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Putting Knowledge to Work: Collaborating, Influencing and Learning for International Development

Luc J.A. Mougeot
Practical Action Publishing, IDRC

Available formats

Dramatic changes in the ecosystem for international development are now pressing civil society organizations (CSOs) to invest more in knowledge to remain significant players. While the need for creative thinking and experimentation is greater than ever, there is still very little research published on challenges experienced and solutions found by CSOs as they adjust to the global changes underway.

Funders and beneficiaries are pressing CSOs to be more professional and efficient, and more strategic and impactful, but the key role that knowledge plays in the efforts of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) remains often underrated, even by NGOs themselves. Putting Knowledge to Work explores how the brains of such organizations actually function to deliver outcomes and impacts.

Upstream from end results themselves, the book examines how CSOs access, generate, apply, and grow their intelligence, knowledge, and know-how to protect children, improve public security, reduce ethnic discrimination, grow local value chains, expand water resources, and generally make our societies more inclusive and just. How do CSOs obtain the knowledge they need to accomplish these tasks? How do they cooperate with other organizations to produce workable knowledge? And how do they learn from practice to increase their impact?

This book should be read by students and researchers in the field of international development, and those who work at CSOs, in government, and for philanthropic organizations.

The editor

Luc J.A. Mougeot is a Senior Program Specialist at IDRC. He has over 13 years of experience conducting research in the Global South and more than 25 years working for this grant-making agency for international development research, including supporting collaborative research between Canadian and Global South academic and non-governmental organizations.


Megan Bradley is Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Development Studies at McGill University. She is the author of Refugee Repatriation: Justice, Responsibility and Redress (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and the editor of Forced Migration, Reconciliation and Justice (McGill–Queen’s University Press, 2015). She holds a doctorate in International Relations from St Antony’s College, University of Oxford.

Elena Chernikova is an Analyst at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada in Ottawa. She previously worked with Statistics Canada, Graybridge Malkam, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, in Ottawa. She holds an MA in globalization and international development from the University of Ottawa and a PhD in comparative languages and cultures from Moscow State Linguistics University. Her postgraduate fellowship at Kent State University, USA, focused on the internationalization of higher education. Elena immigrated from Yakutia, Russian Siberia.

Stacie Travers is Director of International Projects and Education at Tourism HR Canada, an Ottawa-based non-profit. Previously, she managed international mobility and award programmes with the Canadian Bureau for International Education and the International Development Research Centre, respectively. She holds an MA in educational studies with a concentration in adult education from Concordia University in Montreal.

Eric Smith is Writer, Grants and Proposals, at Saint Francis Xavier University’s Coady International Institute in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada. Before joining Coady, Eric worked with Genuine Progress Index Atlantic, supporting youth learning initiatives in India. From 2013 to 2015, Eric worked with IDRC’s Canadian Partnerships programme, and later its Fellowships and Awards programme. Eric holds a Master’s in Political Science and a BHum in Humanities and Philosophy, both from Carleton University.