“We want people to have a say in decisions that affect their lives, and you are in that equation, contributing to ensure that we advance the agenda and amplify the voices of citizens on the continent,” Afrobarometer CEO Joseph Asunka told participants in the network’s summer school on Monday in Pretoria, South Africa.
“The contributions that you make to publications will be helpful in making sure that we take our data and analysis to new audiences, driven by new actors like yourselves,” Asunka added in his video message.
The summer school is Afrobarometer’s flagship capacity building event, aimed at equipping African scholars with solid skills in research design, survey methodology, and the use of social statistics as part of a broader effort to strengthen research capacity on the continent.
Over the next three weeks, Afrobarometer will be hosting the free training programme in collaboration with the University of Pretoria’s Future Africa, a pan-African research institute pioneering approaches to research and innovation on the continent and beyond. At the end of the summer school, participants are expected to produce a research paper.
Describing the summer school, Capacity Building Manager Thomas Isbell said, “One of the core objectives of Afrobarometer is to strengthen capacity for survey research, analysis, and communication on the African continent. In a world that is increasingly dependent on credible data, these skills are needed more than ever to ensure that this work continues to be for Africans and by Africans.”
The 18 participants – 50% women – represent 11 countries: Benin, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.
This year’s summer school marked the introduction of an online component to allow participants to build their research skills and understanding of Afrobarometer prior to arriving on campus.
“You are the pioneers of this new model, and I hope that you will set a good example and a good bar for future iterations of the programme,” Asunka said.
Reflecting on the importance of summer school, Adivhaho Florence Ramaite, research officer at the Institute for Security Studies and a 2023 summer school participant, noted, “Afrobarometer aims to be the voice of the people. As researchers, it’s crucial we grasp and effectively communicate these findings to policy makers, policy advocates, and NGOs for the promotion of the well-being of Africans.”