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Capacity Building for Students: A Win-Win Proposition

12 Feb 2016



True to its role of mentoring today’s young people for the work they can do both now and in the future, UNRISD is again partnering in several Applied Research Seminars with the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies (Geneva).

A genuinely useful contribution


The UNRISD Gender and Development team has just completed an Applied Research Seminar with Vanessa Sampaio, Adina Segura and Laura Stocker on policies to address violence against women in cities. The three students presented their findings at a poster presentation at the Graduate Institute on 14 December 2015. Comparing cities in Brazil, Colombia and South Africa, their research showed that while legal frameworks and instruments do exist, a range of challenges still stand in the way of making cities safe for women: lack of coordination, lack of clear action and implementation strategies, and limited understanding of the causes of violence.

“It’s been great to work with these motivated young women,” said Valeria Esquivel, who coordinates the UNRISD Gender and Development team. “And their results feed directly into our work, they have made a genuinely useful contribution to our research.”

"I think the students learnt a lot as well," added UNRISD gender expert Andrea Kaufmann, who worked closely on the project. "We talked a lot about developing policy conclusions from a variety of materials, for example, and how to keep a long text coherent."

Mutual benefits


The UNRISD Sustainable Development team has supervised two comparative studies on “Eco-Social Policy for a Fairer Green Economy” and on “Social and Solidarity Economy and Public Policy.” The final papers will be considered for publication by UNRISD.

“It has been fascinating to see this from the other side of the desk,” said Pascal van Griethuysen, Coordinator of the UNRISD Sustainable Development team. “In my former post at the Graduate Institute I was involved in the inception of the Applied Research Seminars, and now I am on the side of the partner organization. So I can confirm the mutual benefits that we suspected at the start.”

Applied Research Seminars bring together second-year Masters students with partner organizations to carry out research projects such as desk studies, interviews, data collection and analysis on topics relevant to the organization. The Seminars are win-win for both parties: UNRISD benefits from the results of the research and the students gain hands-on experience working in partnership on real-world projects.

Click below to access the poster.