Three seemingly unrelated questions but, at their heart, is the issue being addressed by a major new research project, which will be launched by Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Civicus World Alliance for Citizenship Participation (based in South Africa), on the 21st March. The research programme - the Non-Governmental Public Action Research Programme (NGPA) - funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), aims to better understand the impact the activities of non-governmental agencies have on reducing poverty and exclusion, and in bringing about social change.
The programme is based at the London School of Economics and led by Professor Jude Howell of LSE’s Centre for Civil Society. It involves an investment by the ESRC of £5.2 million and so far 31 separate research projects have been commissioned. The programme offers fellowships for practitioners, a novel approach to bridging research and practice, as well as international visiting fellowships.
Professor Howell says: “Public action by and for disadvantaged people is increasingly significant at local and international levels. The focus of the programme takes in not just NGOs, but a broad range of formal and informal groups concerned with poverty reduction and social transformation – groups such as advocacy networks, campaigns and coalitions, trades unions, peace groups, social forums, rights-based groups, social movements and business in the community initiatives.
“The launch of this new programme is a recognition that these organisations are playing an increasingly important role at national and international level. This programme should enable us both to better understand how the process is working and also should equip governments and international organisations with the ability to better respond to the activities and aspirations of these groups.”
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