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Locally-led research for advocacy

Right2Grow believes in the power of local communities! Together we work on putting concrete solutions on the policy-making table. Before we can do that, we need to ensure that we have a solid understanding of the challenges these solutions are targeting. Right2Grow puts this into practice by developing an innovative locally-led research approach.

This approach takes the priorities of communities as a starting point. Together we map the challenges they face and the coping strategies that are used. This will bring us to the research question. Through this lens the root causes of the challenges are analyzed. Focus is on ending malnutrition, especially for the most vulnerable group, children, and the way WASH could accelerate this. The research aims at generating innovative ways that could have a direct policy impact on how this could be done.

The research will be conducted by a team of seasoned professionals, the "trio fantastico": a community knowledge holder, a researcher and a grassroot advocacy expert. They look at the research question from different angles as their knowledge has been build up in different contexts. Their combination of skills and experiences makes sure the full spectrum of challenges and their underlying dynamics is well understood.

The team will together conduct the research. In doing so, they are all on equal footing. When all three equally chip in, the research will achieve its intended result: answering a question that will help communities to become their own advocates for change. In doing so, we bridge the gap between theory and practice. No research about them, but with them!

Currently, teams in Mali and Uganda are conducting researches. From 2023 onwards, a third country will be added to this list. The methodology outlined before is in these cases explored and put to the test. Right2Grow will work towards presenting a community-led research methodology in 2024 that can inspire change in the way research is being conducted.

Research in Mali

Mali is still very much struggling with high levels of child malnutrition. To address this, Mali has developed the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Plan. This plan aims at guarantying the right to food as the foundation of well-being. Capsule-Community Nutrition Support Groups (CNSG) functions as the implementing mechanism of this plan. It ensures the policy's objectives are met. This is mainly aimed at preventing malnutrition among children and women.

Right2Grow in Mali will explore CNSG's role in improving nutrition and WASH indicators at community level in the Western region of Kayes. The trio fantastico will explore how communities' perceive CNSG and how they interact with the mechanism. Next to this, the way nutrition and WASH aspects were integrated in the establishment of CNSG will be scrutinized. This will build towards a better understanding of how CNSG functions and allow the team to identify gaps in its implementation.

Community-based approaches will be used to bring this information to the surface. Data will be collective through focus groups that will take place with members of CNSG, community leaders, direct users of CNSG services. Additionally, individual interviews with community and institutional actors will take place. The trio fantastico will combine these interviews combined with different sources of literature, such as media, to draw the final conclusions of the research.

These conclusions will inform advocacy at different levels of governance. Focus will be on how financial resources could be optimized in a way that improves the functioning of CNSG for communities. Here specific attention will be drawn to how CNSG can target the complexity of challenges being faced in an integrated way.

On the photo number 2 : “Trio Fantastico” in Mali

Local researcher: Samou DIARRA, Centre de santé de référence de Kayes

Local advocacy expert : Issouf TRAORE, SUN OSC Mali

Community knowledge holder: Adiaratou KONE

Research in Uganda

In Uganda, the nutrition situation of mothers and children is slowly, but steadily improving. The same goes for access to WASH. Evidence tells us that when women make decisions about how to use income at household level, better WASH and nutrition outcomes are observed. However, women do not always have access to the resources that will allow them to make those kinds of decisions that improve the well-being of their family. Gender norms and social constructs play a role here.

The trio fantastico In Uganda will examine how these gender dynamics shape women's access and utilization of WASH and Nutrition services. Interviews in the Nothern district of Bugweri and the Eastern district of Maracha have taken place in November 2022.

The findings of this research will be used to inform policy-making, specifically on how gender aspects can be integrated into WASH and nutrition service delivery to increase the uptake of these services among women. Furthermore, this study will improve CSOs' knowledge on gender issues and how these can influence access and utilization of services. Further programming can be informed by these lessons learned and best practices. Lastly, a budgetary component comes in to play as this research aims at improving gender response budgeting at national and local levels. Specific focus here will be on ensuring basic needs on WASH and nutrition are met.

On the photo number 1 : Kick Off meeting in Maracha Province

Interviewers training On the photo number 3

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