Undertaking participatory research for development
Promoting people-centred development research
People-centred research strategies can make important contributions to development, for example improving health in the context of environmental risk. Some key principles in the development and planning of such a research strategy are (1) Active participation of the beneficiaries in the identification, planning, execution, and monitoring of research and action strategies. (2) Identifying priority needs for research and assessing the capacity of the beneficiaries to participate. (3) Transferring appropriate technology and strengthening local technical capabilities. (4) Sustainability, replicability (via networking), and empowerment of beneficiaries to address their own problems. Such a research strategy allows people to take control of their own environmental circumstances and promotes self-reliant development.
To succeed in the field of development, research must go beyond the familiar format of hypothesis formulation and testing. Research must include action. The setting of the research agenda should go beyond the rather naive and simplistic format of "academics being supported by donors to produce research for use by policy-makers".
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.