2,008 research outputs found

    The Belgian NGO landscape and the challenges of the New Aid Approach: dealing with fragmentation and emerging complexities

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    Belgium's Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO)-sector embodies some of the country's most distinctive characteristics. Two of its main features are the affiliation of many organisations to one of the societal pillars and the divergence of the NGO-landscape on the different sides of the language border. A high degree of fragmentation is the result of these traits, which manifests itself internally in a scattering of small organisations and externally in a dispersion of NGOs' aid in the south. Past attempts of the bilateral aid agency to alleviate this ineffective situation have only been partially succesful. Currently however the aid effectiveness debate is increasingly putting pressure on official and private aid actors to rethink the current practices of the non-governmental channel. Conflicting tendencies influence this debate, and in this chapter we aim to identify the elements that push the advance for a more effective Belgian NGO-sector, and those that possess the potential to obstruct it.

    Workplace and organisational learning in development aid: a case study of a Belgian development agency

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    This thesis investigates workplace and organisational learning over the period 2000-2010 in a Belgian development agency (VVOB), involved in the implementation of educational development projects. It explores some of the structural causes of the perceived learning deficit at the project and the agency-wide level, and links it with similar findings in other development agencies. For the project level, two case studies in Zimbabwe (ZimPATH and St2eep) were selected in which the project’s management invested significantly in team learning. These practices were put against the learning support activities that the head office was catering for. The study follows a qualitative case-study design inspired by phronetic-based research (Flyvbjerg, 2001), and utilises a mixed method approach to data collection involving a variety of research instruments. The author of the thesis worked in different positions in the field and in the head office (1997-2007). An improved version of the concept of learning patterns (Sterck, 2004) is introduced to gain insights in the tenacity of learning practices. It is derived from an in-depth analysis of the underlying characteristics of the formal and informal learning activities. Important drivers of the observed learning patterns are argued to be axiological in nature. These result in strongly diverging views about why learning should happen, what should be learned, and how learning should be organised. These views are captured and analysed through a newly constructed concept, the learning support framework. The findings for project level learning are multiple and point at the importance of both intra-organisational and external factors. The working environment of the two case study projects was characterised by internal (micro-political) and external (institutional and socio-economic) sources of pressure that seriously complicated learning processes. However, evidence is provided that both project teams managed to develop powerful learning processes. The ‘situated’ learning patterns of ZimPATH and St2eep shared a view of learning as a strategy to deal with the complexity of work. Knowledge was regarded as a process, with a focus on knowledge creation and the use of local knowledge. Both projects integrated learning in their daily practice via the extensive use of social learning practices and by creating conducive conditions for implicit learning. The bulk of these practices was going under the radar in the head office. It treated implicit learning rather passively and it hardly addressed the structural factors hindering such learning. As a consequence, teams without skills and insights into workplace learning were largely left on their own. The analysis of agency-wide learning in VVOB confirms research that indicates that ‘tacit knowledge does not travel easily’ (Gertler, 2003, p.84). The strong bias towards vertical learning processes, ICT-solutions and the codification of knowledge created a bureaucratic learning pattern. It did not stop VVOB from entering into a profound crisis. A severe institutional emergency, triggered by external pressure of back donors and institutional partners in the years 2005 and 2006, together with changes in the management brought the momentum for change. The resulting improvements in learning at the field level were, however, not replicated for agency-wide learning. This is linked in the thesis with a lack of ‘institutional proximity’ (Gertler, 2003). Initiatives introducing changes in existing learning practices are deemed to face fierce resistance unless they take into account crucial internal factors (such as the configuration of views, interests and history with regard to knowledge and learning), and various external causes of pressure. An alternative 3 step approach is proposed. In conclusion, unless development agencies and back-donors become more responsive towards the challenges of sharing tacit knowledge across organisational, institutional, cultural and power divides, projects like ZimPATH and St2eep are likely to remain pockets of innovation

    Empirical description of beta-delayed fission partial half-lives

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    Background: The process of beta-delayed fission (bDF) provides a versatile tool to study low-energy fission in nuclei far away from the beta-stability line, especially for nuclei which do not fission spontaneously. Purpose: The aim of this paper is to investigate systematic trends in bDF partial half-lives. Method: A semi-phenomenological framework was developed to systematically account for the behavior of bDF partial half-lives. Results: The bDF partial half-life appears to exponentially depend on the difference between the Q value for beta decay of the parent nucleus and the fission-barrier energy of the daughter (after beta decay) product. Such dependence was found to arise naturally from some simple theoretical considerations. Conclusions: This systematic trend was confirmed for experimental bDF partial half-lives spanning over 7 orders of magnitudes when using fission barriers calculated from either the Thomas-Fermi or the liquid-drop fission model. The same dependence was also observed, although less pronounced, when comparing to fission barriers from the finite-range liquid-drop model or the Thomas-Fermi plus Strutinsky Integral method.Comment: accepted for publication in Phys. Rev.

    Pairing-excitation versus intruder states in 68Ni and 90Zr

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    A discussion on the nature of the 0+ states in 68Ni (Z=28, N=40) is presented and a comparison is made with its valence counterpart 90Zr (Z=40, N=50). Evidence is given for a 0+ proton intruder state at only ~2.2 MeV excitation energy in 68Ni, while the analogous neutron intruder states in 90Zr reside at 4126 keV and 5441 keV. The application of a shell-model description of 0+ intruder states reveals that many pair-scattered neutrons across N=40 have to be involved to explain the low excitation energy of the proton-intruder configuration in 68Ni.Comment: 10 pages, 2 figures, 1 tabl

    Citizen science on speed? Realising the triple objective of scientific rigour, policy influence and deep citizen engagement in a large-scale citizen science project on ambient air quality in Antwerp

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    Citizen science projects are increasingly recognised as catalyst for triggering behaviour change and building social capital around environmental issues. However, overview studies observe recurrent challenges in many citizen science projects in terms of combining high levels of data quality with deep citizen engagement and policy influence. This paper reports on the findings of the CurieuzeNeuzen project (www.CurieuzeNeuzen.eu), a large-scale citizen science project on air quality in Antwerp, delivering results in the three areas described above. Through CurieuzeNeuzen, 2,000 citizens studied the air quality levels in and around Antwerp in 2016 and were intensively deliberating on possible causes and solutions. Surveys were conducted at the start and towards the end of the project, with participants stating that their participation resulted in changed views and behaviour towards air pollution, mobility solutions, and city planning. The findings were picked-up academically and contributed to policy debates on air quality at city and regional level

    A new species of Gyrodactylus (Monogenea, Gyrodactylidae), an ectoparasite from the endemic Iranocichla hormuzensis (Teleostei, Cichlidae), the only Iranian cichlid

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    Iranocichla hormuzensis occupies a biogeographically peculiar position. This endemic of southern Iran is the only Iranian cichlid. While it is phylogenetically related to African oreochromine members of the cichlid family, it remains unclear how it has dispersed into its current range. It is one of the many lasting enigmas of cichlid biogeography. Monogenean fish parasites may provide useful additional information in such cases. Therefore, I. hormuzensis was examined for these flatworms. A gyrodactylid parasite is reported and compared to congeners from the Palearctic and from cichlids. In this way, we verify whether it shows affinities to parasites from fishes that are either biogeographically or phylogenetically close to Iranocichla hormuzensis. The species is new to science and is described as Gyrodactylus jalalii sp. nov. This is the first description of a parasite infecting I. hormuzensis. Because of the fixation method or age of the material, DNA could not be isolated. Due to the lack of genetic data, no conclusions can be drawn on its phylogenetic positioning. Indeed, Gyrodactylus phylogeny cannot be inferred from morphological characteristics alone. Moreover, the congeners phenotypically reminiscent of the new species belong to a Gyrodactylus clade which is highly diverse in geographic range and host choice. Hence, there is no evidence linking the new species to an exclusively African or cichlid-bound Gyrodactylus lineage

    Reconstructing Colonization Dynamics of the Human Parasite Schistosoma mansoni following Anthropogenic Environmental Changes in Northwest Senegal

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    © 2015 Van den Broeck et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. The attached file is the published version of the article

    HIE-ISOLDE: the Scientific Opportunities

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    The HIE-ISOLDE project aims at substantial improvements of the energy range, the intensity and the quality of the secondary radioactive beams produced at the ISOLDE facility at CERN. This report presents the questions within nuclear physics and related areas, including nuclear astrophysics, Standard Model tests and condensed matter physics, that scientists will be able to address at HIE-ISOLDE and gives specific examples of how the upgrades will improve the experimental conditions. The physics possibilities at HIE-ISOLDE were reviewed at the NuPAC meeting (Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics at CERN) held at CERN in October 2005; this report gives a more comprehensive overview and incorporates technical and scientific developments that have taken place since then
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