Global Community Action Guides to Support Community Organizers

The International Accountability Project (IAP), a member of the Monitoring Working Group of ESCR-Net, is excited to share three new materials on Community-led Research, part of their new series of Global Community Action Guides.

These materials provide:

  • concrete step-by-step guidance on how communities can lead their own research to determine their own development priorities, and respond to unwanted development projects;
  • practical tips, tools, and activities on conducting community-led research; and
  • inspiring stories from experienced community organizers around the world who have used community-led research to redefine development processes.

Community members, organizers, and civil society representatives can use these materials to mobilize communities, document harms and rights violations, and advance community-led campaigns.

1) The Community Action Guide on Community-led Research provides clear and detailed guidance on each step of the research process, and suggests activities and tools to build capacity and advance community-led methods. This booklet also includes information on safety and security, and the stories of three community organizers who used community-led research to support community advocacy.

2) We’re Experts Too! A Checklist to Support Community-led Research presents a concise overview of community-led research. Breaking down the process into clear steps from preparation to implementation to advocacy, the Checklist can be used on its own, or as a supplement to the Community Action Guide on Community-Led Research. This booklet also includes links to resources and tools to further illustrate each step.

3) The Survey Template for Community-led Research contains instructions and sample survey questions that have been developed and used by communities and civil society partners in 14 countries around the world. These questions were designed to help communities explore their direct experiences and expertise about the process and impact of destructive development projects, and to identify their ideas and priorities for their visions of development. This template can be adapted and translated to fit different contexts, with an editable version available for download here.

IAP believes that by supporting communities to collect data based on their local expertise, knowledge, and experience, we can collectively challenge power imbalances and ensure that development is more inclusive, sustainable, and reflects the priorities of the people. IAP has documented some of the experiences of communities around the world who are using community-led research to respond to unwanted development:

In Malawi, the results of the community-led research strongly influenced the potential financiers of the Lilongwe Water Project to pull out of the project, and further empowered community-led interventions with the Government of Malawi to address issues of consultation and resettlement.

In Sri Lanka, fisherfolk communities used IAP’s tools to demand access to information, meaningful consultation and participation in an infrastructure project proposed by the Asian Development Bank, and mobilized to ensure community needs and priorities define development.

In Panama, inhabitants from Colón used community-led research to determine the community’s opinions and engagement with a liquefied natural gas project financed by the International Finance Corporation. The results helped the community decide on the most strategic response to this project, and revealed a lack of consultation and access to information, and safety and security concerns.

Read more here