The six core themes of research are as follows.
This theme explores the organization of economic activity in rural and urban settings at the macro-, meso- and micro-scales of analysis. APPRO views the political economy as a product of the interactions between various economic actors with vested interests constrained or enabled by different contextual factors. Effecting change in the political economy thus requires in-depth understanding of the physical and material conditions, demographic features, and the manner in which policy decisions are made. To date, APPRO has carried out a number of research projects on informal labor markets, business climate, micro enterprises, urban economic development, service provision in urban areas, rural economic development, migration and economic development, climate change and rural food security, domestic and international trade, women in business, corruption, and value chain analysis of agricultural products.
The scale of analysis ranges from organizational, e.g., enterprise production, to sub-national, national, and international. At all scales of analysis a value chain approach is adopted to map and analyze processes in their entirety to establish where efficiencies can be incorporated into the system, how equity in production and resource use can be increased, and how adverse environmental and social impacts can be eliminated, minimized or managed. To date APPRO has applied this approach to examining the impact of climate change on agricultural production, gender and agricultural production, micro foundations of value chains, realignment of domestic products’ markets, and the agricultural innovation systems of selected products. These studies have focused on the innovative capacity, coping strategies, and system resiliencies and potential for expansion and growth. See Publications for sample reports.
This theme examines the dynamics of societal and organizational transformation toward a legitimate, democratic, inclusive, and sustainable mode of governance, paying particular attention to the formal and informal institutions through which governance is exercised, changes that result in a more legitimacy for the government, and efforts likely to increase general consent about and legitimacy of the governing bodies. Studies under this theme place particular emphasis on the linkages between governance and its institutions, both formal/tangible and informal/intangible, and the trade-offs that need to be made between social, economic, and political considerations and priorities. Governance is researched at multiple jurisdictional scales descriptively (i.e., governance of X) and normatively (i.e., governance for X). Based on this holistic view of governance, APPRO provides training on the policy process and institutional analysis to governmental and non-governmental bodies. Given the demographics of less and least developed countries, governance research at APPRO pays particular attention to the role of youth and women in governance. See Training for more information.
This theme examines socio-economic, civil and political issues from a human rights perspective. There are a number of international conventions promoting social and economic, civil and political rights to which governments of less and least developed countries have signed up. Research under this theme aims to enhance understanding and appreciation of the numerous barriers that prevent the signee governments from meeting their human rights commitments. The research also aims to increase consensus on how national and international donors can work more strategically and coherently to integrate human rights in development aid programming. To date, APPRO has carried out a number of research projects on material and rights protection issues including access to health, education, and justice. Related research under this theme includes critical analysis of anti-corruption programming, public service provision including sanitation, and employment. See Presentations for highlighted findings under this theme.
Work under Aid Effectiveness is intended to inform the government, civil society, and the international development community about successes and pitfalls of development aid intervention through a systemic examination of the flows, processes, outputs, and impacts of intervention. APPRO has evaluated a large number of programs and projects implemented by national and international organizations. While the findings from these evaluations remain confidential to APPRO’s clients, the evaluations have provided in-depth insights into operational issues and challenges associated with development aid provision in a variety of contexts including humanitarian aid, women’s rights, vocational training, security sector reform, access to justice, access to health and education, natural resource management, and agricultural development. The learning from these evaluations has provided APPRO with a rich reservoir of knowledge for designing applied social research, monitoring systems, evaluations, and training. See Training for more information. See Publications for sample reports.
Natural Resource and Environmental Management
This theme focuses on the sustainability of resource use, management of precious mineral extraction to prevent illegal extraction and use of proceeds to fuel conflict , and responsible management of human activity to reduce harm on the environment. The scale of analysis ranges from organizational (e.g., enterprise production) to sub-national and national. At all scales of analysis a lifecycle approach is adopted to map and analyze processes to establish where efficiencies can be incorporated into the system, how equity in resource use can be increased, and how adverse environmental and security impacts can be eliminated, minimized or managed. To date APPRO has applied this approach to examining the impact of climate change on agricultural production, gender and agricultural production, and the agricultural innovation systems for selected products. These studies have focused on the innovative capacity, coping strategies, and system resiliencies exhibited by rural communities when subjected to shocks such as climate change.
In an increasingly tense security context and persisting economic instability, Afghanistan is witnessing rising waves of displacement both internally and as out-migration. As issues of migration are becoming increasingly politicized, there is more than ever a need for a clear understanding of drivers of migration within and from Afghanistan on the one hand, and the dynamics of reception in host environments on the other. Informed policy making on migration crises will need to be based on applied research in the following and related areas:
– Human Security of migrants and internally displaced persons
– Economic Impact of Migration (home environment, host environment)
– Drivers of internal displacement and out-migration
– Impact of return migration and re-integration of returnees
– Brain drain and brain gain in migration processes
Given the lack of systematic knowledge on the above areas, and the pace at which the situation is changing, there is an increasing need for systematic and regular baseline assessments, ongoing monitoring, and discourse to inform policy in the country of origin and host countries.