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The international workshop ‘Rethinking Impact: Understanding the Complexity of Poverty and Change’ (Cali, Colombia, 26-28 March 2008) explored the challenges inherent in evaluating agricultural research-for-development efforts, identifying lessons and approaches for sustainably improving livelihoods. Use-oriented research which links knowledge with action has greater welfare and development impacts. Researchers must help to link diverse stakeholders in order to create and share knowledge for effective, sustainable action. The legitimacy of such boundary-spanning work needs to be recognised and rewarded, and sufficient resources dedicated to it. Traditional economic-impact assessment does little justice to complex poverty-related activities, which require a diversity of methods and enhanced capacity.

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