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Linking Policy Research and Action
    Victoria L Grice, 2011/04/15 18:45:53

The Duke Center for International Development (DCID) and Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) introduced a new, pilot model that aims to link policy research expertise in the university with the policy priorities and needs of an NGO for the Summer 2009. This summer, four MIDP graduate students will intern with HFHI under this model, designed to produce benefits for the students, faculty and programs at DCID and HFHI policy and planning, as well as a research-action model that might have general applicability.

In 2008, DCID and HFHI officials agreed to explore a model that would enable faculty and students to work closely with HFHI on policy issues related to their mission “to eliminate poverty housing around the world and to make adequate housing a matter of conscience and action”.  Research focuses on medium term policy themes and priorities identified at a policy meeting in Atlanta last December, where Area Vice Presidents also indicated potential short term internship opportunities in their regions. The policy research and summer internship project is part of an institutional relationship formed between DCID and HFHI. This relationship provides an umbrella program under which specific forms of faculty advising, course development and faculty papers may be prepared and innovations may be tested. Summer internships focus on analysis of specific issues or cases that contribute to learning under the policy themes. An optional, one-credit independent study may be performed by the student during the fall semester to finalize a policy paper on the issue of their internship. The support system for summer internships is expanded to include additional requirements under this program.

Three of the Fellows will work the HFHI regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean, in conjunction with regional research teams. Louisa Dow, Gema Stratico and Francisco Duque will research the effectiveness of civil society strategies to reform public policies that improve the access of vulnerable people to adequate housing and secure land tenure in urban areas in the region. Each will focus on a sub theme - Gema Stratico on institutional and targeting issues in relation to equal access opportunities for women and vulnerable groups; Louisa Dow on multi-level in-country and country-regional alliances and networking to increase access to land and secure tenure; and Francisco Duque on the policy and legal framework in housing and land issues. Their studies will use cases from Mexico, Honduras, and Brazil. The research process and findings will be shared in country presentations in Mexico and Honduras, scheduled for the end of July 2009.

Jason Rodriguez has joined Habitat’s Africa and Middle East office in Pretoria, South Africa. His task is to participate in project and proposal development related to various housing-related issues such as access of vulnerable groups to land security and housing, delivery of complementary services such as water and sanitation, and housing finance. He is expected to travel to different areas in the region to gather research data.