ELLA began in 2010 and has developed into a Network of fifteen partners spanning Latin America, Africa and South Asia. The Network conducts inter-regional comparative research, and runs exchange and learning programmes based on that research, with organisations and individuals from across the global south. The goal of the Network is to foster south-south learning that is sensitive to context, so that policymakers and practitioners can adapt knowledge from elsewhere to their own realities.
In the last six years, the research and exchange has centred on sustainable economic development, environmental management and governance issues. This has included work on the extractive industries, rural livelihoods, climate change, accountability systems, human rights, plus crime and violence.
The ELLA Network conducts inter-regional comparative research that is demand-led and policy relevant, through the synthesis of existing research, as well as original data collection and analysis. The research on each region is carried out by ‘paired’ research centres from each region. Our model typically involves four stages:
Identification of the topic:
Research questions are firmed up, engaging policymakers and other likely research users in the identification of questions that lend themselves to inter-regional research and lesson-learning. Questions are of a causal policy nature: what leads to what outcomes under which conditions?
The research design and methods are tailored to the research question. This may require the synthesis of existing knowledge and/or the use of qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods for original data collection and analysis.
Regional research is carried out by the relevant research partners in one or more regions, within a common research framework agreed by the partners, using comparable methods and data sources as far as possible.
Evidence from the different regions is brought together, typically using methods of similarity and difference, in order to draw out the inter-regional comparisons, conclusions and lessons.
Exchange and Learning
Based on the synthesis of existing knowledge and/or original research, the ELLA Network runs different activities to support access to and the assimilation of the research, so that this translates into meaningful knowledge that can be adapted, used and applied in different regional and country contexts. The main activities include:
Online Communities (ELLA Learning Alliances) – these bring together professional peers (typically some 150-300) from across the global south, from government, civil society, the research community and the private sector, in short structured exchange and learning programmes, in a private online interactive platform.
Learning Groups – groups of 10-12 people which track the online programmes, for stakeholders who prefer face-to-face learning, often linked via video conference to those in other countries and regions.
Study Tours – which enable small groups of 10-12 policymakers and practitioners to visit another region and learn first-hand from their counterparts regions, often following on from participation in the online community.
ELLA IN NUMBERS
15 partners in the ELLA Network from across Latin America, Africa and South Asia, with an enhanced capacity for inter-regional research collaboration, knowledge sharing across regions, to informing evidence- based policies and practices.
40+ Bursaries: ‘Learning into Practice’ Awards granted to support uptake and use of the ELLA research and learning.
200+ research papers and communication materials produced, including working papers, journal articles (forthcoming), guides,
briefs, research summaries, research organisation descriptions, online community highlights, videos, and infographics.
of ELLA research papers and communication materials from ELLA Network partners sites.
11 Study Tours organised to six different countries in Latin America, for over 100 participants, to study and see first-hand the region’s policy and practices at work.
researched on economic development, governance and social issues and environmental management.
3000 Participants organised in twelve online exchange and learning communities (ELLA Learning Alliances), promoting structured exchange and learning. Run over 3-6 months each, centred on online discussion and webinars based on the research.
100+ Development portals containing, referencing and linking to ELLA research and communication materials.
A summary of outputs, outcomes and impacts can be found here:
The research and learning has fed into African and Asian policies as broad as the social licensing of extractive investments, the development of contract farming, the combatting of violence against women, improved citizen oversight of budgets, and the formulation of climate change action plans. Although the funding of the Network has meant that learning to date has been more directed at African and South Asian countries, the Network is organised to facilitate horizontal learning across all regions. Impact examples:
Lessons and Reflections reports on the design and implementation of ELLA: