Welcome from the Chair

admin • 26 April 2018

Dear Members

A spring greeting from DSAI.  I hope this finds you all well and that all our student and academic members are thriving (surviving?) in this the final push of the academic year!

DSAI has been very busy and I hope you’ve had an opportunity to take time out and join us on one of our recent workshops. On March 12th  our newest study group on Adaptive Programming held their first event with a seminar with Michael Woolcock, Social Scientist with the World Bank’s Development Research Group. Michael outlined an alternative approach to current policy implementation in developing countries, ie, “copying and scaling putative successes from abroad”. He proposed an approach centered on building implementation capability by working iteratively to solve problems nominated and prioritized by local actors. For practitioners working in this space, he proposes the frontier issue is crafting administrative systems (especially for budgeting and procurement) that reconcile the twin imperatives of adaptability and accountability. We’re deeply grateful to the members of the Adaptive Programming group for hosting the session and to Michael for his time and much welcome challenge.

DSAI’s Child Health Study commemorated World Water Day on 20th of March with a collaborative event with the Irish Forum for Global Health. Thanks to both Niall Roche and Shauna Byrne for their stimulating contributions.

On 25th of April, our Humanitarian Action Study Group held another of their exciting panel discussions, this time focused on Conflict and Displacement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where over 4 million people have been displaced due to conflict, facing immense obstacles and often uncertain futures in their search for safety.  Thanks to Trinity for hosting us, and thanks to Caitriona Dowd of Concern, Sean O'hAodha of Irish Aid and Niall O’Rourke of Christian Aid for thought provoking inputs and for keeping the challenges facing the communities of the DRC and their policy makers at the forefront of development /  humanitarian reflection and debate.   

Coming up, on Friday the 1st of June DSAI is hosting an exciting workshop entitled Rethinking Gender Justice - Securing Equitable and Sustainable Futures in an Unstable World. It will take place at Maynooth University  and aims to promote an open, high-level dialogue between researchers, policy makers and activists to rethink gender justice to impact on our theories, policies and practices and make them fit for purpose in our contemporary political framework. Following the workshop, the new Director General of Irish Aid, Ruari de Burca will  launch  a new book by DSAI members The Handbook on Development and Social Change. 

Note also that DSAI’s annual Summer School is now scheduled for the 27 – 28 June and will take place in Trinity College Dublin.  This year we are focusing on “The Theory and Practice of ICT4D”  and we aim to strengthen practitioners’ skills in integrating technology into programme and research design, implementation and evaluation. So if you’d like practical and theoretical upskilling on how to avoid harm, manage the pitfalls and strengthen your use of Information Communications Technology, join us at this very practical and participative 2 day seminar.  We’ll be circulating an invite with details in the coming weeks.

And finally – the first news of our Annual Conference! Our Annual Conference will take place in October (dates to be announced) and will focus on ‘Development, Conflict and Security: Theory and Practice’. The complex interlinkage between development, conflict, fragility and human security is rising to the top of the global governance agenda and is also having a huge impact in terms of its impact on society and communities in the Global South. Yet we all know that our conceptual tools are lagging behind these pressing needs. The conference is an opportunity for all you working on these areas to bring your research and programme activities, challenges and successes into the discussion and contribute to the solutions! DSAI will address this cluster of issues from a critical yet collegial perspective through contributions by its Study Groups, namely those studying and engaging with Civil Society, Humanitarian Action, Gender, Adaptive Programming, Education, ICT4D and its vibrant postgraduate network. Other networks and interested academics are also most welcome to contribute and engage with this key debate in development studies and practice

Get those concept notes ready and we’ll send further details on the dates and special guest speakers soon!

Remember, at DSAI we love feedback -   please let us know how we’re doing and if there’s any way we can improve our website, and strengthen our profile of activities to better meet your needs. We’d love to hear from you. Please Spread the DSAI word and encourage your friends to join us and share in the exciting DSAI programme of work. 


Kind regards to all,


Mary Van Lieshout