A blog by Research Manager Lucia Rost and Research Intern Sara Anderson.
Research and evaluations can be powerful tools in working towards social change. Plan International generates and uses evidence to improve programmes, influencing and resource mobilisation to advance children’s rights and equality for girls.
We involve young people in different stages of our research and evaluations initiatives. When updating our research and evaluations agenda 2017 – 2021, it was very important to us to learn from young people about their priorities for our research. It’s vital for us to serve the young people we work with and for, and so we ensure they’re consulted about their experiences and asked what they need each step of the way.
Developing the research and evaluations agenda
Our 2022 research and evaluations agenda has been created to support Plan International offices in choosing relevant research and evaluation topics that will support quality, evidence-based programmes and influencing.
We involved many colleagues from different offices and teams in developing the agenda and reviewed the literature relating to our key areas of work – our Areas of Global Distinctiveness.
After several months of consultations, we ended up with 16 priority topics for 2022 (see below) and a list of other important topics for further investigation in the long-term.
Priority topics for research and evaluations in 2022
Programming in urban contexts research to improve our programming in urban settings
Urban sponsorship research to inform future sponsorship models, so they adapt better to the specificities of working in urban contexts
Green skills survey to understand young people’s perspectives on green skills, training, job opportunities and their role in the transition to a green economy
School meal programming: research into integrating food security and child protection
Gender-transformative employment and entrepreneurship research to understand access to, and retention in, labour markets for diverse young women in rural contexts
Gender-transformative programming meta-evaluation to assess how our gender-transformative approach contributes to gender-transformative change
Gender inequalities compounded by conflict: research to inform gender-transformative programming in conflict contexts
Racism and colonialism in sponsorship: researching biases, criticisms and recommendations for sponsorship
The long-term effects of sponsorship on former sponsored children: research
Early childhood development at the nexus: research to understand how ECD interventions can be leveraged to promote peace and be adapted to fragile contexts
Gender-transformative parenting across the child’s life-course: research/evaluation to gather learning from programming
Integrated programming for child protection outcomes: evaluating our programmes
Adolescent life skills and parenting programme model and adolescent (girl) responsive programming programming toolkit: evaluate the impact, sustainability and scalability
Education uninterrupted: researching educational continuity in an uncertain world
Diagnosing and changing social and gender norms related to SRHR: research
Involving the Youth Research Community
To develop the priority list we also asked young people from our global online Youth Research Community about their priorities for research and evaluations.
The Youth Research Community is open to 15-24-year-olds living in any of the 75 countries where we work. It is an opportunity for young people to connect with us, to feed into our work, and to learn more about research by participating in online surveys, webinars or training workshops. During an interactive online workshop, youth participants from different countries – including Brazil, Cambodia, India, Indonesia Nigeria, Timor-Leste, the US and Zimbabwe – shared their thoughts on what areas we needed more evidence in.
Young people interested in climate change, education and mental health
We found that young people were especially interested in topics relating to youth activism, gender equality, climate change, education and mental health.
“[I am interested in] the green skills topic [linked] with gender inequalities, because women and girls are more affected by the climate changes, especially in access to food and environmental security”. Youth Research Community Participant, 15-24
“Education should be the foundation of raising understanding and awareness of our position as girls, as youth, or generally to shape the future.” Youth Research Community Participant, 15-24
“From my experiences, in South-East Asian countries, mental [health] issues still haven’t been taken seriously by parents, teachers, or elderly in the community … With COVID-19 and social media exposure, many young people … are losing themselves and chasing the unrealistic.” Youth Research Community Participant, 15-24