London, July 7, 2014 — Development experts from The Asia Foundation last week joined policymakers, practitioners, and academics at the London School of Economics’ Justice and Security Research Program (JSRP) for a conference titled, “Can Politics and Evidence Work Together in International Development? Insights from Security and Justice Programmes in Conflict-Affected Areas.” The conference drew from a multi-year research collaboration between the Foundation and JSRP on Theory of Change (ToC) approaches to international development practice.
Foundation and JSRP experts, together with thought-leaders such as Oxfam’s Duncan Green, debated on how working politically and evidence-based policy approaches might work together in international development and the trade-offs involved, especially in complex, conflict-affected environments. Foundation presenters included Country Representative for the Philippines Steven Rood; Senior Director for Public Sector Development Services Jaime Chua; Country Representative in Timor-Leste Susan Marx; Country Representative in Nepal George Varughese; Senior Director for Governance and Law Barbara Smith; and Regional Director for Conflict and Development Patrick Barron.
Launched in April 2012, the research collaboration between the Foundation and JSRP will allow for better integration of social science research findings into specific, tangible interventions for development practitioners. Development experts in Foundation country offices are working alongside researchers in analyzing their programs, including through Foundation staff authoring some of the working papers.
Researchers from JSRP have so far been hosted by Foundation country offices in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Philippines, Cambodia, and Pakistan. The joint project has produced 10 research reports so far, including an examination of community meditation and dispute resolution in Nepal and northern Sri Lanka, conflict management in Mindanao, and local governance reform in Timor-Leste, and has motivated further thematic research, including on the gender dynamics of community mediation in Sri Lanka, party politics in Nepal‘s mediation program, and land disputes in the Terai.
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