In the first of a series of blogs about our research on urban poverty in Uganda, Sophie King talks about the project’s inclusive research process and methodology:
In January 2016, a group of us came together to begin a process of co-producing knowledge on how governments can better support the improvement of living standards in Uganda’s informal settlements. Specifically, we are looking at the ways in which national and local government, usually in partnership with transnational actors, have gone about the delivery of water and sanitation projects in two divisions of Kampala and in two secondary towns. In the secondary towns, we are considering the outcomes achieved through the Transforming Settlements of the Urban Poor in Uganda (TSUPU) programme.
In an attempt to combine expertise in research methodology, urban planning, and social movement practice, our research partnership brings together a Western female academic, a Ugandan male academic, a team of NGO professionals from ACTogether Uganda, and leaders from the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda (NSDFU). Building on existing ESID research in India, our overarching research question has been:‘What shapes state vision, commitment, and capacity to reduce urban poverty in Ugandan towns and cities?’
Through a co-productive process, we hope to produce a richer understanding of ESID’s core research questions than a more extractive research strategy might have generated. In a sometimes
clumsy, necessarily adaptive, and occasionally systematic way, we are trying to move forward in a research team that reflects the composition of our overall partnership. Mistakes … we’ve
made a few. But we’re also excited and energised at the power of research to be transformative when it works this way. It is not easy, and with so many constraints on getting these kinds of projects financed and off the ground, we are lucky to have this opportunity.