Jessica Kritz studies cross-sector collaboration in developing countries. Since 2015, she has been the principal investigator on a long-term research project that began with three stakeholders in Old Fadama, the largest urban slum in Accra. Over five years, Jessica worked with local researchers and stakeholders to create a participatory action research intervention to resolve Old Fadama’s complex challenges at their root. Their intervention allows the government to work with transparency and community members to take part in resolving the challenges that affect them. Cross-sector collaboration worked where other, more traditional development interventions did not.
Now with data from 300 core stakeholders and more than 8,000 beneficiaries, the intervention has been replicated in other slums in Accra and rural communities in northern Ghana, using local resources. This participatory intervention provides developing-country governments with a solution for complex challenges: a low-cost, locally-designed tool that dramatically improved participation and resulted in projects that impact the public good.
The intervention will be featured in a massive open online course (MOOC) developed with colleagues at University of Ghana-Legon, University of Health and Allied Sciences (Ghana), and Georgetown University on urban health in sub-Saharan Africa. The focus of the course is prior epidemics and pandemics such as cholera, ebola, and the current COVID-19 pandemic. The development of the intervention is the subject of a forthcoming (July 14, 2020) short book from Cambridge University Press that will be available here: https://www.cambridge.org/core/elements/redefining-development/B94D9871A966F00DE3812B73C064DCB3