HAPPENINGS @ FLAME

The latest happenings in the FLAME Community

The importance of research has been proven time and again. Thorough, precise research on development policy and governance can work wonders when it comes to bringing about meaningful change, and Ragini Rao Munjuluri is on her path to prove this right.

Currently working as a Consultant with the Centre for Policy Research and Research Assistant with Internet Freedom Foundation, she has always been passionate about policy research. She says that more than the research itself, she was always keen on learning and digging deeper into the issues and subjects that she pursued at the moment, which opened doors to writing and advocacy. Understanding early on that whatever career path she may choose would require her to have a strong base of knowledge and research skills, she says, "I grew into my passion for research, primarily because it was a pathway to so much more."

She informs that her core social science research skills got better simply because of the exposure she received while working with more experienced people in the space during her internships at IIT Hyderabad and CESS Nuffield. She learned a great deal about the rigours and disciplines of research, especially writing. She came to realise that good research is not measured by how sophisticated the presentation (or even methodology) is but by its capacity to inform practice. Looking back at those days, she says, "I think these experiences helped me reorient my view of social science research, take it off a pedestal a little, and better marry it with my interests in advocacy and institution-building.” 

Ragini has been a Legislative Assistants to Members of Parliament (LAMP) Fellow, which she considers one of the best learning experiences of her life. She became a Fellow in the pandemic's early days and was witness to how Parliament and its consultative and oversight processes responded to this great national crisis. "I was part of some exciting efforts to reimagine and rework the role of Parliament as a pillar of democracy in a time when even more than usual, checks on government excess were failing," she adds. 

Ragini will be heading to Beijing in August 2022 to Tsinghua University as a part of Schwarzman Scholars, a prestigious scholarship program designed to introduce a new generation of young leaders to China and changing global dynamics of the 21st Century. She is thrilled for the journey to begin and goes on to share her excitement by adding, "Schwarzman is one of the world's most selective and well-funded graduate scholarships, and I think one of the most unique." To Ragini, China is a fascinating case study in public system design – probably the most important story in mass poverty alleviation the world has seen.

She believes it holds a lot of under-explored lessons on what to do and not do for South Asia, and is looking forward to plugging some of those knowledge gaps.

 After her Scholarship Program, Ragini wishes to shift from research-centric work to a more practice-oriented opportunities in the development space, furthering her interests in social policy and state capacities. She sees advocacy and allyship being reimagined in important ways over the coming years, and looks forward to being a part of the change!