broader courses of ‘purposive action’ 24 which have significant impacts on people’s lives, especially in countries where policy implementation is weak and distorted. A wider definition of policy would better capture the impacts of local agency, as well the impacts of intermediary arenas (e.g. informal economic niches such as trader groups; religious groupings etc.). To varying extents, the studies examined here have embraced this broader understanding of policy. Some have tried to strengthen local voice, while others have sought to influence civil society and the general public to stimulate broader forms of political action and put pressure on policy arenas. This section looks at the different ways in which research exercises have sought to strengthen policy influences. 5.2 Stakeholder Sensitization Whereas most of the surveys/reports have involved public launches and workshops to which policy makers, NGOs and other stakeholders were invited, others have made more sustained and pro-active moves to influence policy. Young Lives and Afrobarometer have made particular efforts to capture media attention, and thus put pressure on policy makers through the public sphere. The Afrobarometer for example launches its surveys with extensive press briefings and newspaper reports. Like Young Lives, the project has a catchy title, and is clearly oriented to public as well as policy and research accessibility. In common with Young Lives, Afrobarometer research is also well disseminated through electronic media, where web pages containing working/briefing papers and general project information, ensure that findings are accessible to the general public as well as other useraudiences. Websites have the advantage of being developed in an on-going manner to
Instead, policy interaction must take account of other dynamics including: ‘structural interests of political actors stemming from their own socio-economic/ institutional positioning; actor agency stemming from ongoing interaction and bargaining; discursive practices (e.g. the inter-relationship between power, knowledge and policy).
In Vietnam, the project collaborated intensively with government at all stages. In Peru, however, there are fewer opportunities for collaboration with government, and instead YL maximised the potential of a comparatively open media (using video documentaries and public photo exhibitions) to raise awareness of childhood poverty among public and government officials.
While a Young Lives project paper on policy recognizes a broad definition of policy as “a purposive course of action followed by an actor or set of actors” (Court et al. 200 ), the emphasis in the project itself is on formal policy arenas and bureaucracies.
incorporate new research, as well as being more interactive than reports. However they need to be well constructed in order to achieve this. In addition, it must be remembered that much of the ‘public’ to which the research exercises have been focused, do not have access to electronic media, but may have access to other media such as radios and newspapers. Young Lives publicity strategies (see section 5.3), also have the benefit of enabling the project to reach nonliterate publics and those who don’t have access to other forms of media such as internet. Other studies considered here tend to be more narrowly focused on governments or the academic community, and have made less use of electronic media in their dissemination avenues, with consequent weakening of public participation and advocacy. In order to address the eclectic nature of the policy context, Young Lives recommends a diverse dissemination strategy, which packages different types of information (from reports containing quantitative economic indicators, to qualitative analysis, to video case studies, to attractive leaflets) so that they are accessible to different users and audiences. Below is a table of the main dissemination avenues pursued by the research exercises. The table is designed to show the principle audience that is likely to be reached by the research, given its choice of dissemination methods. Table 4: Dissemination Avenues
Academic community Repor t √ √ √ √ √ √ √ Paper s & books √ Policy Audience Toolkits guidelines √ √ Stakeholder Wor kshops (National) √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ √ Gener al public Website √ √ Media Br iefs √ Resear ch par ticipants Stakeholder Wor kshops (Local)
Young Lives Roma AHDR KHDR Pover ty Maps Afr obar ometer Somali Region PSI
5.3 Local Voice Enabling local populations to control and utilize information about them is crucial not only to strengthen empowerment, but also to influence policy to better address particular contexts of poverty and marginalization. As the previous sections have demonstrated, research processes evolve through particular institutional relationships between stakeholders, including researchers, funders, respondents and users, which shape the nature and relevance of the information produced. Where these relationships bridge large gaps of culture, socio-economic status and political power, the resulting information is likely to reflect the agendas of those who dominate its production more than the realities of those from whom it is drawn. This is particularly so of short-term data collection exercises, which aim for breadth rather than depth, and are geared to producing impressive arrays of statistics to inform specific political agendas, with little attempt to interrogate existing understandings through engaging with the real experiences and views of their ‘subjects’. Involving local actors in the production of information therefore, is significant to influencing policies that are tailored to local contexts of poverty and marginalization, as well as strengthening local voice and participation in policy arenas. The AHDR, which succeeds in institutionalising itself at the national level, has made little or no attempt to involve the subjects of the research in design or outcomes. Impacts on the ground
therefore, will depend on the political strength of government bodies in this region, as well as their financial resources and accountability to their electorates. The same is true of the Poverty Maps, KHDRs and Roma initiatives. Young Lives on the other hand, has engaged its research subjects through consultation with parents and children as part of the research set up, and also through a range of imaginative dissemination and publicity initiatives such as poster competitions, journalist awards, the creation of a YL membership club, sending birthday cards to its core sample etc. As well as Young Lives, the Somali Region report sought to be particularly pro-active in fostering local ownership, consulting elders and others from the community at all stages, and disseminating results locally as well as nationally and internationally. In the case of PSI however, the aims of the research to involve pastoralists, may not have been as significant as intended due to the short time-frame of research dictated by the pressures of NGO funders and coordinators. For the PSI and Somali Region initiatives, local involvement has not only been solicited to inform the research and increase its relevance, but also to enhance the voice of local communities so that they can impact more forcefully on national policy arenas. In both cases, local voice has been emphasised through the use of participatory qualitative research methods, which ensure that the content and analysis of the reports express local worldviews and concerns. A worry here is that participatory techniques may cover for the need to build longerterm relationships with informants, which enhance their involvement in the research and increase the depth and accuracy of information they are prepared to deliver. In addition, the aim of increasing local ownership and voice requires that the research process are locally institutionalised through longer-term practical initiatives with wider dissemination and follow-up plans, which these studies have so far not pursued. 5.4 Conclusions No matter how effective the institutionalisation of research or its relevance for policy circles, where formal policy arenas are weak or distorted (as they almost invariably are in most contexts), policy impacts will be compromised. It is therefore necessary to exploit to the full other policy influences. The nature of these will depend on particular political and social contexts, requiring in-depth analysis of the policy context along the lines recommended by Young Lives. Actions to interest and involve wider stakeholders including the general public, include advocacy, networking, consultation forums as well as imaginative and accessible dissemination avenues. In relation to the latter, websites have many advantages, including being able to disseminate a range of materials and products, being easily accessible to a range of audiences and being interactive. Additionally, websites can potentially provide a forum where research subjects themselves could disseminate their ideas and agendas, particularly as the use of electronic media becomes more widespread, thereby strengthening local voice. Also significant to policy influence and the aim of tackling marginalization, is the extent of participation of target groups in the research. This can be fostered through consultation and dissemination (SR and PSI), but also needs to include a more proactive dimension to encourage local populations to be in more control of information that is produced about them. In this sense they need to actively involved in the production and dissemination of research. Innovative methods of achieving this would need to be developed by ROSP, as the reports under consideration have not addressed this. In relation to appropriate institutional roles for policy-relevant research, NGOs can play an important part in strengthening policy influence through advocacy, dissemination, networking
and facilitation. This is a significant point for the ROSP, which has been initiated by an NG: Oxfam GB. Oxfam aims to play a major role in supporting the institutionalisation of evidencebased policymaking and strengthening of policy influence. Whereas its capacity to intervene in the former may be limited, its role with respect to the latter is likely to be significant.
6. LESSONS LEARNED The overall goal of the ROSP is to better informed policymaking and practice in pastoral areas.. Lessons learned from the analysis of research initiatives with similar aims include: 1. Definitions and concepts In relation to the ROSP, a geographic definition of its area of interest would broadly capture the demographic group it is concerned to understand (namely pastoralists), due to their concentration in particular regions. It would also enable the ROSP to highlight relationships between different groups within the area, as well as and the diversity of livelihood trends. At the same time, a geographic definition may lose some of the political mileage of a population-based definition, which has the advantage of fore-grounding the rights and interests of a specific population group. In the case of Kenya, however, ‘the North East’ as a region has much the same connotations of marginalization and impoverishment as do ‘pastoralists’ as a group. Using a geographic definition may thus have similar levels of advocacy potential as would a population-based definition, but this may differ between countries. Framing research through recourse to paradigms such as the Human Development framework and Sustainable Livelihoods framework, has the advantage of setting research projects in relation to international frameworks and thereby increasing their policy relevance, particularly in the context of IDTs. However, the extent to which they can be adapted to capture the specificity of research issues has been significant for many of the studies. It is important to use the research context to meaningfully interrogate universal concepts and foreground the significance of local experiences, not only to enable more effective policy targeting, but also to expand general understandings of poverty and well being, and make these more sensitive to marginalized groups. 2. Implementing policy relevant research Commissioning a benchmark study of existing research would be a useful way to identify future research needs and relevant policy issues, as well as profiling the ROSP’s target population group. In addition, such as study could help to identify the kinds of research methods which are most usefully applicable to policy formation, targeting, and monitoring, and which could inform institutional capacity building. For example, in relation to pastoralism in Kenya, there exists substantial in-depth quantitative and qualitative research stemming from high quality research institutions, which would be extremely useful in policy terms. However, this has yet to be collated and organised, including a benchmark study from which to identify gaps, or policy lessons. Subsequent to identifying knowledge/policy gaps through a thorough assessment of existing research, ROSP may want to encourage new research, partly to address these gaps and partly as an advocacy tool to profile its target population. In this respect the aim of providing regionally comparative data to inform policy should be carefully assessed in view of the fact that comparative studies are more useful for addressing international development targets, than the substance of national policy formation. Policies on pastoralist areas suffer more from lack of in-depth knowledge of relevant dynamics, than broad assessments of poverty indicators, in which context in-depth localised studies may be more appropriate than large-scale quantitative surveys using comparable indicators. At the same time a high profile quantitative survey such as that of the Afrobarometer or Young Lives would be useful as an advocacy tool and a means through which to institutionalise policyrelevant research processes.
Longitudinal studies are a priority for ROSP, both from the point of view of monitoring the effects of policy change, as well as identifying long-term trends and dynamics. The ROSP may therefore wish to encourage more longitudinal research (quantitative and qualitative), as well as facilitating the dissemination of existing long-term studies. 3. Institutionalising evidence-based policymaking The type and level of institutional involvement are significant to maximizing the policy impacts of research initiatives. The analysis shows that research exercises, which are implemented through high quality research institutions, have strong levels of credibility and quality. At the same time, policy relevance depends on the extent of ownership and control over research by user-groups, primarily through their involvement in core processes of set-up, funding, coordination and design. In this regard, consultation and dissemination alone may not be sufficient to foster user-ownership, or long-term sustainability. In order to achieve the balance of quality research and policy clout, stakeholder roles need to be carefully defined and coordinated. In this regard, NGOs may play a strong facilitating, advocacy and dissemination role. Lessons for ROSP include the need to: • Ensure policy impacts by fostering user-ownership, through enabling user-involvement in key processes of setup, funding, coordination and design • Ensure long-term impacts by fostering sustainability through: institutionalising links between research institutions and policy forums initiating discussion forums that sensitise research and policy institutions to the potential policy relevance of quality research and appropriate methods and frameworks for capturing policy-relevant data linking research to international donor interests to cultivate financial sustainability while ensuring that local user-agendas are highlighted • Ensure credibility by encouraging implementation of research through high-quality academic institutions, while continuing to sustain links between these and policy forums • Ensure accessibility of research through institutionalising user-friendly dissemination channels which ensure messages are delivered in an appropriate and accessible manner 4. Strengthening policy influences Actions to interest and involve wider stakeholders such as the general public, include advocacy, networking, consultation forums as well as imaginative and accessible dissemination avenues. In relation to the latter, websites have many advantages, including being able to disseminate a range of materials and products, being easily accessible to a range of audiences and being interactive. Additionally, websites can potentially provide a forum where research subjects themselves could disseminate their ideas and agendas, particularly as the use of electronic media becomes more widespread; thereby strengthening local voice. Also significant to the capacity to influence policy as well as the aim of tackling marginalization, is the extent of participation of target groups in the research. While this can be achieved through consultation and dissemination, it requires a more proactive dimension to encourage local populations to have more control over information that is produced about them, such as by being involved in its production. Innovative methods of achieving this would need to be developed by ROSP, as the reports under consideration have not addressed this. In relation to appropriate institutional roles for policy-relevant research, NGOs can play an important part in strengthening policy influence through advocacy, dissemination, networking
and facilitation. This is a significant point for the ROSP, which has been initiated by an NGO. Oxfam aims to play a major role in institutionalising evidence- based policymaking and strengthening policy influence.
Table 5: Lessons Learned
AGENDAS Implement policy-r elevant r esear ch Benchmar k Longitudinal Compar ative * Identifies issues and knowledge gaps * Assesses research availability * Fosters user interest * Document review & analysis (AHDR) * Primary qualitative & quantitative research on particular area/pop. (SR) * Identifies trends * Tracks changes * Monitors progress * Assesses status of policy targets * Enables cross country comparisons IMPACT ON POLICY Institutionalise evidence-based policy-making Str engthen policy influences User Sustainability Accessibility Cr edibility Local Stakeholder Public Owner ship Voice sensitisation awar eness * Increases * Enhances * Improves * Ensures * Enhance * Improves * Enhance policy long-term usability and quality and participolicy local impacts impacts impact objectivity of pation and monitoring capacity research political & enhances and puts * Supports * Supports power advocacy pressure continuity continuity on policy
VALUE FOR ROSP
* Regular surveys (Afrob, YL) * Qualitative research; timelines, memory & historical analysis (PSI)
* Standard quantitative survey (YL, SR,
WAYS TO ACHIEVE
Roma, PMs, KHDR, Afrob)
* Replicable methods/ guidelines (YL, Roma )
* Involve users in research setup, design, coord. and/or funding (AHDR)
* Institution alise links between RIs & policy forums
* Sensitise users to the relevance of quality research and appropriate methods (PMAPSs) * Enhance international relevance of research (Afrob, YL)
* Institutionalise userfriendly dissemination channels (YL) * Ensure messages are delivered in an appropriate and accessible manner (YL) * Institution alise links between RIs & policy forums
* Encourage separate roles for research and policy institutions
* Involve local pop in research * Consult local pop (SR, PSI,
* Networks * Wide dissemination * Consultation (YL,
* Strong advocacy (YL) * Dissemination/ publicity
(YL, SR, AHDR)
* Show the value of high-quality research to policymakers
* Dissemi nate research results widely
To realise its aims, a possible course of action for the ROSP might begin as follows: • Collate existing quantitative and qualitative research on pastoralist communities, to establish a benchmark from which to identify key lessons, issues and gaps to inform future research and policy agendas. Use this as a basis to create a high profile ‘product’ to launch and publicise the ROSP initiative, such as a website, which is regularly updated through media-attractive events and information • Initiate regular forums to link high-quality research bodies/individual researchers with policy forums (these could be framed around different needs such as developing policy relevant methodologies, delineating appropriate conceptual frameworks, identifying key research issues which might usefully inform policy agendas etc.) Facilitate institutional links between participating bodies, and encourage investment in new policy-research initiatives which involve collaboration by policy and research organisations • Through an experimental and consultative process, develop initiatives to involve target communities in the production and dissemination of knowledge, through which to strengthen their voice in policy arenas
Annex 1: Bibliography Reports Central Bureau of Statistics (2003) “Geographic Dimensions of Well-being in Kenya: Where are the poor? From districts to locations”. Central Bureau of Statistics (2005) “Geographic Dimensions of Well-being in Kenya: Who and where are the poor? A constituency level profile”. Comic Relief and Partners, (2005)”Pastoralists Special Initiative Research Project”. Devereaux, S. (2006) “Vulnerable Livelihoods in Somali Region, Ethiopia” IDS Research Report 57. Sussex, UK; Institute of Development Studies. The SDWG, Arctic Council, (2004), “Arctic Human Development Report” UNDP/ILO, (2002), “Avoiding the Dependency Trap: Roma in Central and Eastern Europe”. UNDP, (Various years) “Kenya Human Development Report”. Young Lives Project, Various Papers and reports. Papers Wolf et al. (2004) ‘A new dawn? Popular optimism in Kenya after the transition’ Afrobarometer working papers, no 33 Websites www.younglives.com www.afrobarometer.org
Annex 2: Report Summaries 1. Young Lives Context and aims The Young Lives project arose from DFID’s and Save the Children’s concerns to monitor progress towards meeting international development targets among children, and understand how key development policies affect child well being. This is in line with DFID’s overall strategic shift towards budget support to governments, in which context, enhancing the impact of international policy agendas on national policy arenas acquires a new level of importance. In this context the Young Lives projectis based on the following assumptions. • • • • Research is segmented (e.g. focus on health or education) Research is not well disaggregated (e.g. by gender, age, disabled etc.) Changes [in situation of children] are not well documented; instead we gain a snapshot view which does not capture improvements or deteriorations over time Quantitative and qualitative research are not well integrated (e.g. documenting school attendance, but not the extent to which children feel valued by their families “…issues which children themselves say are important to them…”. Equally, small scale studies are too small scale to be a good basis for policy making). Most research does not link situation of children with broad national/international policies: recommendations often stop at development projects/programmes
Links with policy makers at local and international levels are therefore of the highest priority and, despite high associated costs, have formed part of the project since its inception. Particular ways in which the project has attempted to impact on policy include: • • • • • Linking researchers with policy makers and planners to maximize impact of research on quality of children’s lives Involving local and international policy makers in the design of the study so that it produces information that they find useful Tracing associations between key macro policy trends and child outcomes and use these as a basis for advocacy Seeking to inform policy towards the realization of 2015 IDTs Policy analysis enables the project to better understand the research findings, and vice versa; research on YL children enables the team to better understand the effects of policy changes
Young Lives feeds back actively into the policy process at every stage “so that the information produced is used to improve the quality of children’s lives.” The project is thus is both a research and an advocacy exercise, and policy outcomes are both the subject and object of the research. To this end the research process has involved policy makers from the start through consultation on project design and implementation & representation on project advisory boards (the fact that the project is based around a trans-national core questionnaire, however, allows limited space for genuine influence over research design.)
Methodologies and approaches The project’s choice of methodology: a longitudinal study revolving around a core questionnaire implemented at intervals over a 15 year period and potentially replicable by other researchers, is geared to producing comparable time-series statistics on the effects of policy change on childpoverty, through which to influence and monitor the extent to which international (and national) policy targets are being met. Conceptual frameworks enlarge existing understandings of poverty to capture the specificities of this group, developing new indicators, which include subjective as well as objective assessments. Dissemination efforts have also been designed to impact on policy, through a wide range of channels geared to specific contexts, including influencing policy through media and public opinion. One of the aims of the project is to produce a replicable methodology which will enable a low cost globally comparative study of childhood poverty. To this end, project dissemination includes constant interrogation of the project process (tool kits, concepts, lessons learned etc.), so that the project is always looking to a wider outcome and context. Again, and in congruence with Human Development models, this approach is clearly linked to the overall aim of enhancing the impact of international policy agendas on local arenas, through developing a universally applicable model for the evaluation of development indicators. 2. Avoiding the Dependency Trap: Roma in Central and Eastern Europe Context and aims The Roma report was initiated by the UNDP and ILO in the context of EU accession, where significant resources were suddenly made available to bring marginalized groups suffering from high levels of poverty into the mainstream. Like Young Lives, the Roma report addresses particular policy challenges, or lack of policy visibility for marginalized populations including: • • • lack of adequate disaggregated socio-economic data for proper policymaking shortage of integrated solutions that treat problems of marginalized communities in their entirety – e.g. linking education, health, employment etc. in community based projects insufficient awareness that the provision of opportunities for vulnerable groups is a long-term investment that will benefit majority and minority populations equally
The study therefore aims to provide national and international policy makers and other stakeholders with accurate, reliable, and comparative statistical data which are necessary to design and implement sound policy, so that “the long-term objective of policy effortsintegration of Roma people into the mainstream of society- becomes feasible”.
Methodology and approaches Despite the existence of extensive qualitative data on the Roma therefore, the policy aims of the project have led researchers to develop a core quantitative survey to obtain comparable statistics on Roma populations in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as developing a set of ‘core principles’ to act as a practical guide for the assessment of vulnerable groups more generally.
A strong integrationist policy agenda which aims to lessen the burden on national and regional economies of populations permanently dependent on state transfers, is also evident in the choice of conceptual framework. The project modifies a more conventional rights-based approach, which has frequently used to promote the cause of marginalized groups such as the Roma, maintaining that ‘legal rights are necessary but insufficient for increasing integration’. Instead, the conceptual framework combines a rights-based approach with a human development framework, focusing on ‘choices, opportunities, participation and responsibility’, which will inform ‘sustainable solutions that are affordable and will gain the support of majority populations’. In this sense, the Roma report, like the Human Development Paradigm more generally, is informed by a strong neo-liberal agenda; an agenda which requires particular interrogation in relation to the history of CEE countries. As the report itself discovers “Despite the ambiguous impact of the central planning period on Roma, they tend to view their current situation negatively in comparison to that period, when a significant part of the population in CEE countries (including Roma) essentially belonged to the middle class.” Although the research aims to reach a broad policy audience, its main form of stakeholder involvement appears to have been through the circulating a first draft of the report. Unlike Young Lives, which employs a broad dissemination strategy to influence policy on many levels, the Roma research is more narrowly focused on direct recommendations to national policy makers in the form of national reports. These are complemented by a website as well as a regional report which outlines the overall framework and discusses comparable trends. The latter is the main tool through which the research attempts to provide a framework for the assessment of marginalized groups more generally. 3. Arctic Human Development Report (AHDR) Context and aims The Arctic Human Development Report was commissioned by the Arctic Council to inform its newly established Sustainable Development Programme, which extends a previous focus on environmental concerns, to embrace social and livelihoods imperatives. Unlike Young Lives and the Roma reports, the research was not so much concerned with providing a comparative understanding to address international development agendas; rather, it was intended to inform a regional policy forum within its institutional setting.
Methodology and approaches Instead of investing in an expensive quantitative survey therefore, leading academic experts were commissioned to undertake a ‘scientific assessment’ of existing (mainly qualitative) research, which would: provide an accessible overview of the state of human development in the Arctic that can be used as a benchmark for assessing progress in the future; identify critical gaps in knowledge and; provide a framework to help establish priorities for the Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG).
The authoring of the report by academic experts also ensures a level of objectivity and distance from policy-making arenas, which lends it greater credibility. Although not central to the project aims, the report also contains a thought-provoking interrogation of human development concepts in the context of the arctic peoples, which ensures that the research is both locally relevant as well as providing valuable insights for similar ‘resource-rich but socially and politically peripheral regions’. Whether these insights will reach a wider audience, however, is debatable, due to limited dissemination channels, which are confined to a research report. 4. Kenya Human Development Reports and Poverty Maps Context and aims Kenya HDRs and poverty maps are funded and designed by the UNDP and WB respectively, in collaboration with local research institutions (government and academic). While the NHDRs are viewed as being ‘important tools for the promotion of the cause of HD and people-centred approach to national policymaking’ the Poverty Maps have been initiated to build ‘sustained time series benchmarks for poverty measurement in Kenya necessary for institutionalising an effective monitoring and evaluation system for the effective implementation and targeting of poverty programmes’. In particular, the Kenya poverty maps are considered important in the context of designing and monitoring pro-poor economic recovery agenda and informing the PRSP strategy and implementation, as well as contributing to national and local policy making in the context of decentralisation. Methodologies and approaches Like the Roma report and Young Lives therefore, the conceptual framework of these research processes is geared to enhancing the impact of international development agendas on national policy forums. The emphasis on achieving national policy impacts has been realised in both cases through extensive consultation with policy makers and through institutionalising the research process at the national level, which is expected to lend the research long-term sustainability and national ownership. The University of Nairobi’s IDS has identified as a ‘centre of excellence’ for the production of future NHDR reports, while the poverty maps process has invested extensively in the technical capacity of CBS in the Ministry of Planning and National Development. Rather than engaging in new research, both the poverty maps and NHDRs rely primarily on existing quantitative studies conducted by the Kenyan government (CBS). Whereas this may increase the receptivity of national policy audiences, it may also detract from the wider credibility of the research, due to the location of the research in the political institution it is intended to inform. Dissemination is so far confined to government and policy audiences, and has been limited to the report form. However, the simple graphic presentation of the poverty maps makes them accessible to a wide range of readers with potentially strong advocacy impacts. 5. Afrobarometer Context and aims
The Afrobarometer aims to provide data on democratic processes and outcomes, and assessments of poverty and economic conditions, which will feed directly into the policy process. “We seek to reach diverse audiences: decision-makers in government, policy advocates, donor agencies, journalists and academic researchers, as well as voting-age adults in Africa who wish to become informed and active citizens.” Methodology and approaches Like many of the reports considered, a strong funding base of international donors is reflected in the overall conceptual framework and agendas of the research which are geared to strengthening and monitoring internationally inspired (neo-liberal) governance reforms. A standardized public opinion questionnaire implemented periodically in different political settings is intended to provide comparative comment on processes of liberalization and governance, as well as being a baseline to monitor these dynamics in relation to future surveys (3 rounds have so far been conducted covering 18 countries). Congruent with the aims of the research, to consolidate and understand democratic processes, dissemination channels are oriented more towards influencing public (voter) opinion, rather than directly engaging with policy makers. Along with an easily accessible and attractive website, high profile public launches of survey results with accompanying media briefs attract strong media attention, stimulating public reaction and debate. Unlike other reports discussed so far, however, the research inspiration, design and implementation are grounded in academic institutions. The research is managed by a core group of 3 academic institutions two of which are local to the research area, and the research itself is implemented collaboratively by social scientists from 18 African countries. It is thus primarily informed by the agendas of indigenous intellectuals, and feeds directly into the production knowledge in the research setting. The research impact of the public opinion surveys is maximized through encouraging and facilitating academic discussion drawing on more in-depth research (as is evident from the large number of working papers and even books which have been produced in response to Afrobarometer results). Like Young Lives, the strong involvement of reputable academic bodies also increases the credibility of the research, which is developed through rigourous sampling methodologies and questionnaire design. 6. Vulnerable Livelihoods in Somali Region, Ethiopia Context and aims The Somali Region report is a response to a dearth of data on a particular area of Ethiopia, which has been marginalized by the state, mainly on ethnic grounds. “In this highly politicized context, this research study is an attempt to gather information and give voice to the people of Somali Region themselves, and to present this evidence to policy makers (community leaders, the regional and federal governments, international donors, and international and local NGOs) as an input to their strategizing and decision-making.” Methodology and approaches
Like many of the research initiatives considered so far, the aims of the research to influence policy have been realized through an extensive consultation process which informed research design and implementation, as well as dissemination of findings. Consultation has involved government representatives at local and national levels as well as donor and NGO representatives who have a strong presence in the region. Like Young Lives, and in congruence with the specific aim of giving ‘voice to the Somali people’, consultation has also involved research subjects, represented in this case by local elders. Dissemination is still in process and has so far taken the form of local, national and international workshops and the production of an academic report. The report format, however, may not be accessible as a policy tool for the research subjects who are intended to make use of it. The extent to which dissemination is able to enhance local voice may also be compromised by extent of ownership of the research. Although the research was supposedly undertaken on ‘behalf of the Somali people’ it is unclear to what extent the initial mandate came from them, or their extent of influence over research design. Unlike other reports so far discussed, local ownership has also been fostered through the research methodologies, which have relied on a balance of quantitative and qualitative methods. The latter have included a strong participatory element, and have involved focus group discussions, semi-structured interviews as well as collection of life histories. Congruent with the fact that the research exercise has been undertaken ‘on behalf of the Somali people’ the ‘voices’ of the research subjects have been foregrounded in the report as commentaries and discussions on the main themes. Like Young Lives and the Roma study, original research in this case is geared to addressing national data gaps as well as developing methodologies and analysis to capture vulnerability and specific livelihoods dynamics (for example, through a livestock marketing survey). In this sense, the research is particularly targeted to policy change for a marginalized population, rather than pro-poor policy change in general. In addition to qualitative information, quantitative household surveys (sampled through livelihood zoning to ensure representation of the major livelihood profiles in the region) address a national gap in comparative statistics for this area, also contributing to the policy and advocacy relevance of the report. 7. Pastoralists Special Initiative Research Project (PSI) Context and aims The Pastoralists Special Initiative was commissioned “to enhance Comic Relief’s and /partners’ knowledge and understanding of key trends and factors currently affecting and likely to affect the pastoralist way of life over the next 10 – 15 years, so that they are better able to target funding to ensure favourable outcomes and maximum poverty impact for pastoralists.” Methodology and approaches Institutionalisation of the research process involved a partnership between several international and local NGOs, which was expected to contribute to a broader ownership of the product among the NGO community. However a side effect of this was co-ordination issues, which impeded the research process. Dissemination was effected principally through local workshops
in the research districts and a public launch/workshop, which involved interaction with government policy makers. However there has so far been no follow up of these activities to ensure wider policy impact and enhanced local relevance/ownership. The primary goal of the research (to inform Comic Relief (and partners) development agendas), has perhaps been the cause of these limited dissemination channels, despite the fact that a strong analytical presentation (in relation to 3 livelihood trends) makes the research potentially of wider policy relevance. The researchers and funders were also concerned to differentiate the research from similar exercises, which have so far failed to create significant impacts on pastoralist livelihoods. To this end they used a Sustainable Livelihoods framework, intended to capture the diversity of pastoral livelihoods trends. They also sought to inform the research through the ‘voice’ and ‘participation’ of pastoralists themselves. Like the Somali Region report, they did this through basing the research on qualitative fieldwork using participatory methods, and disseminating it through local as well as national workshops, and including direct quotations from research subjects in the text of the report. However, perhaps due to the fact that the research was conducted as a consultancy commissioned by NGOs with consequent limitations on time and resources (rather than a longer-term academic exercise), the use participatory methods in this case was geared more towards the rapid collection of data than enhanced ownership and input of the research population.