Research expertise sought to support Cooperation Ireland’s LEGaSI Programme

Research expertise sought to support Cooperation Ireland’s LEGaSI Programme


By Alan Largey

Over the last six months, we have been working closely with the Partnership to explore the potential for collaborative research to inform our work on alternative approaches to reducing marginalisation.

Cooperation Ireland is an all-island peace-building charity that works to build a shared and cohesive society. While our role has evolved to align with the changing priorities for peace on the island, at the core of our philosophy remains the belief that getting people to work together for mutual benefit across religious, cultural and political divisions, will promote greater understanding, respect and recognition of mutual interdependence.

We believe a key part of this is reaching out to young community leaders and influencers to build capacity and achieve transformative change for future generations. To achieve this, we deliver a diverse range of programmes aimed at schools, youth groups and community organisations.

We are now embarking on a new programme of work called LEGaSI, which will take participants from Protestant Unionist Loyalist areas through a series of discrete learning environments called ‘islands’. Through the LEGaSI Programme, we aim to:

  • support programme participants to build a vision for their community;
  • increase aspiration, skills and knowledge in order for participants to become positive influencers in their community; and
  • provide seed funding and support to enable participants to develop and implement social innovation projects that will have direct benefit to their community.

We hope that it will not only ensure communities are better represented by their leaders, in particular in the political life of Northern Ireland, but will lead to stronger, more inclusive communities capable of determining their own future with confidence.

As we begin to develop the Programme, we are seeking help from academic researchers who are willing to volunteer their time to take part in an advisory group. At this initial stage, we would welcome guidance from researchers who have expertise in reducing marginalisation in fragile societies or conflict areas to assist with the following activities:

  • Developing a strategy for the identification and recruitment of community leaders and influencers.
  • Identification of an appropriate online platform to: a) hold participant details; b) allow participants to contribute content; c) act as a communication tool for participants.
  • Developing an effective evaluation strategy for the Programme.
  • Creation of additional ‘Islands’ (learning environments) which could be used to provide skills and knowledge to participants.

We recognise that, as a researcher, your capacity and resources are limited, and as a result, would look to consult with you in an informal manner via email or telephone, or through a face-to-face meeting once every six months. We hope this would be a valuable opportunity for you to share your knowledge with us while enhancing the impact of your research.

If you would like to help support our work, please write to me at

Dr Alan Largey is the Project Manager for the LEGaSI Programme at Cooperation Ireland.