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“Refining Impact Pathways of Research Projects” at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands

Dr. Zeremariam Fre, the Consortium Leader and Principal investigator for the Social Protection in Inclusive Development in Afar (SPIDA-Ethiopia) had attended on the ‘Refining Impact Pathways of Research Projects’ workshop held in University of Leiden, the Netherland on October 16th 2015. The event organised by the NWO-WOTRO and INCLUDE was a continuation of the previous workshop held in Nairobi in May 2015 where the SPIDA project was represented by Dr. Zaid Negash, Project Principal Investigator and President of Adigrat University. The main focus of the Nairobi meeting was ‘how to involve policy makers to facilitate Research Uptake’.

The Leiden workshop is building up the previous partners gathering where the NWO-WOTRO research groups under INCLUDE are required to reflect on their “impact pathway” as part of the mid-term and/or final reviews. For the “Strategic Actors” and “Productive Employment” research groups the mid-term review already needs to be finalized in early 2016. In the case of SPIDA these are still early days the two years project just started but this gives team team a great opportunity to revisit our impact pathways, outputs, outcomes, indicators, impact and SMART objectives. An impact pathway specifies how the research activities result in outputs and can contribute to outcomes, with verifiable indicators for the output and outcome levels. To make the best use of this, during the session the research grantees were advised that it is important that research groups purposefully work with the impact pathway throughout the period of the research project.

A NWO-WOTRO official Han van Dijk gave us a two hour lecture on:  ‘Theory of Change and Impact Pathways in policy research projects’ and advised us to share such knowledge within our respective teams. After an introduction on the use of development concepts including the “theory of change” and “impact pathway” in NWO-WOTRO research programmes under INCLUDE, research groups jointly worked on the fine-tuning of outcome(s) and the concrete steps to be taken in realizing the desired outcome(s). Then the Research groups were invited to focus on a particular outcome (within their project) related to influencing policy processes, and also to consider the linkages between the research project and the recent Dutch Minister’s policy letter on inclusiveness.

More globally and in the context of the Dutch being the main funder, the Dutch expect that some of the outcomes of the study from SPIDA and the other project partners to contribute to the Dutch overseas development efforts in some way.   In connection with the above fostering local partnerships (academic institutions, NGOs, Local Government and other actors) and contributing to the local research agenda on Social Protection and policy formation is highly encouraged. In other words, local ownership of the research outcomes in an overarching objective is what participants need to pursue.

It is known that out of the seven winning proposals of the Social Protection projects two were from Ethiopia. SPIDA being the one with a consortium of PENHA, University College London (UCL) and Adigrat University of Ethiopia; the second is a consortium involving Mekelle University, Columbia University, Lingnan University, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Nyala Insurance Share Company and Relief Society of Tigray (REST). The partnership between SPIDA and ‘Weather Insurance for Ethiopian Farmers’ research grant being conducted by Mekelle University and its consortium is expected to promote mutual benefits and exchange of knowledge.

To read about SPIDA research project: SPIDA Overview

For further works of INCLUDE working conference please follow the link: Read more

For further works of The Netherlands Association of African Studies ((NVAS) where PENHA is a member, please follow the link: Read more