Our Community

Our Community
Participants at the ACFID University Conference at Monash University in 2015

The RDI Network is made of individuals who share an interest in research for impact in international development.

Our community includes NGO staff, academics, consultants, policy makers, students and more.

To join the RDI Network community, become a member today. Or, to find out more, contact us.

To get to know our community, find below some brief interviews with some of our members.

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Dr Nick Brown
Research Coordinator at Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Australia
September 2016

What are you currently working on?
At the moment, EWB’s final year research program has 51 students conducting much needed research in areas such as household scale biodigesters for refugee camps in Jordan, waste incineration in complex environments in Cambodia, and structural strengthening of houses in typhoon risk areas of Vietnam. Research outcomes will help our partners overseas and at home.

At the same time our in-house research team are conducting a two year investigation, sponsored by the Origin Foundation, into how humanitarian principles might be used to attract more women into engineering

Why did you originally get involved with the RDI Network?
I am always looking to ensure the research work we do has maximum impact for the communities we work with as well as nurturing future development engineering leaders. As the RDI Network sits at that perfect nexus between research and development it provides a great place to learn more from other members as well as hearing about best practice and innovative ideas coming out of the sector.

What is the greatest potential of the Network to have impact in international development?
I think that the Network provides a platform for generating and disseminating leading practice for research for development outcomes in Australia. I have found that whilst there are papers and reports generated from research projects there are so many more lessons learnt. If the sharing of these lessons learnt both informally and through best practice leads to better development outcomes, then the Network will have proved the impact that it can have.
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Stacey Sawchuk
Pacific Resilience Coordinator at ActionAid Australia.
April 2017

What are you currently working on?

The Shifting the Power Coalition, which was formed in 2016 across the Pacific to catalyse localised gender responsive humanitarian action with a specific goal of strengthening Pacific women’s leadership in emergencies, including disaster preparedness, response and recovery. We are building on the existing capabilities of women frontline responders, who play a vital role in supporting the most vulnerable and in ensuring the food security of families and communities in times of crises.

What do you think is the most valuable aspect of the Network?

The learning forums and workshops have been useful for me as my role covers different thematic areas such as climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, humanitarian response, accountability and women’s rights. It also provides networking opportunities to engage directly with Australian and regional researchers and practitioners.

Can you provide an example of cross-sector collaboration contributing to impact in your work?

ActionAid Australia and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) developed the first ever South Asia Women’s Resilience Index. The Index examines the role of women in preparing for and recovering from disasters, clearly highlights that most South Asian countries fare poorly in considering women in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and resilience building, and that significant gaps between policy and practice are undermining women’s disaster resilience across the region.  It also highlights the vicious circle of vulnerability and disempowerment that results from women’s capacity to build resilience not being realised.

 

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Associate Professor Chris Roche
Director of the Institute for Human Security and Social Change at La Trobe University
February 2017

What are you currently working on?

Major projects at the moment include: undertaking synthesis of 10 years of Developmental Leadership Program research; designing and delivering a professional development program with ACFID called ‘Making Change Happen; establishing a Knowledge Platform as part of the PNG Governance Facility; and exploring an ARC linkage project on transformational change and International NGOs, building on research done last year with some ACFID members.

Why did you originally get involved with the RDI Network?
La Trobe was one of the founding members of the network and I was involved in the very first conference at La Trobe. I also was working at Oxfam Australia at the time in a role that sought to bridge research and practice.

What do you think is the most valuable aspect of the Network?

The fact that it brings theory and practice together. The potential of the network to generate and share evidence and lessons on the practice of transformational and sustainable development is huge and could shape how such processes are best supported for decades to come.

Can you provide an example of cross-sector collaboration contributing to impact in your work?

I think the collaboration between La Trobe and ACFID to design and deliver the Making Change Happen program is significant. It provides practitioners with access to the latest research, and the space and time to reflect upon their own experiences. It is already having a significant impact on participants.