The Global Research on Inclusion and Disability (GRID) team explores the circumstances of social groups in low and middle income countries who are often forgotten in development initiatives. The social groups we work with are often poor and marginalized and rarely have an opportunity to express their needs and aspirations. In their own country or society they are stigmatized because of societal, cultural, or religious beliefs. To give them a voice our research team reaches out to them sometimes in the most challenging contexts where little social science research is happening. We posit that the relative ineffectiveness of aid will continue until local communities are systematically engaged and programs address the underlying factors that contribute to and sustain poor health, poverty and inequity. GRID proposes innovative strategies that promote genuine local ownership and leadership, focus on problem-solving, build capacity, and address underlying contextual factors that impede utilization such as unequal power relations.
We hypothesize that an approach that associates communities in needs (including the most vulnerable) and aid providers, contextualizes intervention and builds programs systematically will: (1) widen opportunities, (2) promote ownership of programs, (3) promote gender equality and empowerment, (4) optimize use of resources by adequately selecting needs, (5) develop participant capacity and skills, (6) facilitate evaluation processes and accountability to stakeholders, and (7) contribute to financial sustainability and activity continuity.
This website presents projects where our research has been interacting with these groups to identify opportunities to promote their wellbeing. Our goal is to provide evidence based information to policy makers and development actors to better tailor their programs towards those people who are often left out.