Overview of the ERC

Ethical and robust research underscores Participatory Development Associates’ (PDA’s) vision of: “A world where states, communities and organisations provide an enabling environment in which all people, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, creed, age or disability, can realise their full potential and contribute their best to the common good”. It is for this reason that the Ethical Review Committee (ERC) was set up in January 2017 to help ensure that research is carried out to the highest ethical standards. The ERC has been formed to review research proposals in PDA and the general research community. It advises on the research process to ensure that both researchers and participants are adequately protected. The ERC is also interested in ensuring that researchers put adequate measures in place to minimise biases that could arise from both researchers’ and participants’ prejudices in the research process. The ERC has a multidisciplinary membership of eminent scholars and practitioners in their fields of specialisation.

Ethical review is aligned with our organisation’s Values in the following ways:

  • Empowerment: we believe that research should be an enlightening process for all involved, not simply an extractive exercise undertaken for the benefit of others. Paying attention to how a research process empowers and/or disempowers the people involved is of great importance to its development outcomes. In particular, PDA believes that the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of both participants and researchers is important in any research process that PDA undertakes.

  • Inclusiveness: we believe everyone has an active role to play in realising social change and so it is important that any piece of research has carefully considered which voices are listened to, and why.

  • Innovation and creativity: thoughtful review processes can help any group of people to think more carefully, creatively and deeply.

  • Quality: review can help us, and others, to maintain and improve our research standards. In doing this we can also affect ethical standards in Ghana more widely.

  • Efficiency: review can identify ways in which all can make judicious use of resources, including natural resources and time.

  • Effectiveness and Impact: a well-honed research process is more likely to leave a lasting effect.

  • Transparency and accountability: ethical review helps to make research processes more accountable, to ourselves as researchers, to participants in the research, as well as to those who commission it. PDA is also committed to being a learning organisation. We believe that ethical review processes should provide a framework for those involved to learn together.


Tony Dogbe

TONY DOGBE (Chairperson)

Tony Dogbe has completed over 70 consultancy assignments, alongside full-time executive/managing director roles in a CSO and in a development consultancy firm over the past 21 years. He is an experienced process and participatory oriented social/community development worker, trainer, researcher, manager, consultant and workshop facilitator/moderator who has worked with government, non-government and private sector institutions in various areas of human development endeavour.
Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo
Professor Akosua Adomako AmpofoMember


Akosua Adomako Ampofo is a Professor of African and Gender Studies at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana (UG). As an activist-scholar, her work addresses African Knowledge systems; Higher education; Identity Politics; Gender relations; and Popular Culture. Adomako Ampofo is President of the African Studies Association of Africa; Editor-in-Chief, Contemporary Journal of African Studies; Co-Editor, Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa blog, as well as African Studies Review. She is a fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her work has been variously recognized including being a 3-time Fulbright scholar among many other awards.
Dr. Eleanor Hill
Dr. Eleanor HillMember


Dr. Eleanor Hill has worked in International Public Health for 30 years, with a strong focus on participatory, solution-focused approaches. She has maintained an interest is the ethical dimensions of this work throughout her career and in her own research activities.
Celia Marshall
Celia MarshallMember


Celia Marshall has led and been part of a variety of research initiatives in Ghana over the last 25 years, mostly involving qualitative methods and focused on hearing from the most marginalised voices.
She has led many studies with teams of up to 40 researchers and guided their related design, analysis and dissemination processes, all with an eye on ethical considerations. National studies she has been part of have included those for the Government of Ghana in partnership with UNICEF, DFID and the World Bank, and with a thematic focus on poverty, wellbeing, social and child protection, education, health, and transport.
Dr. David Korboe
Dr. David KorboeMember


David Korboe is a social development researcher and M&E consultant and has worked in Ghana, India, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. He is an advocate of ethical practice in all spheres of life and is passionate about participatory processes and collective impact.
Chals Wontewe
Chals WonteweMember


Chals Wontewe is a teacher, civil servant and international development practitioner with many years of field experience with a number of International NGOs including CUSO of Canada, VSO, CRS, ActionAid, Oxfam (both GB and OI) and IBIS in Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal, and the DRC, serving senior positions. Over the past 5 years, he has been into full-time M&E consultancy and has been involved in projects with Oxfam, DFID, Ghana Trade and Livelihoods Coalition, among others. Chals’ work and research interest cut across agriculture, health, and poverty
Alexander Afram
Alexander AframSecretary


Alexander Afram is a researcher, monitoring and evaluation practitioner with over 5 years’ experience in social research, impact assessment, process evaluation, and project management. He is currently a Programmes Coordinator at the Research, Evaluation, and Learning (REL) Unit in PDA. Alexander’s work in PDA cuts across multiple sectors including agriculture, human (child) trafficking, education, health (nutrition), financial inclusion and climate change. He has field experiences from Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, the United Kingdom, and the South East Asia region (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, and Vietnam) with a strong understanding of ethical dimensions in the research industry.
He is the secretary to the ERC and acts as the liaison between prospective applicants/researchers (including PDA) and the Committee.