Thea Shahrokh - Research Officer
Participation Power and Social Change
Capacity Development; Children and Youth; Citizenship; Gender; Gender Justice; Governance; Collective Action; Democracy; Public Policy; MDGs and Post 2015; Post MDGs; Participatory methodologies; Politics and Power; Participation Power and Politics; Social Policy; Social Protection.
Latin America and the Caribbean; Sub Saharan Africa.
I have joined IDS as a Research Officer on the Participate initiative with over 5 years research and advocacy experience in the field of participation and democratic governance.
My commitment in this area is to those most marginalised, to ensuring that social change is transformative, and that social justice is embedded in the foundations of development. Within Participate I am working to support those closest to the research on the ground to develop and innovate methodologically, and also to drive the content and outcomes of the work.
I started my career as a researcher at Involve, a UK charity that explores the role of public participation and social accountability in decision-making. From here I have built a strong set of skills in facilitation of participatory action learning methodologies, and qualitative and participatory research. Participation in governance has remained a strong research interest of mine and I have since worked at the grassroots level with a range of movements and organisations in Guyana and at the INGO level with VSO international. In both contexts the work has been to understand and take action to address structural and systemic power imbalances that inhibit the participation and influence of those most marginalised in decision-making at every level of society.
My experience in Guyana grounded my interests in the role of participatory research in placing the perspectives and realities of the most marginalised at the centre of development. In particular the importance of articulating what change looks like in their context and how it can happen. Prior to my current work on the Participate initiative I was working with ODI's social development team. I was supporting both conceptual and methodological development of a participatory research project evaluating cash transfer programming from the perspectives of socially excluded groups.
My commitment to understanding the social and political dynamics of development is reflected by my academic background which presents both a focus on people (BSc in Psychology) and politics (MA in International Relations).
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