News | December 2, 2015

In June 2015, Making All Voices Count called for proposals from individuals, teams and organisations who wanted to understand more about the role technology could play in addressing governance challenges.

The call for proposals was divided into Research Grants and Practitioner Research and Learning Grants.  The successful Research Projects that came from this call were announced last month, and we’re excited now to announce seven Practitioner Research and Learning grants, providing opportunities for governance projects to reflect and learn from their own work.

“There is much talk about Doing Development Differently, Adaptive Programming, and Failing Fast – a lot of which assumes that practitioners have the resources and capacities to stop, to critically analyse, draw out and reflect upon what they could be learning, without the everyday pressures of things like reporting to donors on targets.

Findings emerging from one of our current research projects with  The Engine Room suggests that many organisations who are using technology tools in their work on transparency and accountability issues are often unable to do sufficient research to understand their intended users or the range of tools that might be available to them. Practitioner Research and Learning Grants are one way in which we hope to bridge that divide between research and practice.”

- Duncan Edwards, Research Manager, Making All Voices Count


What are Practitioner Research and Learning  Grants?

As most people leading a project that aims to transform governance in your community, state or country would acknowledge, learning is both a priority and a hugely under-resourced area of work. Most teams cannot afford the expertise to conduct self-critical enquiry into how they deliver governance or innovative tech-for-governance projects.

Grantees  will receive both funding and the opportunity to work with experts from our Research, Evidence and Learning team at the Institute for Development Studies, and our global research outreach team to do just that.

“Recognising that much governance work is emergent, and innovative use of technology in governance, even more so – we hope that the financial and mentoring support offered by Making All Voices Count can both help governance practitioners to reflect on, learn from, and adapt their practice to what are often complex and dynamic problems, and be able to contribute to a body of knowledge from which others might learn.”  - Duncan Edwards


How did we decide who to work with?

The Research, Evidence and Learning team reviewed a total of 131 concept note proposals for Practitioner Research and Learning Grants from individuals and organisations around the world, working in civil society, governmental, non-governmental and private sector organisations.

Grants were selected in line with Making All Voices Count’s Research and Evidence Strategy and a three-stage selection process (outlined at the end of this post).

Practitioner Research and Learning Grants selected for contracting, subject to due diligence are:

  • Exploring the Potential for Interactive Rural Radio to Improve Government Accountability and Responsiveness to Small-scale Farmers in Tanzania
    • Organisation: Farm Radio International
    • Amount: £27,045
  • Promoting Participatory Budgeting in Indonesia: A Reflection and Review of The Musrenbang Process in Solo and Other Cities
    • Organisation: Yayasan Kota Kita
    • Amount: £25,000
  • Co-operation: the vital missing ingredient in the government open data recipe
    • Organisation: Open Democracy Advice Centre
    • Amount: £25,000
  • The role of local churches in local-level social accountability and governance
    • Organisation: Tearfund
    • Amount: £24,870
  • Improving complaints referral mechanisms for greater accountability and transparency in Kenya
    • Organisation: Transparency International Kenya
    • £25,000
  • More Voices, Better Choices
    • Organisation: VOTO Mobile, in collaboration with the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development
    • £25,000
  • Citizen-generated data in the information ecosystem: exploring links for sustainable development
    • Organisation: Development Initiatives
    • £25,000


What the Practitioner Research and Learning Grants are exploring

These grants will help the project teams explore key themes relevant to their work contexts, as well as to the wider community of actors working in citizen voice and government responsiveness.

These include: open government and the role of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), ICT-mediated citizen engagement, representation and the role of intermediaries in citizen engagement, citizen-generated data and government responsiveness.

They will learn valuable lessons about their work in this field by asking some of the following questions:

  • Can interactive radio and mobile platforms effectively facilitate dialogue between farmers and agricultural policy-makers, and result in actions to meet farmers’ needs?
  • What technology innovations are contributing to effective participatory budgeting practices in Indonesia?
  • Can the OGP process enhance the potential for inter-departmental collaboration, or are domestic political forces too overwhelming?
  • What is the role of local churches in catalysing citizens to engage with their local government?
  • How can citizen-generated data lead to increased government responsiveness and accountability for resource allocation and service delivery?


Details of the original call can be found here.

Selection Process for Practitioner Research and Learning Grants

Research Grant process 2