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Research on governance

Good governance ensures that women and men are able to participate freely in their political, social and economic development. We invest in research to understand more about how governance works across a range of countries, so that development resources can be used most effectively for the benefit of the poor.

Investing in research

Governance is not new nor is it related only to developing countries and international development. It applies to all countries and contexts and is essentially about how decisions are made and the process through which decisions are implemented. 

Without good governance, long-term poverty reduction is not possible. However, governance is a complex area that requires understanding of how power and politics are exercised and how countries manage resources in ways that can support sustainable development for all their citizens, particularly the poorest.

Good governance also requires donors and other development organisations to better understand local realities and ensure that aid money is used effectively at country level.

At Irish Aid, we support governance research that seeks to build this evidence. And we attach particular importance to research that takes account of the views and voices of local communities and individuals, women and men alike.

Without good governance, long-term poverty reduction is not possible.

Understanding links between governance and poverty reduction

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) with funding from Irish Aid, has conducted a large body of research on good governance, aid modalities and poverty reduction. A lot of important new thinking has emerged from the work.

For example, the research shows that the role of donors within aid partnerships is not just about money and that actively working to transform institutions and building relationships can be even more important for good governance. The entire body of work has been very influential in changing donor thinking and practice on how best to provide aid.

Understanding power and politics in Africa

We are also supporting innovative research on African power and politics that is looking at the experience of countries themselves and what is working well. The research shows that the knowledge and practice of governance is not the same across Africa.

Countries and systems are different and many show good performance and success. The programme is generating evidence and analysis of the forms of governance that can lead to better development results in Africa and will inform future country strategies of Irish Aid and the wider international community.

Supporting civil society partners

We recognise the important role that a vibrant and strong civil society can play in promoting good governance and development. With support from Irish Aid, Trócaire has carried out research on trends of civil society to serve as a catalyst for democratic change and effective governance across a broad range of countries.

This research has resulted in the development of policy recommendations on the protection of civil society space (PDF, 1.1mb)  that have been instrumental in national and international advocacy.

Our support for research

Learn more about how Irish Aid supports research