Helpdesk Reports

These rapid-response reports provide digests of key research findings, lessons and expert thinking on specific questions from development practitioners and policymakers. They usually draw on 4.5 days of desk-based research. If your question is not already covered below, ask us for a report (free for DFID, DFAT and EC staff).

Developmental impacts of interventions to support legal migration

There is very little impact evaluation evidence of the developmental outcomes of interventions to support regular migration. The review identified only one migration intervention (the New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employment Programme) which had had rigorous impact evaluations conducted: the scheme was found to have positive impacts on employers, migrants and origin countries ...» more

Women and countering violent extremism

The experience of various women and CVE programmes confirms that women can and do play a significant role in P/CVE - but they need to be supported and empowered to do so. Key lessons emerging from experience to date include the following: Need for gender mainstreaming: It is important to consult women and involve them in programme design and implementation, carry out ...» more

Myanmar’s stabilisation challenges

The communities currently most at risk of, and affected by, conflict and violence are those living in the Kokang Self-Administered Zone and in other parts of northern Shan State. Other affected communities include those in Kachin, Rakhine, Chin and Kayin States. The community most affected by the threat of forced displacement is the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group, in Rakhine ...» more

Changing gender and social norms, attitudes and behaviours

This annotated bibliography presents studies of programmes that aim to bring about changes in gender and social norms, and changes in wider attitudes and behaviours. Much of the literature and some programme designs recognise the need to change social norms in order to change behaviours, such as HIV/AIDs prevention and better sanitation and hygiene. The report looks at ...» more

Transparency and performance

This report presents and discusses the evidence on impact from greater donor transparency, particularly in terms of accountability. In this report we distinguish between two types of aid information: information collected and disseminated by donor agencies about the results of their activities (looking closer at results based management), and information open to the public ...» more

Parliamentary transparency and accountability

This report presents and discusses what evidence exists about initiatives to promote transparency among legislators, members of parliament (MPs), and legislative processes and what impact this has had on legislative accountability. In this report we distinguish between two types of accountability: vertical (in which citizens play a direct role in holding the powerful to ...» more

Role of business in tackling modern slavery in supply chains

Key findings: Not much research has been done on business supply chain management and modern slavery: The available literature is extremely limited. Pressures on companies to tackle modern slavery in supply chains are increasing: These include growing consumer concerns about the issue, fears of reputational damage, the potential for companies to charge more for ‘slave ...» more

Gender norms in the Western Balkans

The Western Balkans remains a region dominated by patriarchal gender norms. The biggest challenge for improving gender equality is changing the mentality of women and men towards traditional gender roles (Petričević, 2012). The literature consistently identifies social attitudes as a barrier to increasing gender equality. Many people are not aware of women’s rights or gender ...» more

Economic drivers of conflict in the Western Balkans

This report looks at each of the six Western Balkans countries listed above, identifies the key economic challenges they face and assesses whether any of these are, or have the potential to become, drivers of conflict. The literature reviewed largely comprised reports from international development/finance organisations, notably the World Bank, IMF and European Commission, as ...» more

Disability in Syria

This rapid review is based on 5 days of desk-based research. It is designed to provide a brief overview of the key issues, and a summary of pertinent evidence found within the time permitted.  The literature was identified using two methods. Firstly, a number of experts (listed in Annex 1) were identified and contacted. They were asked to provide comments, references and ...» more

Current response to persecution of Christians in the Middle East

In 2016, various political bodies, including the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and UK Parliament, declared that the atrocities of the militant group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), against Christians, Yazidis, Shi’a Muslims and other religious minorities in areas under its control amount to genocide (Shea, 2016; Kraft and Manar, 2016; Ochab, 2016; USCIRF, ...» more

Donor work on security and justice in the Eastern Caribbean

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is a grouping of twenty countries in the Caribbean region, aimed at promoting economic integration, foreign policy coordination, human and social development, and security. The Eastern Caribbean comprises Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. These countries are also part of the ...» more

Civil society organisations supporting accountability in cash transfer programmes

This five day rapid review looks at the experiences globally of civil society organisations providing or supporting accountability mechanisms in cash transfer programmes. Bhargava and Raha’s (2015: 12) review of civil society engagement with cash transfer programme accountability found only few studies, suggesting to them that there is a significant knowledge gap. A mixture of ...» more

CSOs supporting accountability in cash transfer programmes

Cash transfer programmes, like most social protection programmes, are vulnerable to fraud, errors, corruption and misuse of funds, which undermine their achievements.  Civil society organisations (CSOs) have supported, or provided, accountability mechanisms in countries around the world: working to improve transparency to help citizens hold authorities accountable; checking ...» more

Dominant party systems and development programming

There is a lack of applied thinking or rigorous empirical investigation into how donors and the international community can work with dominant party systems to promote more responsive state-society relations, or other forms of development progress. Frequently cited examples of existing research are not based on recent, systematic comparative research and focus mainly on ...» more

Sustainable livelihoods in Ugandan refugee settings

Uganda has hosted refugees from neighbouring conflict-affect countries for several decades. Some research suggests that self-employed refugees are somewhat more successful than employed refugees, but there is little concrete evidence from Uganda that current refugee livelihood strategies are successfully fostering self-reliance and sustainable solutions. Most of the available ...» more

Effects of respect for international humanitarian law on displacement

Much of the literature agrees that violence against civilians is the primary driver of displacement. However, while a few causalities can be considered established, authors frequently note that findings are either correlations (rather than causalities), or that the causalities need clarification. High-quality literature on population movements has long demonstrated that, even ...» more

Decentralisation and cash transfer programmes

In many countries, national governments have delegated the implementation of public programmes, including cash transfers (CTs), to lower levels of the political administration. This rapid literature review found very little research or empirical evidence on the relationship between federal and provincial government in regard to cash transfer programmes. Much scholarship has ...» more