Happy New Year

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Happy New Year

As 2022 comes to an end, I am proud and humbled by the incredible strides LASER PULSE has made this year in conducting contextual research to provide evidence for decision-making on some of the most complex global development challenges. 

2022 came with its own set of challenges, and yet again tested the resilience and spirit of our team and more so of our partners in the field. But we found ways to continue our work. This year we launched new research while working closely with the Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) in the US. This exciting new work covers postharvest loss reduction and livelihood improvement of underserved communities as well as food safety strategy improvement in Bangladesh, the safety of the milk value chain in Rwanda, solutions to improve the productivity of maize growers in Zambia, and understanding the impacts of the quota system on afro-Brazilians/Indigenous Education in Brazil. We also launched new research in social inclusion and gender equity, as well as digital technology for women entrepreneurs in Nepal, and researched technologies for building the resilience of dairy farmers in Rwanda. You can learn about all our projects here.

We also continued our efforts in strengthening development research practice by developing courses, training, and resources to support our partners (here) and brought together more than 100 stakeholders to discuss their leanings during our Research for Development Workshop in Ethiopia. (here)

Every day since I joined LASER PULSE 18 months ago, I am inspired by the vision of our program and its collaborative approach to development research. It is this methodology that has laid the foundation of our success across 40+ projects in 20 countries. Through this methodology, which we call Embedded Research Translation (ERT) we have not only created strong teams across the world but have strategically and systematically created space for field knowledge to guide the research. We have nudged researchers, practitioners, and donors to join hands in pooling their expertise to conduct contextual and relevant research. Every product our research teams have produced, and every programmatic and policy change our evidence has created, speaks to the passion and hard work of our partners and the resilience of our team. 

None of our successes would have been possible without the support and partnership from the incredible team at USAID’s Innovation, Technology, and Research (ITR) Hub at Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation (DDI), various USAID Missions and Bureaus across the world, the support from the consortium partners and the institutional backing from Purdue. I also want to thank our 3000+ network members, who have engaged with us across activities. Their participation in LASER Focused webinars, comments on our courses, feedback on our tools and templates, and engagement on our RFAs have helped us immensely in building a portfolio of relevant services and resources.

While we have made tremendous progress since the start of the program, in some ways, we are just getting started. We are excited about what we have planned for 2023 and would love to share it with you. I want to invite you to:

At LASER we are motivated to bring researchers and development practitioners together to ensure the most impactful collaboration possible with a hope to create a just, inclusive, and sustainable world. And I invite you to join us in our efforts.

Dear partners, colleagues, and friends, I want to thank you for all your efforts and support. The victories are hard won, and you made it happen. I look forward to continuing the journey with you in the new year.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2023, full of love and companionship!

Pallavi Gupta

Program Director,  LASER PULSE

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