Our research influences government policy and NGO practice. For example, in Kenya, the government has committed to using our Clan Study as an induction document for staff going to work in North Eastern Kenya. In Malawi, our report on decentralisation has informed the government debate on decentralization in Malawi.
A Report on Community Based Voluntary Service Providers
Research as part of the Local Development Support Programme in Malawi, investigated the critical role of community-based Volunteer Service Providers (VSPs) in helping to deliver and ensure effective development interventions, and ensure the success of the interventions long after projects have ended.
malawi_a_report_on_community_based_voluntary_service_providers_sep_2010_1.pdf (PDF 3470kb)
A Study of the Economic And Social Impact of Three Irrigation Schemes in Dedza and Ntcheu Districts
Irrigation schemes are often seen as a significant investment in the improvement of rural farmers’ ability to increase agricultural production, reduce rural poverty and stimulate economic growth. Many assumptions are made about the social and economic benefits of rural irrigation schemes, particularly in feasibility studies commissioned as part of the project design.
This study aimed to assess the extent to which these assumptions are actually realised on the ground. Data gathered from field research and interviews of the people who were intended to benefit from three irrigation schemes in Malawi, was compared to the intended outcomes as stated in the original technical proposals and terms of reference for the schemes.
he_economic_and_social_impact_of_three_irrigation_schemes_in_dedza_and_ntcheu_districts_jun_2012.pdf (PDF 891kb)
A Toolkit for the Media on Disaster Risk Management in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is a country whose geography makes it particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. The media therefore have an instrumental role not only in reporting on the incidence of - and responses to - disaster but also, critically, of disseminating early warning messages and promoting preparedness measures. It is essential that media professionals have a strong knowledge base in the field of disaster risk management, to increase their effectiveness before and after the occurrence of natural disasters. This document, developed by a panel of Disaster Risk Management experts, seeks to address this need.
toolkit_for_the_media_disaster_risk_management.pdf (PDF 2644kb)
Africa Smalholder Farmers Group
Concern Universal has been a member of the Africa Smallholder Farmers Group since 2010. In February 2012 the African Smallholder Farmers Group (ASFG) responded to a UK parliamentary investigation into the integration of smallholder farmers into supply chains. This document details our - and other members' - experience and learning on identifying supply chain opportunities, the inclusion of marginalised producers and the role of civil society organisations in linking marginalised farmers to supply chains.
All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Agriculture and Food for Development
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Agriculture and Food for Development was established in 2008. The group launched a nine-month inquiry into the role of the UK in Global Food Security in 2009 which culminated in the report entitled ‘Why no thought for Food?’, released in 2010. The report recommended that DFID re-establish agriculture and food at the centre of their fight against poverty, re-focus on agricultural education and extension, and legislate for change.
In 2010 the APPG launched a new Inquiry exploring how the UK is helping to meet the MDGs by revitalising sustainable agriculture and improving global food security in both the short and longer term. The Inquiry sought to identify international examples of best practice and consider how the UK might use these to aid its own work in these areas.
Concern Universal submitted a response to the inquiry responding to two key questions:
1. What is it that smallholder farmers and developing nations want from DFID and the UK?
2. How can smallholder farmers participate in, and help define, an agricultural agenda that is more in accordance with their needs?
all_concern_universal_contribution_to_the_appg__nov_2010_1.pdf (PDF 169kb)
Bangladesh: Environment and Climate Change: Understanding the science, impacts & adaptation
Acknowledging that knowledge of and responses to climate change in Bangladesh were patchy, Concern Universal undertook to collate a range of relevant existing information on climate change. This document proceeds from the belief that understanding the science of climate change is essential to enable effective engagement with its implications for development.
bangladesh_environment_and_climate_change.pdf (PDF 5733kb)
Climate Change Economics in Bangladesh
Climate change presents significant challenges to the future development of Bangladesh. The Planning Commission of Bangladesh, UNDP, UNEP and SANDEE organized a joint workshop on the 13-14 October 2009 to discuss emerging issues related to the economics of climate change in Bangladesh. Concern Universal played an active part in these discussions.
bangladesh_climate_change_economics_in_bangladesh_a_policy_note_nov_2009.pdf (PDF 127kb)
Climate Change in Africa
In 2009 Concern Universal worked with FARM Africa, Find Your Feet, Utviklingsfondet (The Development Fund) and Self Help Africa to produce the Climate Frontline report.
As concern about climate change rises, Climate Frontline investigates the scale of the problem, both overall and in Africa. It is unique in allowing the voices of men and women in vulnerable African communities to be heard about how climate change is affecting their lives and how they are adapting to survive. Climate Frontline focuses on farmers affected by changes to climate in The Gambia, Ghana, Togo, Ethiopia, Somaliland, Kenya, Zambia and Malawi.
africa_climate_frontline_african_communities_adapting_to_survive_2009_1.pdf (PDF 10730kb)
Concern Universal Disaster Risk Reduction Policy
Concern Universal has channelled €8.8million towards 31 disaster risk reduction projects over the past three years. Our experience on community-managed disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation are presented in in our Disaster Risk Reduction Policy note.
Concern Universal’s disaster risk reduction work is guided by the principles and objectives of the Hyogo Framework, understanding that DRR and long-term development must work hand in hand. Based on the Hyogo principles and CU’s own programming experience, section three outlines the seven key guiding principles behind good DRR programme planning. In summary these are:
1. Disaster risk reduction must be community managed
2. Development programmes working in disaster prone areas must ensure that all infrastructure is disaster-resilient
3. Sustainable livelihoods are a key part of DRR work and should be prioritised
4. Working in partnership and with the co-operation of a range of stakeholders will improve the sustainability of DRR work.
5. Programmes need to ensure stakeholders see disasters as long-term and recurrent and that promoting DRR is an investment for the future.
6. DRR programmes must be gender-sensitive and include a communications (awareness-raising) strategy that will work with young people
7. Incorporating advocacy and lobbying in to DRR work will enhance effectiveness.
concern_universal_drr_policy_note_v1_1_oct10.pdf (PDF 957kb)
Improved Cookstoves Full Report 2012
Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) have faced a revival in recent years due to evidence that their improved combustion properties yield various health, environmental, economic and social benefits. This has led NGOs, governments, UN agencies, the World Bank, and donors such as Irish Aid to support ICS programmes.
Given that there has been little research on the socio-cultural issues surrounding cooking, Concern Universal commissioned the following study to assess the socio-cultural acceptability of ICS in five rural Malawian villages in Mulanje, Dedza and Balaka districts, with the aim to learn lessons about the efficiency, effectiveness, acceptance and usage of ICS in rural Malawi.
Improved Cookstoves Full Report 2012 (PDF 3687kb)
Investigating Malaria Prevalence in Phalombe District- Malawi
Malaria accounts for around 40% of all outpatient visits to health centers across Malawi and is a significant cause of reduced productivity and earnings. The following study attempted to assess the effectiveness of a four-year malaria prevention project which was led by Concern Universal and funded by USAID in Phalombe District, Malawi. The project ran from 2008 to 2012, and its effectiveness was largely assessed by recording the change in malaria prevalence in the region from 2007-12, using monthly time-series data collected from 15 hospitals.
malawi_investigating_malaria_prevalence_in_phalombe_district_jul_2012_1.pdf (PDF 508kb)
Malawi Agriculture - Local Development Support Programme
As part of the Irish Aid-funded Local Development Support Programme (LDSP) in Malawi, programme participants were interviewed to capture their opinions of what changes they observed in their lives as a result of being involved in the LDSP agriculture component. This short briefing paper presents the main findings of those interviews.
malawi_concern_universal_ldsp_programme_agriculture_briefing_note_1__1.pdf (PDF 399kb)
Prevention of Cross-Border Trafficking in Women and Children between Bangladesh and West Bengal
Trafficking is a fast-growing criminal industry, which thrives in conditions of poverty and exploits vulnerable women and children. This report, which forms part of the 'Prevention of Cross-Border Trafficking in Women and Children between Bangladesh and West Bengal, India (C-BAT)', details the findings of recent research. These suggest that trafficking is interlinked with social, economic and geo-political issues and requires rights-based programme interventions in response.
trafficking_report_09_1.pdf (PDF 8525kb)
Study on Informal and Non-Formal Rural Financial Services
Due to the numerous economic activities which occur in rural areas, access to a diverse set of financial services - such as savings, transfers and insurance - are imperative in isolated, rural households. Using research collected from focus group discussions and interviews in Dedza and Balaka districts, Concern Universal commissioned the following qualitative study into informal and non-formal, rural financial services with the overall objective to assess the opportunities for enhancing non-formal financial services in rural Malawi for the benefit of marginalized households.
_universal_malawi_study_on_informal_and_non-formal_rural_financial_services_full_report_jun_2012.pdf (PDF 1396kb)
Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy 2012-2015
Making our Community Ready
Concern Universal defines Disaster Risk Reduction as a process of reducing risks for people and communities through actions that minimize their vulnerability to, and maximize their capacity to cope with, a human-made or natural hazard.
Our vision, made operational through three objectives, is that communities we work with are resilient to disasters, have coping strategies in place that enable them to recover from predicted disasters and are able to adapt their livelihoods to a changing climate.
This strategy brings together over 10 years’ experience on disaster risk reduction programming and policy analysis at Concern Universal, drawing heavily on our work that improves livelihoods and reduces vulnerability as a key coping mechanism for building resilience.
The strategy defines what we believe are the key interventions necessary to reduce
vulnerability in the communities where we work.
making_our_community_ready_strategy_2012_15.pdf (PDF 396kb)
Get the latest updates from our programme in The Gambia and Senegal.
Newsletter (PDF 551kb)
Ghana Annual Report
Read our Ghana Annual Report 2010
Ghana Annual Report 2010 (PDF 16877kb)
Ghana Country Strategy
Find out more about our Ghana programme by reading the Country Strategy below
Country Strategy Paper (PDF 9929kb)
Ghana Impact Assessment 2011
In April 2011 Concern Universal Ghana and local partner organisation Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC) conducted a field based impact study of an environmental conservation and livelihoods programme (Rural Environmental Empowerment Project – REEP) in the Brong Ahafo region of western Ghana.
The study field work was conducted over five days in 14 out of the 51 project villages.
Rural Environmental Empowerment Project (REEP)
The overall objective of the REEP project was to reduce poverty by empowering communities toward environmentally sustainable development and resource management. This was to be achieved by increasing environmental conservation and awareness among rural communities through participatory analysis of environmental problems and potential solutions, and the promotion of sustainable livelihood options. The project aimed to promote local actions which would reverse the trend of diminishing natural resources and bio-diversity in Brong-Ahafo region.
Ghana Impact Assessment 2011 (PDF 1577kb)
Improving business markets for smallholder farmers in Ghana
A new project just launched in Ghana is improving the way smllholder farmers market and sell their produce. Read more about the Development of Market Access and Postharvest Services for Smallholder (D-MAPS) farmers in Brong Ahafo.
D_MAPS Project (PDF 1966kb)
Concern Universal Kenya Strategic Plan
Concern Universal Kenya (CUK) was registered in Kenya in 2001 as a relief and development Organization. Focusing currently on Arid and Semi Arid areas, the scope of CUK’s programme covers 8 counties, within the Eastern and Rift Valley provinces of Kenya. CUK works through National Civil Society Organisations, Government departments and Communities, on sustainable development and disaster risk reduction initiatives.
This Strategic Plan (2011-2015) draws on the experience of CUK’s senior management team, its Board members and the lessons learned over the years by both CUK and its Implementing Partners. A Strategic Planning workshop, held at the Karen Country Lodge on the 29th of April 2011, synthesized and collated the many ideas, lessons, challenges and the different perspectives on both the external and internal environments in which CUK works, and culminated in the production of this document.
Concern Universal Kenya Strategic Plan 2011-2015
This document provides a quick reference to matrix tool. Read more about the way we are working in Kenya, and when the work will be carried out.
CU Kenya Strategy Matrix
CU Kenya on a page
Find out more about Concern Universal Kenya programme
CU Kenya on a page
A Review of The Malawi Decentralisation Process
Concern Universal and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Malawi conducted a review to assess the extent to which the National Decentralisation Policy and the Local Government Act had transferred some of the Central Government functions to local authorities with the aim of improving people’s welfare.
Decentralisation process (PDF 2231kb)
Malawi Country Strategy 2011-2016
Concern Universal began working in Malawi in 1988, initially focusing on supporting the Mozambican refugee population and their Malawian hosts in the Dedza area.
Today CU is one of Malawi’s largest NGOs, working in partnership with District Councils and communities to implement development interventions reaching over 300,000 rural people each year.
Over the past twenty years we have gained significant experience across a range of areas including agriculture; climate change and disaster risk management; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); microfinance; malaria prevention and control; community mobilisation and capacity building at District, Sub-District and
Community level; and cross-cutting work on HIV/AIDS, Gender, Rights and Environment.
Read our Country Strategy to find out how we will continue working to improve people's lives in Malawi.
Malawi Country Strategy (PDF 1253kb)
Conservation Agriculture Research Study
The following study was commissioned by Concern Universal and the Ministry of Agriculture & Food Security (MoFAS) in Malawi, to assess the appropriateness and viability of conservation agriculture as a technological approach to increasing the agricultural production of smallholder vulnerable households in Malawi.
Conservation Agriculture Report (PDF 1291kb)
Malawi Impact Assessment- Food Security & Livelihoods 2010
Long term Impact Assessment of Food Security and Sustainable Livelihoods projects in T.A. Kachere, Dedza District, Malawi 2010
Food Security & Sustainable Livelihoods Assessment 2010 (PDF 684kb)
Malawi Impact Report 2010
CU has conducted humanitarian and development work in Malawi for more than 20
years. In 2010, CU in Malawi managed more than 10 projects/programmes with budgets ranging from £34,000 ($54,700) to £5,53million ($8.9 million) with 320 staff employed.
Several external evaluations show CU to be cost effective; ensuring funds
expended are invested in activities and resources that help as many people as possible,and maintains its administrative costs at just over 8%.
Malawi Impact Report 2010 (PDF 1658kb)