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ARA’s approach to co-creation involves inviting multiple stakeholders, such as community members, researchers, funders, practitioners and policymakers, into a collaborative knowledge generation and programme design processes.

Each stakeholder brings unique perspectives, knowledge, and experience. The ARA’s co-creation method ensures that breadth of expertise is represented throughout the process, ensuring all voices are heard.

Action-oriented research programmes that are being conceptualised or designed benefit from this broad range of insights and ideas, resulting in more comprehensive and robust outcomes. The ARA acknowledges the importance of meaningful engagement with all stakeholders at the outset in order to:

  • Generate and improve new and/or existing knowledge
  • Create new, innovative partnerships and networks 
  • Influence, enhance and/or design new programmes  

This process is guided by the six Adaptation Research for Impact Principles and the ARA core values in the ARA Theory of Change: openness and transparency; southern leadership; thinking big and long-term; and gender equality and social inclusion

Enabling environment

The ARA uses seed funding to mobilise co-creation activities that can be used scope new programmes. This immersive process of scoping new programmes provides funders with an enabling environment to work through challenges that currently impede effective collective action on climate adaptation, including:

  • Operational challenges such as consortium building, partnership engagement, managing transaction costs.
  • Relational challenges like trust deficits, power dynamics, barriers to meaningful collaboration.

Knowledge generation

Co-creation activities help to address gaps in knowledge and discuss issues being faced at multiple levels in adaptation research and action. The new knowledge generated can be used in many ways: 

  • Improved practice by informing how current adaptation activities and research is conducted.
  • Shared learning between co-producers to help build on each other’s knowledge and avoid common pitfalls.

Programme development

Developing and improving programmes is another key outcome of Co-creation activities. This will in turn lead to higher impact programmes in their delivery that are more appropriate and locally/contextually relevant and that are already set up to succeed based on the co-created foundation.    

Specifically, programmes will benefit from: 

  • Improved links between research and action by building in these linkages more fundamentally in the programme design. 
  • Bringing on-the-ground needs into the design through better engagement on local priorities.

Designing new research programs through co-production promotes inclusivity, relevance, rigor, uptake, and impact. It recognises the value of diverse perspectives, fosters collaboration, and ensures that research outcomes are meaningful, actionable, and beneficial to the broader community.


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