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Why is gender important? In smallholder research projects it is common to use “household typologies” to look at the impact of different interventions. The problem with this is that the household is treated as a single unit where the adults have equal control over resources (i.e. land, credit) and decision-making power and it is assumed that the impact of any change (positive or negative) is evenly distributed within the household. As a general rule, this isn’t the case! Therefore, instead of looking “at” households, researchers need to look “inside” them and engage with both men and women if they want…
By: Dr Lila Singh-Peterson, Research Fellow, USC Queensland I would like to take a few moments to explain why I think the role of social researchers in development projects is critically important. Firstly let me say that I am a social researcher, and I have been involved in ACIAR projects for the last few years, and in community development projects for far longer. In this blog (my first blog) I would like to reflect on my experiences co-developing a fruit project in Tonga. At this point in time, our multidisciplinary research team is working closely with in-country partners and communities to…
Thursday, 23 February 2017 00:00

Are we causing more harm than good?

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Reflections and ethical dilemmas from 8 years in African agricultural development. Helping – that’s why we do what we do. It’s the name of the game in R4D. Especially as researchers, we promise to cause no harm to those we interact with and set out with best intentions, but are we unintentionally causing harm in the communities we work in? As a background, since undertaking undergrad work experience in western Tanzania in 2009, I’ve floated around in agricultural R4D, working as a graduate officer at ACIAR and on an AYAD with the FAO in Ghana. I’m now finishing up my…
Friday, 17 February 2017 00:00

Swapping sides

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By Dave Shearer I worked with ACIAR for 10 years, doing some really interesting stuff in the early days of the agribusiness program and in the corporate turmoil as the aid budget ebbed and flowed in various policy spaces. In my early days, Minister Downer's foreign policy and aid integration set the scene that was very focused on economic development. This was excellent timing to align with ACIAR's commitment to the agribusiness program. We then moved through the Comprehensive Aid Policy Framework (CAPF) and at the end of my time with ACIAR we came out the other end with Foreign Minister Bishop's focus on…
English is the predominant language of science. For me it’s my first language but for many of my colleagues it is their second or third language. So, I ask myself, when working overseas, is it best to speak local or to speak English? When I volunteered in Laos, I was determined to learn the language so I could chat with my friends and colleagues, with tuk tuk drivers, watermelon farmers and, when needed, shout at the stray dogs in a language they understand. However, the more I’ve worked with people in places like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, I’ve realised…