Photo of Erika Lopez-Franco, IDS Participation team Research Officer

Erika Lopez Franco - Research Officer



Erika conducts research and advocacy for the meaningful participation of vulnerable groups using a rights-based approach and a power analysis lens. After five years of work in the field of participation, Erika has a particular interest in exploring the meanings and pathways of accountability for the poorest and most marginalised.

This work takes place in the the contexts of increased inequality, resource exploitation, environmental damage, participation fatigue, the growth of ICTs and other digital technologies, and increased decentralisation. She asks what are the drivers, incentives, motivations and avenues that people are finding and creating to hold powerful public, private, formal and informal actors to account?

During her time at IDS, Erika has worked in a number of programmes. Within the Participate initiative she supported network members on methodological design and innovation and the implementation of research processes. She also took part in the meta-synthesis of the findings for a diverse range publications that were generated by the research. As part of the Valuing Volunteering project, she was involved in the learning and reflection process with VSO staff along with providing methodological guidance and support for the field-researchers.

Currently, Erika is the IDS lead of the learning component of the Citizen Engagement Programme (CEP) in Mozambique. Here she has conducted an Action Learning case study on citizenship building for accountability, has advised on the design of a learning system for actors from the district to the national level and also provides support to the programme’s advocacy strategies. Finally, Erika coordinates a research, learning and practice collaboration with Swiss Development Cooperation on Poverty, Politics and Power.

This project focuses on the need to consider and address intersecting inequalities – the spatial, economic and identity-based drivers of poverty and inequality - if the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to be successful.

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This Collaboration with the Quality Assurance (QA) Programme of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is now in its second phase, running until December 2017. The aim of the program is to improve the quality and effectiveness of SDC processes and operations focused on poverty.

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The Participatory Monitoring and Accountability (PMA) programme marks a new phase of the Participate initiative. It aims to foster and support PMA learning processes that enable citizen participation for accountability to be embedded in development policy and practice.

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Studies have shown that it is often wealthier people in a community who benefit from market approaches to combatting poverty – men more than women, non-disabled more than disabled. So how and to what extent can market-based solutions improve the lives of extremely poor people?

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The project aims to expand our knowledge of the specific attributes of volunteering as a development mechanism and the unique ways in which volunteering impacts on poverty.

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Ensuring that the most vulnerable and marginalised communities have the opportunity to shape post-2015 policymaking

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Report on the Deliberative Panel of the Market-based Solutions for the Extreme Poor Programme

This report describes the discussions held by a deliberative panel on disability in Uganda. The panel formed part of a wider research project on ‘market-based solutions for the extreme poor’ funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. More details

This is the front coverr to IDS Bulletin 46.5, 'What is the Unique Contribution of Volunteering to International Development?'

What is the Unique Contribution of Volunteering to International Development?

IDS Bulletin 46.5 (2015)

This IDS Bulletin is entirely based on the global action-research project Valuing Volunteering, commissioned by Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), a UK-based international volunteer cooperation organisation, and conducted by researchers at IDS in partnership with VSO. More details

This is the front cover to Achieving Meaningful Accountability for
People Living in Poverty and Marginalisation.

Achieving Meaningful Accountability for People Living in Poverty and Marginalisation

Participate Briefing (2015)

Meaningful accountability can shift power imbalances that prevent sustainable development for people living in poverty and marginalisation. Accountability consists of both the rights of citizens to make claims and demand a response, and the involvement of citizens in ensuring that related action is taken. More details

This is the cover to Citizen participation and accountability for sustainable development.

Citizen Participation and Accountability for Sustainable Development

IDS Report (2015)

This report articulates three strategies by which the poorest and most marginalised have attempted to ensure accountability from national and global policymakers to local people. More details

Report cover for joint IDS-VSO research on the role of volunteers in sustainable development.

The role of volunteering in sustainable development

This report shares findings from the global action research project, Valuing Volunteering which explores how and why volunteering contributes to poverty reduction and sustainable positive change, and the factors which prevent it from doing so. It reveals that volunteers can make a unique contribution towards efforts to end global poverty. More details

When people with disabilities drive research

15 Mar 2016
By Erika Lopez Franco

Thematic Expertise:
Capacity Development; Children and Youth; Disability and Development; Governance; Participatory methodologies; Politics and Power; Social Policy; Sustainable Development Goals; Post MDGs.

Geographic Expertise:
Latin America and the Caribbean; Mexico; Mozambique.