Supporting evidence-based decision-making: Capacity Building through Research

John Conallin, Nora Van Cauwenbergh, Nicolette Duncan, Win Win Zin, Zau Lunn, Htike Htike, Greg Martin, Thom Bogaard, Mario J. Franca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lack of data inhibits informed decision-making and is a critical challenge in developing countries, many of which are underresourced in financial, technical and institutional capacity to collect and analyse the required data. This limits the countries' ability to achieve development goals and keeps them dependent on the provision of external resources. Development initiatives often treat capacity building and research as two separate tracks of development. While efforts have been made in the health sector to combine these through project-based learning, this approach is relatively unexplored in the water sector which by its inter-sectoral nature stands to benefit significantly from a more collaborative and solution-oriented development strategy. Capacity Building through Research (CBtR) facilitates data collection and analysis by local researchers, mentored by international experts, strengthening local capacity to produce credible evidence able to inform sustainability-related decisionmaking. Five case studies piloting CBtR are discussed here and evaluated through criteria of the Dutch Strategy Evaluation Protocol framework. CBtR is shown to be a long-term strategy that requires the strengthening of cross-disciplinary networks to enhance the capacity of water management institutions, which likely contributes to more efficient evidence collection and analysis suitable for decision-makers, leading to greater national resilience and reduced need for external support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-838
Number of pages12
JournalWater Policy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2022


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