Collective Action

"Illuminating the Art of the Possible" – Lessons from Civil Society Organisations in Myanmar and Tonga

Institute DRP Recipient: Dr Michael O'Keefe and Dr Gillian Fletcher

Collaborators: NA

Funding: Disciplinary Research Program

Status: In Progress

This research project aims to examine crucial factors that play a role in the success of civil society in Asia Pacific. The field-based experience of Michael and Gillian leads them to recognise that successful civil society is built on 'the art of the possible'- an art that requires civil society organisations and networks to be continually adaptive, emergent, contextual, and politic. The project will focus on Myanmar and Tonga as examples of civil societies that, despite contrary perceptions, have successfully found space from which to generate positive change. Also, these countries have complex political settings, heavily affected by rapid economic, social and cultural change. The team will look at more than 150 civil society organisations and networks that connect to local NGO's in Myanmar. It also looks at networks of civil society groups in Tonga, which have engaged with the government and donors to tackle the challenges of political reform, particularly in relation to participatory politics and the involvement of youth and women.

Informal Networks in Non-Western Judiciaries - A Comparative Perspective

Institute DRP Recipient: Dr Raul Sanchez-Urribari

Collaborators: Alexander Stroh (GIGA) and Dr Bjoern Dressel (Crawford School, ANU)

Funding: Disciplinary Research Program

Status: In progress

This project explores the role of informal networks in judiciaries in non-Western countries: how they are configured between judiciaries and other elite actors, how these networks shape a variety of organisational behaviours (such as judicial appointments, patterns of judicial corruption, and reform and of the judiciary).

This project aims to make a seminal contribution to the study of law, politics and development from a comparative perspective and producing an innovative picture of the role of judicial networks in a variety of regime types and regions in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Partnerships for Effective Development

Institute Staff: Associate Professor Chris Roche, Fiona Deppeler

Collaborators: Linda Kelly (Praxis Consulting), Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)

Funding: ACFID

Status: Completed

Research was undertaken with ANGOs about current and emerging practices with respect to partnerships. The research identified that many NGOs are finding the tools they currently have for managing and implementing partnerships – often based on bilateral relationships and funding – are no longer 'fit for purpose'. In particular there appears to be a challenge around the development of individual and organisational skills to support managing effective partnerships and address asymmetries of power.ANGOs are not standing still. They are evolving towards an uncertain future in a variety of ways based on their own circumstances, the changing context, and institutional pressures and demands. The Final Report recommends that the next step for ANGOs is to collaborate on undertaking longitudinal research in order to understand the added value in existing partnerships. We suggest that there are a number of innovations in monitoring and evaluation, and tried and trusted processes of action research, which may be particularly useful for ANGOs to explore to assist in this endeavour. For more details, see the Final Report.