center development services

Action Research

Donors and governments regularly commission CDS to conduct qualitative research in the field of development. Since 1991, CDS has been designing research methodologies that produce valid inferences about social and organizational life. CDS made its mark on participatory research in the MENA region by adapting participatory research methodologies such as Participatory Rapid Appraisal (PRA) into the Arabic language and culture.

CDS was, and still is, aiming to reverse the power structure in planning and undertaking research, away from the academic institutions and in favor of civil society organizations and community groups at the grassroots level, allowing them to learn about their own situations and enabling them to develop alternatives for action based on research results.

CDS has been enhancing the use of typical qualitative research tools such as semi-structured interviews, case studies and focus groups discussions; together with participatory tools using exercises such as mapping, developing chronology of events, trend analysis, and ranking accounts of the ways in which their lives have changed. In many cases we offer mixed approaches combining qualitative research tools with the use, whenever appropriate, of quantitative tools such as surveys and questionnaires.

Examples of our experience in Action Research include:

+Behavioral and Biological Surveillance Survey on AIDS Ministry of Health .
In collaboration with Family Health International, CDS conducted a national survey on AIDS for Egypt's Ministry of Health, focusing on 'Most at Risk Populations' (MARPs) specifically 'Men who have Sex with Men' (MSM), 'Female Sex Workers' (FSWs), 'Injecting Drug Users' (IDUs), and street children who are exposed to risky behaviors through their lives on the street. The survey's objectives included investigation into the level of knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS within MARPs and the practices and behavior amongst MARPs that increase the risk of HIV transmission. The data collected during the survey provided a database of information to raise the awareness of
MARPs with regards to HIV/AIDS; and the data gathered was and is used to work on the prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS and keeping Egypt a low prevalence country. Please find the publication of the research result in our publication list publications (2010-2011)

+Poultry Breeders' Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (KAP) to Bird-to-Bird Transmission of Avian Flu, DAI .
This research was undertaken by CDS under the "Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response", a USAID-funded project with Egypt's government. It aimed at providing sound information to enlighten the designing, planning, and implementation of future Avian Influenza interventions. The main objective of the research was to estimate the extent of interactions between humans and poultry, understand practices in poultry handling among villagers, and devise appropriate mass media, interpersonal communication and social mobilization campaigns to reach the desired objectives. This research served as the means to bridge the noted gap of understanding of the perceptions of rural farmers regarding AI, Avian Influenza H5N1 virus. The research utilized two types of assessment, qualitative and quantitative, and was carried out in seven different regions representative of Egypt where poultry breeders were targeted. (2009-2010)

+Asset-Based, Citizen-Driven Development Action Research, Ford Foundation.
This research project, conducted in partnership with the Coady Institute in Canada, aimed at documenting and analyzing the complementary policies and institutional environments for asset-based and citizen-driven development. The research design followed the general principles of an explanatory case study whereby multiple sources of evidence were drawn upon to assess the relative strength of, and relationship between, the different explanatory factors. Two publication, in both English and Arabic, were produced as result of the research. A publication documenting successful community development case studies and a toolkit for intermediary organizations to assist in planning, managing and evaluating development processes that are asset-based and community-driven. In the publication asset-based and citizen-driven development was outlined as an analytical framework or 'lens' from which to examine and interpret the case studies.. A web-based learning network of individuals and organizations interested in asset-based and citizen-driven development was also established. (2003-2005)

+National Research on Volunteerism in Egypt, UNV .
This national research on volunteerism in Egypt was a joint effort with United Nations Volunteers, United Nations Development Programs and the Youth Association for Population and Development. The research examined the state of volunteerism in the country, its definitions from the Egyptian perspective, why some people volunteer, obstacles volunteers face, the attitudes of individuals and NGOs toward volunteers, the perceived benefits of volunteerism and the economic contribution of volunteerism to the development of Egypt. The project also documented the potential of volunteerism and outlined directions and areas for future interventions for further enhancement of volunteerism in Egypt. A large amount of data was collected through a survey covering over 5000 individual and NGO' and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 60 individuals and organizations. The data was statistically using SPSS statistical software. The research covered eight Egyptian governorates namely: Greater Cairo, Alexandria, El-Minnia, Assuit, Sohag, Qena, Isamailia and Port Said. (2004-2005)

+The Development of Civil Society Index, World Alliance for Citizen's Participation .
In this project CDS gathered information and input on the state of civil society in Egypt from a broad range of civil society representatives, citizens, experts and researchers. Under a comprehensive framework of 72 indicators, the data gathered was analyzed and summarized in a visual graph called 'the Civil Society Diamond'. This graph was drawn around four critically important dimensions of civil society namely; 'structure', 'environment', 'values' and 'impact'. This study was conducted in Egypt for the World Alliance for Citizen's Participation , as part of a wider study being conducted across several countries in the world. The aim was two-fold. The first aim of the project is to create a body of knowledge about the characteristics, roles and impact of civil society in governance and development. This to inform the strategies and activities of the national and international community in advancing rights-based development and people's empowerment. The second aim of the project is to provide opportunities for civil society actors to come together to discuss and reflect on the current state of civil society and the challenges it faces as well as to jointly develop priorities for the future. (2003-2005)

+Egypt's Participatory Poverty Assessment, Egyptian Social Development Fund/ World Bank.
CDS undertook the first participatory poverty assessment in Egypt in 2000 for the Egyptian Social Development Fund with funding from the World Bank. The purpose of this "Consultation with the Poor" was to make sure the voices of the poor were heard and to identify solutions that stem from their reality.

As typical of all participatory research methods, CDS used a mix of research techniques to ensure the validity of the information gathered. In this study participatory research tools such as preference ranking, daily routine and social mapping, causal-impact analysis and livelihood analysis were used in focus group discussions. Semi-structured interview, and meetings with key informants were also conducted.

The research was carried out in both the North and the South of the country, along the familiar divide line of Upper versus Lower Egypt and in rural and urban settings.