Understanding the social and political issues surrounding development is absolutely critical to designing appropriate and meaningful strategies and actions to reduce poverty. This means ensuring that policies and programmes are grounded in the social, cultural and political realities of the national and local context and that local structures, processes and dynamics are fully understood and taken into account as an integral part of the design process. SDDirect offers services in social and political analysis, in-country social and political research and assessments, participatory research and analysis, desk based reviews, project and programme appraisal, policy advice, evaluations and social and poverty impact assessments.
A cornerstone of our approach is ensuring that policies and plans are designed to be inclusive of all people regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, faith or political beliefs. This means ensuring that the social, economic and political factors behind the exclusion of such groups are understood and addressed, and that policy and programmes are evaluated in terms of benefits reaching these groups. SDDirect is able to undertake social exclusion and impact assessments, programme monitoring and evaluations, provide policy and programme advice, as well as offer specialist expertise in the areas of gender, identity-based discrimination and human rights.
Involving people as meaningful partners in designing interventions that will affect their lives is also fundamental to our approach. We believe that empowerment of poor and excluded groups is a critical development objective in its own right, and that development agencies – government and non governmental - should be accountable to the people they are tasked to serve. We advise on the design of mechanisms for facilitating consultation and ensuring that poor people have a voice in the development process. We also work with governments and service providers to help improve their transparency and accountability to the public. We also have experience of supporting civil society organisations to develop their capacity to advocate for change and hold their governments to account.
Local commitment and ownership is essential for development policy and programmes to be successful. The lack of such ownership has been one reason for failure of many development policies and programmes in the past. At SDDirect we are committed to working with partners to understand and support their perspectives and priorities and to understand the institutional context – especially informal - within which they work. We are known for working closely with our clients and for developing tailor-made and workable solutions to particular assignments.
Working with institutions and individuals in the north and south in order to strengthen their capacity to design and deliver pro-poor and inclusive policies, programmes and services is fundamental to sustainable development and central to the way in which we work. SDDirect provides training and capacity development in social development to help embed social development skills and experience in partner organisations: through advice on professional development needs, tailor made training and workshop events, and short and long term technical assistance in our areas of expertise. We also work with our clients, where appropriate, to build professional development opportunities into assignments for southern professionals.
Getting the right team for any given assignment is critical to delivering a high quality service. At SDDirect we critically review the requirements of individual assignments and draw from our extensive network of members to find the required mix of expertise and skills. Where appropriate we also partner with other organisations who share our values and commitment to high levels of professionalism. Our commitment to quality advice that will be both valued and make an impact includes high levels of quality assurance through peer review, close collaborative working relationships with clients, and maintaining close links with leading research and think-tank organisations.