Research & Development: What are we all about?
When done well, research is at the heart of progression and change in the development/humanitarian sector. The Research and Development (R&D) team at HAD advocate for the best development and humanitarian practices by integrating the knowledge of academics and practitioners, providing a space for collaboration.
The R&D Department at HAD support the sector by producing, managing and commissioning practice-relevant research and providing research-focused capacity-building for organisations and individuals. R&D work to contextualise, evaluate, inform and strengthen development and humanitarian projects, to guarantee the best outcomes for practitioners and beneficiaries in the sector and to ensure that programmes are informed by the real needs of those on the ground.
R&D’s Research Priorities
As a faith-inspired organisation, R&D take inspiration from Islam, and faith joins R&D’s six current research priorities which include conflict, migration, inequalities, nature and research and practice. Many R&D projects cut across several of these topics – such as our project on faith, gender and trauma response, which looks at conflict, migration, inequalities and faith.
HAD’s Research in Action
Some highlights of HAD’s recent R&D’s projects are:
- The Action on Climate Change and Consumption (ACC) project: which explored how religion and faith can drive positive behavioural change on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). The project culminated in progress towards SCP in 10 IR field offices and the creation of rooftop gardens/training centres in Bangladesh, India and Kenya. The project also had a capacity-building focus, training participants on how to establish their own rooftop gardens and how to incorporate SCP into their daily routines. HAD produced 4 research papers to support the 10 IR field offices for the duration of the project.
- The Domestic Programming project: which mapped the domestic programmes (DP’s) of seven IR country offices through a survey and interviews. It concluded with suggestions for the expansion of IR’s DP’s, in line with IRW’s Global Strategy commitments to expanding its domestic programming.
- The Keeping Faith in 2030 project: which facilitated international and cross-sectional exchange about the role of religion in defining, implementing, and safeguarding sustainable development, as codified in the SDGs. The project brought together research partners and non-academic institutions in Ethiopia, India, and the UK. The project was implemented in cooperation with academics from Leeds and SOAS.
Training and Capacity-Building
In addition to research, HAD run capacity-building programmes with a research focus. The aim of these programmes are to enable organisations and individuals to use research within their work. Recent research trainings delivered by the R&D Department include:
- Research-Focused Capacity Building in Gaziantep: a three-day training course delivered to the Syrian NGO Syria Bright Future (SBF). The training provided participants with an introduction to planning, preparing, conducting, analysing and writing up research on sensitive issues and under difficult conditions. In line with HAD’s capacity-building approach, the training is currently being followed with mentoring and coaching to ensure SBF’s capacity for research during the field research phase of the project is developed and maintained.
- Research workshop for PhD Students: an interactive workshop delivered to PhD students at the University of Birmingham. The workshop engaged with students on the importance of research in humanitarian work, and gave them the opportunity to put this into practice by working on a case study.
- Interactive sessions for HAD and IR UK: two-hour sessions on what research is (and what it isn’t), what contribution it can make to the sector, and how the work of the R&D Department can support other units within the IR family (and beyond)
We care deeply about research, development and humanitarian aid in R&D. We are proud to use our experience as researchers and practitioners, to help constantly improve practices in the sector, so that we can collectively make a change for people on the ground.
Written by Rebecca Fletcher
Research and Development Intern