‘Child’-led research in sub-Saharan Africa - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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‘Child’-led research in sub-Saharan Africa

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  1. ‘Child’-led research in sub-Saharan Africa Gina Porter, Kate Hampshire, Albert Abane, Elsbeth Robson, Alister Munthali, Mac Mashiri, Augustine Tanle, Goodhope Maponya in collaboration with 70 young researchers and IFRTD Young people as co-researchers, Durham seminar, January 2010

  2. 3-country [ESRC/DFID-funded] child mobility and transport study www.dur.ac.uk/child.mobility/ Focus principally on daily physical mobility of 9-18 year-olds Adult and child researcher strands: mixed methods 70 ‘child’ researchers: findings feed into and help shape adult research design Child researcher concept came from Indian NGO input into earlier pilot Background: the research project

  3. The child researcher strand • c.12 “children” in each of 2 agro-ecological zones per country (ages 11-18) • approx. 4 children per school, three schools per zone • Children’s training workshop in each zone • Child researchers select methods + research sites + time frame at training workshops

  4. Daily mobility diaries Photographic journals: the journey to school, journeys around home Accompanied walks (interview and map) Interviewing about mobility Ranking of travel modes and obstacles (by school groups) Children as transporters: counting and other observation at key loading points [Preliminary write-up in notebooks/files] Child researchers’ selected modes of enquiry

  5. Child researchers’ accompanied walks

  6. Child researcher photojournals

  7. Young researchers bring their own insights – different from adults • Clear view of children’s perspectives • Not misled when children say what they think people want to hear • Pick up issues that children are too embarrassed to raise with adults • Pick up issues that children think adults will not understand or which seem to be too unimportant

  8. Linking adult and child research strands • Value of child researcher input to adults “Children know the social networks … and things beyond the adult eye, or which we’d overlook. And these children [are] giving us a fair view of their lived life because they know the politics and dos and don’ts of the community, so it’s very important to incorporate them in the research process”. [Malawian RA] BUT ISSUES OF POSITIONALITY AND REPRESENTATION • Value of adult RA support to child researchers “Working with adult researchers is good because if you combine our findings with the adult researcher findings, it will make a good research” [17 year old boy, Malawi] BUT COMPLEXITY OF POWER IMBALANCES

  9. Linking young researchers to policy makers • Key role of Country Consultative Groups in project • CCGs: The coming together of a range of stakeholders in regular meetings from the start of the project, aimed at garnering advice and support, ensuring dissemination of project information, and influencing policy • Membership of CCGs: Ministries (transport, women, education, health), child-focused NGOs, transport unions, teachers, national research councils, academics + project collaborators • Children keen to engage with CCGs BUT careful groundwork + support essential • DANGERS OF ENLISTING CHILDREN AS ADVOCATES

  10. Review workshop, Mankessim, Ghana, October 08 19 young researchers [4 Malawian, 3 South African, 6 Ghana forest zone, 6 Ghana coastal zone] Facilitation of young researcher meetings by Marinke van Riet, IFRTD Young researchers decide to write a book of research experiences and findings Coming together at the Ghana workshop

  11. Preliminary drafting by 19 young researcher representatives + help from IFRTD and UCC staff Work folders of all 70 young researchers reviewed by representatives [by key themes]; key material extracted Young researchers select one representative per zone to coordinate work on subsequent drafts 1 adult country-collaborator representative appointed to assist Subsequent tidying in all research countries and UK – numerous emails and drafts! External review: Janet Townsend [steering group] and AFCAP [publication funder] Final approvals from young researcher representatives The writing process

  12. The booklet structure • Worked around four key questions raised by young researchers at the Mankessim workshop • What do we know about children’s transport and journeys? Our research findings • What did we learn from being a researcher? Our experiences • What do we want others to learn from our research? Our recommendations • How did we find out about transport and journeys of youth and children? Our research methodologies and the research process. • Each theme used as focus for a chapter

  13. AFCAP funding • Professional designer • Full colour cover, some colour inside, robust binding • 2,000 booklets printed in Malawi, 2000 in Ghana • Supervised distribution to: • All JSS and SSS in study locations [library, teachers, 1 classroom set of 40 per school] • Study communities [leaders, CBOs, libraries, churches/mosques, health centres, etc.] • Ministers and ministry offices [eduction, transport, health, children/women’s affairs] • Child-focused INGOs and local NGOs • Donor agencies and other relevant organisations e.g. UNICEF • Media information officers • Every young researcher • All CCG members • University education departments and libraries • Electronic version of project, AFCAP and IFRTD websites

  14. Negotiation in the writing and publication process • 19 Workshop representatives draw principally on their own views- difficulty of ensuring work of all 70 young researchers adequately represented • Adult researcher input into first and subsequent drafts • Adult perspectives – trying to separate adult and young researcher voices in the booklet • Negotiation with AFCAP: 2 countries; need for a clear statement of transport issues; approvals prior to printing

  15. Broader ethical issues raised by participation of young researchers in the project • Fieldwork hazards: respondent refusals/abuse • Fitting the project round school and home life • Remuneration for research: avoiding exploitation • Balancing quality requirements and reward with children’s diverse abilities • Recognition as researchers and writers • Advocacy and dangers of the ‘child participation star circuit’ [Black 04] • Pervasive power imbalances [need to help not lead, facilitate not manipulate]

  16. Conclusion • A step forward from participation in adult-led research • Some school groups then started their own independent research projects [e.g. school food] BUT • Resource issues re children’s independent research in Africa • Ownership and manipulation/control [by adults and privileged children] an ongoing concern Refs: • Children’s Geographies 2008: 6, 2: 151-167. [Also in van Blerk and Kesby (eds.) 2009 Doing Children’s Geographies] • Children’s Geographies 2009: 7,4: 467-480 • American Journal of Community Psychology [in press]