Established in 2012, the BRAC-CEGA Learning Collaborative is a research partnership between CEGA and BRAC, the largest non-governmental development organization in the world. Headquartered in Bangladesh, BRAC currently supports social programs serving over 130 million people in 10 countries throughout Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Currently, CEGA works with BRAC’s International Office, with programs in Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Afghanistan.
The BCLC is committed to increasing rigorous program evaluation and professional development of the next research leaders within BRAC, in order to ensure that BRAC’s programs are grounded in and yield impact. It also aims to position BRAC as a thought leader in generating innovations for international development that can inspire policy change.
Through its core activities, the BCLC leverages BRAC’s wide operational footprint and local research capacity and taps CEGA’s competence in rigorous evaluation and economic analysis, as well as its infrastructure for university-based learning.
Anchor Funding for Research Initiatives: Periodic competitive requests for proposals identify and provide catalytic funding to 4-5 studies that evaluate BRAC programs. Each study is co-led by a BRAC staff researcher and a CEGA faculty affiliate. To date, the BCLC has funded 4 large-scale studies, including evaluations of migration assistance programs in Bangladesh, and BRAC’s flagship Targeting the Ultra Poor (TUP) program in South Sudan.
Professional Development: To develop additional expertise in designing and implementing rigorous evaluations, select BRAC research staff spend a semester at UC Berkeley. BRAC visiting scholars audit courses, present seminars, and work closely with CEGA researchers on new or ongoing projects. Each BRAC visiting researcher is paired with a faculty mentor as well as a PhD student or postdoctoral fellow, to provide peer mentoring and community support. Additionally, BRAC-CEGA sponsors executive training workshops on impact evaluation for BRAC program staff, in order to better facilitated evidence uptake. To date, the BCLC has hosted 10 BRAC-researcher fellowships.
Matchmaking: The BRAC-CEGA partnership was launched at UC Berkeley by bringing together researchers from BRAC country offices and CEGA faculty affiliates. Participants presented on past work, engaged in thematic brainstorming sessions, and identified new collaborative research opportunities. Ongoing matching activities connect BRAC program and research staff with CEGA faculty and graduate students based on shared programmatic interests and scientific expertise.
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