Good research can lead to positive change for the world’s poorest by enhancing the design and implementation of development policies and programs. That’s why Australian Aid is committed to an innovative research portfolio and funds research, including through:
- competitive funding mechanisms (such as the Australian Development Research Awards Scheme)
- research partnerships with different Australian, international and developing country research institutions
- commissioning research to address a specific question or clearly defined research gap, and
- one-off research grants, when an existing program of research is relevant to the Australian aid program.
More information on how Australia funds research
Research funded by Australian aid's Philippines country program specifically targets Philippine’s development challenges, and often uses Filipino academics and institutions to undertake the research. Some of the recent highlights of this research are listed below.
Improving school management
Mobilizing Local Government Units Support for Basic Education: Focus on the Special Education Fund
This discussion paper was published by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies in 2011.
Read the paper [PDF 240kb] (external website)
Australia commissioned this research as a contribution to policy discussions on basic education reform in relation to improving the implementation of school based management. Effective school management draws on the resources of all stakeholders with an interest in education—including local governments.
Delivery of basic public education in the Philippines is still highly centralised. However, local government units (LGUs) provide steady supplementary funding support for education by earmarking a part of their real property tax into a Special Education Fund (SEF). The resources that LGUs provide to the basic education sector are quite significant, amounting to 7 per cent of total government spending on basic education in 2001–2008. Thus, LGUs are considered major partners of the national government in the delivery of basic education services.
This study examines the efficiency and effectiveness of the management of the SEF in terms of its collection, allocation, and utilization. It advises how to maximize LGUs support and how to promote a more equitable allocation of resources for basic education. The study finds that there is a need to improve the governance of Local School Boards (LSBs) and establish clearer guidelines on the preparation of the LSB budget. It also recommends greater transparency between the Department of Education (DepED) and LGUs in the reporting arrangements of sources and uses of resources in order to foster a better working relationship between DepED and LSB.
Successful policy reform
Built on Dreams, Grounded in Reality: Economic Policy Reform in the Philippines
This research was published by The Asia Foundation in November 2011.
Read 'Built on Dreams, Grounded in Reality: Economic Reform in the Philippines' (external website)
As part of research to inform the development of our next Philippines strategy, Australia supported The Asia Foundation to undertake a study into the factors contributing to successful policy reform. USAID also contributed funding for the research.
This volume of case studies on the Philippines economy focuses on institutional change and seeks to develop a better understanding of how human actors create this change. The cases trace the political battles involved in five successful and two unsuccessful reform efforts in the Philippines: in telecommunications, sea transport, civil aviation, water privatization, property rights legislation, tax administration and the agricultural (grain) sector.
The lessons highlighted are that:
- the process is iterative, non-linear and context-specific
- political analysis and political action are no less important than technical analysis
- committed local leadership is the principal reform driver
- development agencies can play critical supportive roles.
The volume concludes by suggesting an operational approach for achieving institutional change, referred to as ‘development entrepreneurship’. Development entrepreneurship provides one compelling pathway for development agencies to incorporate politics, manage risk, and improve aid effectiveness.
Civil society organisations in the Philippines
Civil Society Organizations in the Philippines, A Mapping and Strategic Assessment
Australia commissioned the Civil Society Resource Institute (CSRI) of the Philippines to undertake a series of studies and strategic assessments of various types of civil society organizations. The research was used to inform the design of our new Coalitions For Change initiative which will help build coalitions comprising civil society, the Philippines government and the private sector to successfully pursue change.
Development non-government organisations (NGOs), cooperatives, media NGOs and think tanks were analysed in terms of their institutional strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats they face in the political and socio-economic context in the Philippines.
Various types of people's organisations were also examined as part of the study—peasant and fisher folk organisations, labour unions, urban poor groups, women’s organizations and organisations of people with disabilities.
The study puts forward recommendations on how these organisations can be further strengthened so that they can continue playing important roles in the maturing process of Philippine democracy.
Read the CSO Mapping and Strategic Assessment