In early 2016 CODESRIA launched two calls as part of its research grant competitions. The support of research by African and Diaspora scholars is a principal means through which CODESRIA fulfil’s its mandate of promoting social science research in Africa and contributing to the continent’s development. In late 2016, 6 networks were announced as winners out of a total of 226 applications receive. Network members came from Cameroon, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The groups made of between 3 and 6 members study issues of tremendous significance to Africa’s quickly evolving political, social and economic context today. They range from the implications of gender in the constitution and functioning of security forces and family planning to early child marriages and biodiversity preservation. Support for these groups represents and effort by CODESRIA to continue work on many issues concerning governance, security, gender and the environment on which it has generated work over the years.
Below are brief profiles of the groups selected. CODESRIA wishes to extend its congratulations to members of these networks and wish them well in their work over the next 18 months.
Gender and the army in Cameroon
• Coordinator: Estellle Kouokam Magne, Catholic University of Central Africa, Cameroun
o Youssoufou Ngamondi Karie; Catholic University of Central Africa, Cameroun
o Wilfride Gilbert Nzokou Fotsing, Ecole Militaire Interarmées (EMIA), Cameroun
o Dorothee Ndoumbe, University of Yaounde, Cameroon
o Pierre Yves Désiré Ndzomo Bessala, Catholic University of Central Africa, Cameroun
o Albert Le Grand Amba Mballa , Université Catholique d’Afrique Centrale, Yaoundé, Cameroun
Synopsis of project: This study seeks to study the role that gender plays in the Cameroonian army. The importance of gender in recruitment, training and promotions as well as administrative procedures will occupy this study. The project will also reflect on the extent to which the army reflects wider structures of gender relations in Cameroonian society. The study is one of a growing body of work that seeks to draw connections between security and gender in a time when sexual gender based violence by regular armies, peacekeeping troops and irregular forces is rife.
Barriers to male involvement in family planning - A case of Mombasa and Siaya Counties, and Nairobi’s Korogocho informal settlement, Kenya
• Coordinator: Dalmas Omia, University of Nairobi, Kenya
o Rhoune Ochako, University of Nairobi, Kenya
o Steven Kimetu, University of Nairobi, Kenya
o Owuor Olungah, University of Nairobi, Kenya
o Joan Kadamu, University of Nairobi, Kenya
Synopsis of project: The project seeks to explain variation in the extent to which men adopt modern family planning methods. The group is specifically interested in male use of male family planning methods and male support for their partners’ use of female family planning methods. The study employs both quantitative and qualitative methods and focuses on Siaya and Mombasa counties as well as the informal settlement of Korogocho in Nairobi. The project will contribute to the understanding of demographic trends, which has implications for poverty reduction and the provision of many services.
Child marriages and implications for social protection: A case study of the Apostolic sects in Zimbabwe
• Coordinator: Mildred Mushunje, Justice for Children Trust Eastern and Southern Africa, Zimbabwe
o Petronella Nyamapfene, Justice for Children Trust Eastern and Southern Africa, Zimbabwe
o Munyaradzi Muchacha, University of Lincoln (U.K)
o Mufaro Precious Mushunje, University in South Africa
o Martha Chinyemba, Gender and Rural Development Trust, Zimbabwe
o Edwell Kaseke, University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa
Synopsis of project: This project seeks to understand the persistence of early child marriage in certain apostolic sects in Zimbabwe despite national laws prohibiting these practices and activism by civil society groups. The stickiness of practices in the face of countervailing pressures and the question of the effectiveness of state policies and the impact of civil society movements are all subjects that will be broached by this study. The project will undertake detailed ethnographies of certain sects. The study will contribute to child protection and human rights by suggesting ways in which the practice of early child marriage can be better deterred.
Health literacy and health information-seeking behavior of pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in selected regions of Tanzania
• Coordinators: Edda Tandi Lwoga Muhimbili, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania
o Columba Mbekeng Muhimbili, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania
o Reuben Mutagaywa Muhimbili, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania
Synopsis of project: This project seeks to understand differences in the extent to which pregnant women seek health information. It explores the impact of multiple explanatory variables including health literacy, social capital, access to health infrastructure and perceived health risks in explaining pregnant women’s tendency to seek health information related to pregnancy. The study will combine a quantitative survey with qualitative research in Pwani and Kilimanjaro regions of Tanzania. The study hopes to contribute to our understanding of and maternal health, early childhood development and how to improve these.
Languages and cultures in danger: Biodiversity and endogenous knowledge
• Coordinators: Patrick Mouguiama-Daouda, Université Omar Bongo, Gabon
o Auguste Moussirou-Mouyama, Université Omar Bongo, Gabon
o Fabrice Agyune-Ndone, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (CENAREST), Gabon
o Rosalie Ngoua Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (CENAREST), Gabon
o Aude Lauriane Mboumba Mbety, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (CENAREST), Gabon
Synopsis of project: This study explores the links between endogenous knowledge and biodiversity. It centers the importance of local linguistic repositories on flaura and fauna (names, categories, ecosystem management systems, beliefs, etc.) to the preservation of ecosystems. It will collect and analyze linguistic, ethnographic and biological data on flaura and fauna from four communities in Gabon. The study will contribute to our knowledge of the links between ethno linguistics and ecology and aid the effort to preserve biodiversity.
‘Confronting dialogues:’ Trajectories, constructions and gendered emancipatory pathways in the PALOP: Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and Mozambique
• Coordinator: Patrícia Godinho Gomes, Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA), Brazil
o Isabel Maria Casimiro, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Centro de Estudos Africanos, Maputo, Mozambique
o Ângela Sofia Benoliel Coutinho, Fundação Amilcar Cabral, Cabo Verde
Synopsis of project: This study will examine the impact of women’s participation in liberation movements to their empowerment in the postcolonial societies that resulted from these struggles. The relations between political discourse and practice and that between formal rules and the informal processes that structure and characterize gender relations will occupy this study. The focus of this project is the former Portuguese colonies of Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique. Archival research and ethnographic methods will inform this work. The study stands to contribute to our knowledge of the links between the elaboration of gender relations and the complicated process of state formation and nation building.