HR&S RESEARCH MANAGEMENT Support (REACH)
- Individual career goals.
- Perform high quality research.
- Disseminate scientific findings.
- Implement scientific findings.
- Enable talents of Africa.
- Solve the challenges of the country.
Lack of fundraising activities among researchers
Testimonies*: Researcher (not PI) “My outcome challenge is lack of funds”. This testimony is stated by almost every researcher asked. The SfC requests “What is the activity” the answer is “none”. Lesson learned, the challenge is not “Lack of funds”, the challengs is lack of fundraising activites. Follow up questions; why are you not engaging yourself is seeking funds? Everyone answers one or several of the following: “I do not know where to apply”, “I do not know how to apply”, “I do not have time”, “I thought it was the PI only who should seek funds”.
Lack of activities related to ensuring access to properly functioning equipment
Testimonies: Researcher often claim that “My outcome challenge is lack of equipment”. This testimony is stated by almost every researcher asked, who is involved with laboratory work. The SfC requests “What is the activity” the answer is “none”. Lesson learned, the challenge is not “Lack of equipment”, the challenge is lack of activities related to ensure access to properly functioning equipment. Follow up questions; why are you not engaging yourself with ensuring access to properly funtioning equipment? Everyone answers one or several of the following: “I do not know which piece of equipment I need”, “I do not have the funds”, “I do not have time”, “I do not know what to do to get involved with ensuring access to scientific equipment”.
Lack of activities related to ensuring access to training events
Testimonies: Researchers often claim that “My outcome challenge is lack of training events”. This testimony is stated by many researchers asked. The SfC requests “What is the activity” the answer is “none, or very little”. Lesson learned, the challenge is not “Lack of access to training events”, the challenges is “lack of activities related to providing access to training events”. Follow up questions; why are you not engaging yourself in activities related to providing access to training events? Everyone answers one or several of the following: “I do not know how to involve myself with enabling access to training events”, “I do not have funds for training events”. “I do not know where to apply”, “I do not have time”, “I do not consider it to be my responsibility to arrange training events”.
Responsibility for experimental work
Testimony by technician: “Often technicians do analysis and diagnostic and answers questions related to researchers problems. Researchers often depends on technical procedures and advice when come to methodology application. Technicians are the diagnostic team and advisers if procedural guidance to testing the samples.” Reflection by CEO: Actually, the availability of technicians in unfavourable when researchers are seeking research grants, the grant givers see that the real work is not done by the applicant. Sometime the technicians are not even mentioned in the publication. Imagine the researcher presents her/his work in a conference, and someone asks about the experimental section, and the researcher cannot answer, while the technician is not mentioned among the authors. That will be an embarrassment to the researcher.
Lack of activities ensuring quality supervision:
Expectations of Scientific institution management
It seems the Scientific institution management often expects the staff and students to arrange with their own research grants, while being assigned large volumes of lecturing and administrative responsibility. It seems also that the Scientific management welcomes every effort from the Aid industry to provide training to staff and students on any topic selected by the Aid industry itself, free of charge for the Scientific institution management. Especially though, does the institution management prefer coaching of staff and students to submit successful research grant applications. Unfortunately, when the staff and students receives a research grant, very little support, or no support at all, is provided to the researcher to excel in their research. On the contrary actually, there is little or no access to functioning scientific equipment, little or no time for research, lack of good internet, electricity, quality computers, and little or no professional scientific supervision.
The university librarians often have access to keywords to main databases, but the researchers and the technicians are not aware of this opportunity.
Testimony: “I feel I will have better and timely studies at another university. You see a lot goes on at our department and certain things are better not told to people of integrity like you. I would like to have a role that would result in well managed purchase of chemical … etc so that I can progress with my PhD. The research funds provided to us are not enough but are sufficient if used for the intended use…. how recruitment is done and how and if chemicals are bought, but other aspects are also important. It would help so much if the waste of resources and deliberate delays are dealt with. It is unfortunately a weakness on our side. I have been silenced and cannot talk seriously in the meetings again. A leader told me something I feel is so embarrassing to tell you; activity in the meetings and partnership activities is interpreted as being a spy for you. When prof Cecilia interrogates a group leader about things not done well, then the active person in the group is communicating with Cecilia about what goes on at the department. We cannot task a donor to provide funds, recruit, buy chemical, teach people to be honest and result oriented, teach people why meetings and contributions in them are for the common good etc, that would be like telling the donor to transfer their offices to universities being helped. I pray we will try to do things well. We have visited serious groups abroad and liked their ways. Unfortunately we fail to emulate them. We have to continue the struggle for the group back at my university.”
Lesson learned: Research funds are sometimes mismanaged. Local stakeholders may sometimes be expected to team-up against a funding partner.
Reflection by CEO: WHY are local stakeholders sometimes teaming-up against a funding partner? Do we have a joint understanding that Europe deserves to be met by in-accountability because Europe is rich as a result of Africa being poor; slave trade, colonial times and present unfair trade deals. I agree with that Europe is being rich because Africa is being poor, and can easily accept such accusations. Now, if we want to find ways to change this as fast as possible, general research and business investments will risk to fail.
Informed decision: Establish clear and measurable structures around recruitment of MSc and PhD students, as well as, around the purchase of chemicals. A very narrow scope for financial research and business investments, ensuring that the partners in Africa will not team-up turn against HR&S, but see the long-term value of accountability when working with HR&S. Also the other way around, find ways to prove that HR&S is an honest and trust-worthy partner with intrinsic motivation for a shift of paradigm.
Accountability – credit for research
Testimony: “My supervisor is first author even though I did all of the work by myself.”
Accountability of research grants by team-leaders
Testimony: “Unfortunately I have come to another country to take up their scholarship offer actually but wanted to continue with the groups back home. I think this is a place where I can have control over the progress of my research under normal circumstances.” “Your institution helped me so much. I can’t tell you how much. Because me I count every input by your institution – even the wasted one. Because your institution means well especially for Africa. You see there is great change in the groups because of your extra effort. But we will do more. As simple as team-leaders accepting to meet weekly and people are allowed to at least talk about progress and challenges. Is a good start. We just need to push this, ensure honesty and good will from the leaders and students. The system can force the current leaders to change for the good. And they will improve slowly. We need to be serious indeed.” “It is painful when other people kindly work hard and sacrifice for you and then you play around with what they sweat for to help. The pain you cause when you waste what has been sacrificed for you is much. I pray that we change and act seriously. “
Testimony* “The main challenge is many years of aid with no serious accountability.”
Aid dependency – lack of institutional management
“We are totally dependent on aid institutions, either empower in the wrong way or dis-empowered.” “While the sponsor is there the receiver do not try to arrange with own funds and own solutions.”m“There is a problem among us Africans with responsibility. That is the reason for lack of accountability.”
“We Africans do not know how to manage an institution, if we did then some problems would be avoided.” “Sometimes the institution has very bad systems, so that it is really difficult to be accountable. The many layers of bureaucracy, creates a problem with that we do not know who is responsible for things that has happened.” “If someone is really serious and really trying, they get frustrated by the bureaucracy, which makes it impossible to excel in actual practice” “Let us say that some one is placing an order, and that order passes through the institutional system, then maybe the wrong items shows up. If it happens there is no one to make accountable for the mistake.”
“What I have seen in Europe is that the government is more interested in the results from the Universities, lack of interest by the government as in African countries can dis-encourage the researchers.” “In Europe they share ideas, but in Africa there is a hierarchy instead. The high level may take decision that we do not agree on. People do not tell what they want when in meetings with high level people.” “In a meeting everyone was agreeing with the leader, but after the meeting when the leader had left, all other participants n the meeting said they will actually not do what has been agreed on.” “When people come back from studies abroad they come with high ambitions, but after two years they give up, because the environment is too challenging.” “Lack of reporting in Africa, even in the government there is lack of reporting. This results in that people do not know what is actually happening. If there would be reporting, then survey would be efficient. Even when for example the World Bank transfer funds they cannot make a proper survey of the impact, because there are no reports. To sort this our African Institutions need to have workshops to discuss progress or no progress.”
“We lack communication, people are often reluctant to share information because they are afraid that the idea they had will be stolen.”
“People work by themselves and do not want to share information, this also crates a distance between donors and target partner.”
“Most of the time we lack personal motivation, if someone do not earn money then the motivation is lacking.” “The salary for researchers in Europe is higher enabling the researchers to sustain their families. If we need to look for extra income, as in Africa, then we become less accountable. Especially if you are the only the person sustaining your family. Maybe someone needs to pay hospital or funeral costs, the person may want to borrow money urgently and intends to replace that money later, but replacing then maybe it is more difficult than expected.”
“If using money for something else than agreed on, donors in Europe is of the opinion that people have been steeling, and they feel cheated upon. Europe cannot comprehend this situation, that it can really bed bad like that so that people actually have such difficulties that they see no other alternative than to divert money. This is lack of understanding across cultures.” “In Europe we just have have to pay back, and if you do not pay back, you will have to pay more and more. This is imposed on Europeans through the country rule-of-law.” “Regarding the patronizing system, the system is so common in Europe that we do not reflect on it. A changed mind-set will require a lot of explanation.” “People in Europe want to help, but people are born into how to help in a patronizing way.” “We Europeans can make easily make mistakes and cause problems by imposing our ways on others.” “Also within Africa we have different cultures. For example in some places, girls should not go to school, they should focus on helping their husbands. The Europeans must show cross-cultural respect, to understand the differences.”
Coordinate with Support Institutions: AuthorAid, INASP
Ensure benefiting from all free resources and training provided through their web-sites.
Counter-act Help-me mind-set and the related lack of Action and accountability
HR&S experiences a problem with that many expects HR&S to sort out their challenges, free of charge and with lack of accountability for how funds (research grants) have been invested and other types of support have been benefited from.
- Scrutinize the reason for this attitude, to reach the bottom and being able to argue against.
- Benefit from the SfC and remain in long-term relations to convince the stakeholder of the possibility and benefit of taking own responsibility for i) funds raised, ii) delivering timely results and iii) respectful mutually beneficial international relations.
Activity THREE Counter-acting “sex for grades” and the “help-me mind-set and the related lack of accountability”
- Such activities can be reported to HR&S and who will forward the message to the management without mentioning who gave the information. HR&S will follow-up to be informed about which activities that has been taken to counter-act the activities.
- HR&S may call for round-table sessions addressing the problem. Stakeholders are brought together to reflect over the consequences for the victims.
- Individual time management. Ensure enough time to do research through own well-disciplined time management.
- Individual long-term planning with measurable mile-stones.
- Know how to seek research grants and how to invest them well, so that the career is promoted.
- Identify the appropriate grant giving institutions.
- Send grant application to donors supporting research and scientific meetings.
- Seek funding from the government, send grant application to the government.
- Know how to publish.
- Manage the English language.
Attitude – Lack of motivation due to limited financial support
- Change attitude from focusing on money to focusing on research output.
- We should think that we make the investment in ourselves.
- Team work can also motivate.
- Develop novel ideas.
- Develop products and services.
- Develop patents.
- Access to a quality laboratory with functioning advanced equipment and well educated technicians.
- Develop a proper business situation around laboratories.
- Convince the authorities through policy-briefs and Round table sessions to equip the laboratories.
Address the needs of the civil society
- Analyse the mind-set of the community.
- Sensitise the local community on development, promote the usage of developed products.
- Developing products and services, for example: use local material as pigment, know how traditional medicine can be used to overcome health problems in Africa.
- Benefit from and collaborate around local knowledge when developing products and services.
Collaborate with policymakers
- Support policy development.
- Support politicians to develop national policies to promote community development
- Lobby among the politicians.
Collaborate with the private sector
- Address the needs of the private sector.
Disseminate scientific findings
- Disseminate results through workshops and conferences.
- Share with the government; Inform about scientific findings through policy briefs. Inform about products and services through Round Table discussions. Prove to be useful to the government in order to motivate them to invest in scientific research.
Implement scientific findings
- Work in research areas with practical applications.
- Reach out to the society. Have knowledge in their areas of research. Have knowledge about the problem before starting the research work. Focus on impactful research to the society.
- Discuss with industries to identify the gaps, then research on what the industry need.
- Work in collaboration in order to come up with impactful research. Compare with others, ensure interdisciplinary collaboration.
- Establish local research institutions besides universities and government institutions.
- Adopt competency based training.
- Do more research even with the available inadequate pieces of equipment.
- Implement work directly after publication.
- See how money can generate income.
- Believe in ourselves.
- Avoid depending fully on aid. The prolonged provision of aid became a problem since it discouraged creativity, innovation and creative thinking as the researchers focus on the money rather than the impact of the research.
- Improved service delivery.
- Generate start-up capital; Take bank loan or seek investor; needs guarantee which can be a home or a piece of land.
- Address National fund for investment for farmers.
- Involve everyone, also those lacking tuition fee.
- Empower women; ensure women researcher role-models, seek research grant for women. Ensure gender balance.
- Promote African researchers at other continents.
Training by the CEO on the strategy for change Feb 2021. 20 participants and ten passed the exam.
List of people who completed presentations:
1. Millicent Sifuna – Kenya
2. Valens Habimana-Rwanda
3. Jean Claude Safari-Rwanda
4. Birori Mardochee – Rwanda
5. P. Felix LOMPO-Burkina Faso
6. Dorothy Omuok- Kenya
7. Souleymane KOLOGO – Burkina Faso
8. Elizabeth Faith Adhiambo- Kenya
9. Swivia Moonga Hamabwe – Zambia
10. Stéphanie MAIGA- Burkina Faso
11. Brice Alain KABORE- Burkina Faso
12. Werunga Kevin Daniel- Kenya
13. Urbanus Kioko – Kenya
14. Baguian Kassoum- Burkna Faso
15. Atwine Ambrose
16. Mercy Ngoya- Kenya