ANNUAL REPORT 2012
IMPACT AND LEARNING TEAM ACHIEVEMENTS
In the last year, the Impact and Learning Team (ILT) worked in partnership to develop systems and processes that strengthen learning, build capacity and advance our understanding of impact and strategic planning.
In addition to working with partners in Africa and South Asia, ILT supported teams across IDS to monitor our progress on the IDS Strategy 2010–2015. We also helped IRC, IFPRI and other partners to understand and foster environments for change and influence. Our key achievements this year include Facilitated Self-Evaluation. We have shared our work widely, developing a series of briefing papers, Practice Papers in Brief and launching the Impact and Learning blog. We also continue to contribute to debates around impact and learning at conferences and in key for a including the Research to Action blog and the Knowledge Brokers Forum.
ILT explores and strengthens the relationship between research evidence and quality decision-making processes. We explore how communicating research brings about change and how people and technology mediate between researchers and decision-makers.
Expanding knowledge networks
Building new relationships
ILT has led IDS involvement in K*, an international initiative that builds alliances between knowledge brokers in different sectors in developed and developing countries – drawing particularly on strong work in Canadian health and education sectors, and internationally in the environmental sustainability, agriculture and water sectors. The initiative builds on recent work undertaken by IDS Knowledge Services and partners on how ‘intermediaries’ can make knowledge more accessible, relevant and responsive to demand. ILT formed part of the K* International Advisory Committee, contributing to the preparation of an international conference in April 2012 and supporting the contribution of IDS Knowledge Services staff and their partners in developing countries.
Changing a thematic sector
Linking different perspectives
ILT worked with the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) to help develop a theory of change and learning approach that will better position IRC to influence policy and practice in the water sector. Their Sustainable Services at Scale (Triple-S) initiative aims to move away from project-based implementation of water systems towards indefinitely sustainable rural water services delivered at scale. ILT undertook action research including stakeholder interviews, qualitative document analysis, data synthesis and milestone-mapping. ILT also facilitated two learning retreats for key members of the IRC team, and shared its ownlearning about this process and its implications for the rural water sector on the Impact and Learning blog.
Experimenting with research communications
Being fit for purpose
In 2011–12, ILT and the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) undertook path-breaking researchto help optimise the impact of research communications on key actors in the development sector. We used an experimental design to test the impacts of three policy briefings that communicate 3ie research on a systematic review of agriculture and nutrition. This is the first time the effectiveness of policy briefs has been examined using this approach. The outcomes of the research were published as an open-source research report, and the findings were analysed in the Impact and Learning blog and in an edition of IDS Bulletin, 'Changing Focus: New Roles for Communication In Development?'
Deirdre Casella, Learning Workstream Leader, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
In 2011, ILT worked withour Triple-S team as an external learning facilitator, bringing an impartial perspective and rigorous methods to help us monitor and learn from our programmes. ILT helped us to make sense of the data sources we use to monitor and ensure the level of quality and rigour in our methods. As part of this, ILT conducted stakeholder interviews with Triple-S development partners, supported the uptake and use of methods by our Team members, such as Qualitative Document Assessment, and provided a data synthesis review.
IMPACT AND LEARNING TEAM >The Impact and Learning Team is exploring and testing approaches on how communication of research can bring about change - in particular, what happens when people and technology mediate between researchers and decision makers.
ILT explores and strengthens the relationship between research evidence and quality decision-making processes.