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Action Research & Policy Advocacy

 

Public policies have a significant impact, directly or in subtle ways, on almost all factors that enable livelihood promotion. This relationship is even more profound when it concerns livelihoods of the vulnerable and marginalized community. Huge public investments for poverty alleviation, rural infrastructure, skill building, supporting self-employment and debt relief measures are some of the case in point. These policies and programs that derive from them are designed with several short term and long term objectives. Arguably, some of them have provided much needed welfare safety net and helped many households to acquire skills and productive assets. Many others have produced sub-optimal results. Often the programs fail to sustain benefit streams, reach the intended households or prove inadequate in terms of a holistic approach to livelihood promotion.

As a knowledge institution, ILRT is constantly striving to diagnose the causes for sub-optimal results. A combination of learning processes that includes Case Research, Action Research and Policy Research enables us to develop various knowledge products that not only helps practitioners improve livelihood promotion outcomes, but also allow policy makers to make informed evidence based policies.

Action Research projects are undertaken with the help of selected LPOs with requisite research capabilities. Thematic areas are identified based on the following criteria:

(i)  Geographies with incidence of endemic poverty,

(ii) Communities facing barriers in access to resources either due to environmental degradation or fierce competition from other resource users such as industries,

(iii) Existence of entrenched social and political barriers that prevent the poor from creating or benefitting from mainstream economic opportunities,

(iv) High proportion of marginalized tribal population, and

(v) Public policy malfunctions or institutional design inadequacies that hinder the cause of livelihood promotion.

Case Research methods are employed to document, analyse and share lessons from pioneering efforts where innovative design features are demonstrated. With ready access to a large number of field level projects of institutions from BASIX Social Enterprise Group, ILRT has undertaken case research on some the projects.

 

Six action research initiatives (laboratories) have been launched in various parts of the country, each exploring and testing new innovative approaches that address persistent problems in livelihood promotion. The thematic and segmental focus of these labs resonates with ILRTs priority areas – livelihoods based on (i) agri-value chains, (ii) forest produce with focus on tribal areas and (iii) natural resource management.