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Dalberg, a leading social impact consulting firm, and CORO India, a three-decade-old grassroots leadership development NGO, have agreed to work together to contribute a new model in equitable research to the development sector. Dalberg will support CORO’s ongoing strategy and learning agenda as it scales up its grassroots leadership development work. CORO will support Dalberg’s work by facilitating access to grassroots expertise for Dalberg to better integrate the voice of communities into the work they do for clients.

This partnership aims to integrate community voices into social processes by dissolving the boundaries between the people conducting research and the people being researched. The expectation is that the model will prove transformative for the sector.

The concept of participatory research and equitable design is not new to either partner. CORO’s thrust in leadership for social change ‘from within the marginalised’ has built a strong network that puts communities in charge of driving the solutions to their issues. Local leadership tackles issues through exploring collective wisdom, using local resources, and taking collective actions. CORO’s research models are equity-centred, participatory, and co-created. Their aspiration in this partnership is to overturn how development is typically viewed as a top-down process and to meaningfully collaborate for societal change.

Similarly, Dalberg’s extensive experience in human-centred design (HCD) and quantitative and qualitative survey practices provides a strong base for an equity and inclusivity lens to thrive across teams and regions. Dalberg recognises that it’s an ambitious goal to get there in a year and a half but is hopeful that with CORO’s support, they can create a sound institutional framework for more equity-based research that can be adopted widely.

“Our partnership with CORO dramatically widens our aperture. The advice we give to clients will now benefit from our consultants' ability to pick up the phone and test ideas easily and speedily with CORO’s growing network of leaders. These leaders are fighting daily for the very same outcomes we are often designing for. It is time to combine forces,” said Gaurav Gupta, Dalberg’s Partner and Asia Regional Director.

While talking about the partnership, Sujata Khandekar, Founder-director CORO, stated, “In this partnership, two organisations with very different abilities are coming together in a non-transactional way. We hope to jointly develop a model of equity-based participatory research and speak to the world about its impact on designing regenerative solutions to endemic issues. We want to share our learning about the attributes and mindsets essential for such endeavours and advocate the value of this process. I think Dalberg will be a huge contributor and influencer in the development and advocacy of this model”.

Dalberg, alongside CORO looks forward to applying these innovative research methods across its various engagements and being able to work with its communities, clients, and partner organisations more fully. This is a start, and there is a willingness to learn along the journey. We are open to diverse thoughts and invite others to help us make this engagement truly equity centred. We are looking for collaborators and thought partners to make this a success, and we invite those who can be amplifiers to help us spread the word across their networks.

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