A perennial challenge in policy, including that which drives international development programming, is the ability of research to influence practice. Often, good quality and well-intentioned research is welcomed by practitioners, yet fails to induce change (Eyben et al. 2015; Young 2008). For this reason, stories of successful research–practice collaborations are valuable for deepening understanding of what allows practitioners to apply research to real-world problems. Moreover, development programming has been criticised for often adopting technical approaches to complex reforms that fail to engage with the underlying drivers of the problem (Andrews et al. 2017; Booth and Unsworth 2014); and design standard interventions that do not invest in learning and adaptation about what works (Valters et al. 2016).
This learning note documents the research-to-practice experience of the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) Sierra Leone country programme – led by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) – and its partnership with Irish Aid, Concern International, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Save the Children.