Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Director of the Legon Center for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD), has challenged African researchers to step up their game and produce relevant researches that could help in resolving conflicts on the continent.
According to her, “importing solutions” to Africa’s conflicts would not end the numerous conflicts on the continent but rather the time was rife to rely on “home-grown research” to conflict resolution.
Prof. Mensa-Bonsu was speaking in Accra yesterday at the opening of the African Peace building Network (APN) grantees training workshop. .
The training workshop which is being facilitated by LECIAD of the University of Ghana was sponsored by (APN) and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).
The workshop is for some selected 15 representatives on the African continent who would be trained to acquire new skills and methodologies in conducting relevant researches on the continent.
Participants were drawn from Ghana, Zimbabwe, Togo, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa.
Prof. Mensa-Bonsu said the participants would be equipped to “better pitch themselves into the battle to rescue Africa from too much experimentation by foreign interests”.
“In the end, Africa would be better off if initiatives adopted to assist Africans would have been generated from research by African scholars so that there would, indeed, be African solutions to Africans problems” she added.
Prof. Mensa-Bonsu noted that “although Africa is one continent, realities in the West may not necessarily mirror realities in the East and therefore research grounded in local realities would be more beneficial than solutions that have been imported from other parts of the world”.
She maintained that to ensure sustainable peace on the continent, there was the need to include women and youth in the peace building process.
Prof. Mensa-Bonsu added that active involvement of civil society organisation was also relevant, since they were a great resource for translating peace processes to the grassroots, assuring the utilisation of local knowledge and building bridges of understanding in broken communities on the continent.
She called for more funding for research on the continent, stressing that, field-based research was critical for the peace of the continent.
Dr. Cyril Obi, Programme Director of APN disclosed that a total of 400 applications were received from people across the continent to participate in the workshop.
According to him, they presented research proposals to be funded by APN and after a rigorous vetting of applicants’ research proposals, only 15 were selected to receive a grant of US$15,000 each to conduct research.
Dr. Obi said the grantees would be trained to sharpen their research skills and after their training would be sent out to conduct field research for six months in their respective countries, all aimed at sustainable peace on the continent.
By Joseph Edu Archison