Bangladesh - Pro-poor reserach education linkage development: The case of the PETRRA Project
Primary thematic focus: Sub-national capacity development: local solutions, national strengths
In a Nutshell:
IRRI-PETRRA project developed a model research-education linkage was developed amongst farmers, NGOs, universities and national-international agricultural research institutes that ensured pro-poor impact on the livelihoods of the poor farmers. Farmers' demand was used to conduct graduate research (MS & PhD) by university teachers and NGO practitioners jointly.
PETRRA, an IRRI managed and DFID funded, agricultural research and PETRRA project was implemented in Bangladesh for five years during 1999-2004. It commissioned 45 sub-projects in the field of rice-based agricultural technology development, extension method and pro-poor policy. Capacity development was a strong component in these sub-projects to complement sub-project objectives of pr-poor impact. Graduate research-education (MS and PhD) linkage was a strong component to enhance capacity of the young researchers and development workers from research and development organizations.
Traditionally in research projects there was no clear link between accomplishment of the project objective and the graduate training in Bangladesh. In PETRRA this was introduced for the first time to ensure direct impact of the graduate education to poverty elimination of the poor farmers. Students and teachers in the universities (national and overseas) had the opportunity to be exposed to practical problems of the poor farmers. NGOs who assisted farmers had the opportunity to get first hand research result that they could use immediately in the field.
NGOs: RDRS Bangladesh, Proshika
Universities: Bangladesh Agricultural University, Bangabandhu Shaikh Mujib Agril University; Bangladesh Rice Research Institute etc.
Sub-projects were commissioned on a competitive basis on reserachable issues that were identified based on stakeholder analyses conducted nationwide. Partners, after starting their research sub-projects proposed a list of young researchers to be trained under MS/PhD program. Selected researchers then established linkage with (mostly) a national university for registration. Researchers then selected a research topic based on intensive discussion with the poor farmers group in a particular research site managed mostly by an NGO. There were always two supervisors, one from an NGO and one from the university. Researchers then developed their research design in consultation with the farmers in a particular rural research site under a particular PETRRA sub-project. Research was conducted on a participatory basis. Research results were shared with the community time to time. Concerned NGOs also took note of the research development on a regular basis. Final research result had to be jointly shared by the researcher, participating famers, the community and the university. Research recommendations were immediately utilized by the concerned sub-project to achieve better sub-project outputs. The concerned NGOs who organized farmers to work as participating farmers had utilized the result to further develop and plan agricultural programs and scaled-up within the organization.
Results and Critical Factors:
About 70 MS thesis and 10 PhD thesis were produced; most of them had been useful and contributed to the pro-poor impact; University had to be flexible to allow farmer-participatory research; allowed NGOs' personnel to supervise the research; NGO and the university had to sign memorandum of understanding for such initiatives; Research institutes had to accept the concept of farmers participatory research; Farmers had to be convinced that the research will directly contribute to achieve some forms of livelihoods outcome.
Name of Primary Contact Person: Ahmad Salahuddin
Title of Primary Contact Person: Consultant