Elvis Mulinga, feedlot in Uganda. Aceli Africa © George Muriama

Small Foundation invests in research to further our understanding of our sector and the complex dynamics that form the system we are trying to change. We invest in research that will have wide benefit beyond our desks and work to share and engage around findings as much as possible.

In practice

We recognise that good research can fail to have impact when it does not reach its target audience, when the findings require changes by actors who are not prepared to make them, or when the problem needing solving will not be aided by increased knowledge. Small Foundation therefore engages with implementing partners and knowledge institutions to support research for which there is a demonstrated need and an identified audience ready to take up findings.

In addition to supporting knowledge creation, we focus on dissemination and encouraging discussion and active engagement with the research. We are proud of the example of research undertaken with CSAF members on economics of lending to agricultural value chains.

Our current research partners include:


Increased knowledge is a key lever for improving impact and fuelling systems change. Research, analysis, and intelligence-gathering projects can have a range of impacts. It can provide value chain actors, investors and policy makers with vital market insights, understanding and new awareness. Improved knowledge of the market enables an improved understanding of potential consumers and investment opportunities and can support better risk management and more responsive regulation.

Research can also increase the skills and capacity of market actors, investors and policy makers. Research on the success factors for interventions can lead to replication by others.  Research of failure can avoid repetition. All of these lead to more and better-informed interventions to support the rural poor.