Our mission

Through strengths-based social work practice, action research and technique-building, Beyond Research exists as a platform to:

  • amplify the voices and concerns of children, youth and their families who face multiple challenges, and to keep their perspectives visible in community development work and  policymaking;
  • nurture the continuous learning of our staff, volunteers and other helping professionals in ways that would help them translate their knowledge and experience into daily practice;
  • share local and international best practices with community stakeholders and the wider public.

In guiding our ongoing work in strengthening resiliency among young people and their families, we are more influenced by bottom-up, participatory approaches to social inquiry.  Over the years, we have been combining a range of qualitative and quantitative practices, such as cross-sectional surveys, ethnographic research, storytelling, case-study research, and filmmaking as a medium of engagement.

Our learning philosophy

Our programmes and initiatives are child and youth-centered, and exist to support and empower families to do their best for young people.  The action-reflection approach we adopt helps us better understand the life-worlds and social realities of the people we partner. 

Often, as social workers we are trained to see and react to the deficits and problems of society, what individuals, particularly young people are lacking, and the extent to which they are seen to be ‘at-risk’ or vulnerable.

The way we define issues and the language we use to describe these realities often necessitates the kind of intervention we favour. As helping professionals we share the power to define what we think ‘clients’ are incapable of doing without us.

When we frame issues in terms of their vulnerabilities and deficits alone, as opposed to their existing strengths and opportunities, and where we put more value in expert-led processes, we may often run the risk of creating systems that make people dependent on them.

As helping professionals, our primary tool is the helping relationship itself, which we believe must be a respectful partnership. This is because the best solutions to problems don’t lie with us; they lie with the people concerned and our efforts work best when family groups fully participate in, or at best, own the processes that affect their own lives.

Our work is guided by the belief that:

  • all young people despite their challenges have the ability to reach their goals and realize their full potential as valued members of our community;
  • social problems are best solved within the community and not merely by experts;
  • Young people want to be connected with supportive adults and peers.    

Often, the difficulties we face in transforming issues are governed by our reluctance to embrace novel and creative approaches that are meaningful to the very people we exist to serve. It is remarkably easy to be caught in old ways of doing and thinking and most often, we may find ourselves blaming our ‘failures’ on the apparent faults of individuals and their communities. 

Effective community-orientated social work is more about reflective praxis: the process of doing through continuous learning, and in turn, consciously allowing the outcomes of our individual action, personal experience and practice to shape our current thinking.   For this, social workers need to be reflective, by acting and helping thought-fully. 

Reflectivity is a crucial attribute for social workers, whether they are working on complex issues regarding juvenile justice, are on a home-visit, carrying out an assessment, or doing bereavement counseling, for example. The potential to be unintentionally judgmental, discriminatory or oppressive when working with people is always present.  

Community-based social work then, is both a critical discipline as well as an art of advocacy, resource mobilizing, and building respectful, helping partnerships. 

A good social worker therefore, is a researcher everyday. This is because research is more about re-searching for meaningful opportunities for the people themselves to come together and creatively look for lasting solutions within the spaces of their own communities – be it the streets, in homes, schools, local playgrounds or the neighbourhood coffee-shop.