The Challenge Program on Water and Food: opportunities for adding value to experiences of using research for development (R4D)
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Hall, A. 2013. The Challenge Program on Water and Food: opportunities for adding value to experiences of using research for development (R4D). CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food. Colombo, Sri Lanka
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/33543
The Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) is approaching the end of a second five-year phase. A distinctive feature of the second phase of CPWF is its explicit use of a Research – for – Development (R4D) approach. The focus of this report is to explore the value of the lessons that this R4D experience holds for others and to suggest ways in which this experience could be leveraged in debates and practice beyond CPWF. This report is based on discussions with CPWF personnel during their 3rd Peer Assist meeting in Lima, Peru, June 2013, and a review of selected CPWF documents. The report is structured around a number of questions. CPWF has been an explicit attempt to reframe research on water and food with a developmental perspective. That is to say, research has been coupled with activities that enable the research to support innovation and change processes. The result of this reframing of research has been outcomes1 that are leading to tangible developmental impacts at scale. Viewed in this way it is possible to see that CPWF represents an important institutional innovation in the way international agricultural research is used as a tool in the development process. The program has labeled this way of conducting research as R4D. This places CPWF’s experiences in a wider, emerging school of agricultural practice that flags its ambition to go beyond knowledge production and leverage research to deliver development impacts (or, alternatively, placing research evidence within development processes). CPWF defines R4D as “an engagement process for understanding and addressing development challenges defined with stakeholders. Stakeholders are champions and partners in the research process as well as the change it aims to bring about.” In addition, I would add to this definition of R4D, “continuously learning how to do this”, implicit in the efforts that CPWF has made to support learning. Overall, this reflects the six key principles of R4D that CPWF has defined as emerging features of its R4D.