Research partners from Australia and Bangladesh met in Dhaka in October 2018 for a workshop to form the research partnership. The workshop has been an important step in forming the research partnership and preparing detailed plans for the research. During the 3-day workshop we covered topics such as: overview of the research project; overview of the World Vision Bangladesh implemented SHOMOTA Project (Strengthening gender equality and social inclusion in WASH in Bangladesh) which this research is linked to. We also explored concepts of gender transformative change and social accountability in the Bangladeshi context. Through the meeting we prepared our Joint Research Plan and scheduled key research phases over the next 3 years. We also identified key strategies for communication and pathways to influence policy and programming.

We identified four spaces in which the research seeks to influence change:

  1. World Vision
    The research seeks to influence change at multiple levels of World Vision (project level, in Bangladesh and internationally) and across sectors relevant to this research: WASH, Citizen Voice and Action (social accountability) and gender and social inclusion.
  2. Governance of Bangladesh
    In line with the governance structure of Bangladesh, the research seeks to target influence at the local level, where SHOMOTA is implemented (UP level) and also create an enabling environment for change by working at higher levels.
  3. Sectors of WASH, social accountability and also gender and social inclusion
    We recognise that this influence will be achieved in the latter stages of the research project once research findings are established.
  4. Water for Women Fund
    The final space which this research seeks to influence is the Water for Women Fund, as part of a commitment to partnership and knowledge and learning exchange within the Fund.

As a group we identified principles to inform our partnership practice and what it would mean to put these principles into practice. Our principles of partnership are Respect | Trust | Coordination. Working in partnership is important to how we carry out the research and we will check quarterly to make sure we are putting the principles into practice.

On the last day we reflected on the value of the workshop, and that it provided: “opportunity to plan together and see joint efforts” | “lots of interaction” | “friendship” | “new beginnings” | “opportunity to decide fruits from our efforts” | “opportunity to benefit children who World Vision seeks to serve”