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Sharing Knowledge, Transforming Societies: The Norhed Programme 2013-2020

In June 2016, the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (Norhed) hosted a conference on the theme of ‘knowledge for development’ in an attempt to shift the focus of the programme towards its academic content. This book follows up on that event.

 

The conference highlighted the usefulness of presenting the value of Norhed’s different projects to the world, showing how they improve knowledge and expand access to it through co-operation. A wish for more meta-knowledge was also expressed and this gives rise to the following questions:

 

  • Is this way of co-operating contributing to the growth of independent post-colonial knowledge production in the South, based on analyses of local data and experiences in ways that are relevant to our shared future?
  • Does the growth of academic independence, as well as greater equality, and the ability to develop theories different to those imposed by the better-off parts of the world, give rise to deeper understandings and better explanations?
  • Does it, at least, spread the ability to translate existing methodologies in ways that add meaning to observations of local context and data, and thus enhance the relevance and influence of the academic profession locally and internationally?
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    Ubushakashatsi mu Bumenyi Nyamuntu n’Imibanire y’Abantu

    Mu bihugu byakataje mu majyambere, usanga ubushakashatsi ari itara rimurikira ibikorwa by’amajyambere kandi bukaba n’umuyoboro w’iterambere rirambye haba mu bukungu, ubumenyi n’ikoranabuhanga, imibereho myiza y’abaturage, imiyoborere y’igihugu, umutekano n’ibindi.  

     

    Kuba abashakashatsi bo mu bihugu bikiri mu nzira y’amajyamberere badakoresha cyane indimi zabo kavukire mu gukora ubushakashatsi no mu guhererekanya n’abandi ubumenyi bwavumbuwe hirya no hino ku isi bishobora kuba biri ku isonga mu bibangamira iterambere rirambye, ryihuta kandi rigera kuri benshi. Gukoresha ururimi abenegihugu bahuriyeho mu nzego zose – abashakashatsi, abanyeshuri n’abarimu, abafata ibyemezo, abaturage n’abandi bakenera ubushakashatsi cyangwa ibyabuvuyemo – bishobora gutuma hahangwa ubumenyi bwegereye abagenerwabikorwa, bakabugira ubwabo, bakabusangira kandi bakabusigasira. Ngicyo icyatumwe twandika iki gitabo mu Kinyarwanda. Tugamije kuzamura ireme ry’ubushakashatsi mu bumenyi nyamuntu n’imibanire y’abantu. Tugamije kandi kwimakaza ubwumvane hagati y’abafatanyabikorwa bose haba mu gutegura umushinga w’ubushakashatsi, kuwushyira mu bikorwa, gusesengura, kugenzura ndetse no gusuzuma uko ubushakashatsi bwagenze n’umusaruro bwatanze.

     

    Research Methods in the Social Sciences and Humanities

    Research in developed countries is often considered as a means to pave the way towards sustainable development in different areas of the society including science and technology, the economy, governance and security.

     

    Researchers in developing countries rarely have the opportunity to use their indigenous languages to design, plan and conduct research. Nor do they communicate in their indigenous languages to share their insights and learnings from other parts of the world with colleagues or students.

     

    Utilising the languages that researchers, students and teachers, policymakers, the community, and others interested in research understand better can help to generate new knowledge embedded in local realities where sustainable development needs to take root. That is why this book is in Kinyarwanda.

     

    The authors hope that writing this book in Kinyarwanda will increase research capacity in the humanities and social sciences in Rwanda and in the region. And that it will increase interaction between all key stakeholders in the planning and conducting of research as well as in analysing, monitoring and evaluating the research process and its outputs.]

    African Markets and the Utu-buntu Business Model: A Perspective in Economic Informality in Nairobi

    The persistence of indigenous African markets in the context of a hostile or neglectful business and policy environment makes them worthy of analysis. An investigation of Afrocentric business ethics is long overdue. Attempting to understand the actions and efforts of informal traders and artisans from their own points of view, and analysing how they organise and get by, allows for viable approaches to be identified to integrate them into global urban models and cultures.

     

    Using the utu-ubuntu model to understand the activities of traders and artisans in Nairobi’s markets, this book explores how, despite being consistently excluded and disadvantaged, they shape urban spaces in and around the city, and contribute to its development as a whole. With immense resilience, and without discarding their own socio-cultural or economic values, informal traders and artisans have created a territorial complex that can be described as the African metropolis.

     

    African Markets and the Utu-buntu Business Model sheds light on the ethics and values that underpin the work of traders and artisans in Nairobi, as well as their resilience and positive impact on urbanisation. This book makes an important contribution to the discourse on urban economics and planning in African cities.

     

    Mary Njeri Kinyanjui is a writer, researcher, teacher and volunteer community organiser. She is a firm believer in social and economic justice and self-reliance. She holds a PhD in Geography from Fitzwilliam College at the University of Cambridge in the UK and is a senior research fellow at the University of Nairobi’s Institute for Development Studies. At the time of writing, she was a visiting associate at the Five College Womens’ Studies Research Center in Mount Holyoke, Massachusetts.

     

    She has researched economic informality and small businesses, with particular focus on the role of grassroots and indigenous institutions, as well as gender, trade justice and peasant organisations, in the organisation of economic behaviour. Her current research is on the positioning of women peasants, artisans and traders in the global economy. Her publications include Women and the Informal Economy in Urban Africa (Zed) and Vyama Institutions of Hope: Ordinary People’s Market Coordination and Society Organization (Nsemia).

    The Social Dynamics of Open Data

    The Social Dynamics of Open Data is a collection of peer reviewed papers presented at the 2nd Open Data Research Symposium (ODRS) held in Madrid, Spain, on 5 October 2016. Research is critical to developing a more rigorous and fine-combed analysis not only of why open data is valuable, but how it is valuable and under what specific conditions. The objective of the Open Data Research Symposium and the subsequent collection of chapters published here is to build such a stronger evidence base. This base is essential to understanding what open data’s impacts have been to date, and how positive impacts can be enabled and amplified. Consequently, common to the majority of chapters in this collection is the attempt by the authors to draw on existing scientific theories, and to apply them to open data to better explain the socially embedded dynamics that account for open data’s successes and failures in contributing to a more equitable and just society.

    The Delusion of Knowledge Transfer: The impact of foreign aid experts on policy-making in South Africa and Tanzania

    With the rise of the ‘knowledge for development’ paradigm, expert advice has become a prime instrument of foreign aid. At the same time, it has been object of repeated criticism: the chronic failure of ‘technical assistance’ – a notion under which advice is commonly subsumed – has been documented in a host of studies. Nonetheless, international organisations continue to send advisors, promising to increase the ‘effectiveness’ of expert support if their technocratic recommendations are taken up.

    This book reveals fundamental problems of expert advice in the context of aid that concern issues of power and legitimacy rather than merely flaws of implementation. Based on empirical evidence from South Africa and Tanzania, the authors show that aid-related advisory processes are inevitably obstructed by colliding interests, political pressures and hierarchical relations that impede knowledge transfer and mutual learning. As a result, recipient governments find themselves caught in a perpetual cycle of dependency, continuously advised by experts who convey the shifting paradigms and agendas of their respective donor governments.

    For young democracies, the persistent presence of external actors is hazardous: ultimately, it poses a threat to the legitimacy of their governments if their policy-making becomes more responsive to foreign demands than to the preferences and needs of their citizens.

    The Civil Society Guide to Regional Economic Communities in Africa

    Since 1963, when the African integration project was born, regional Economic Communities (RECs) have been an indispensable part of the continent’s deeper socioeconomic and political integration. More than half a century later, such regional institutions continue to evolve, keeping pace with an Africa that is transforming itself amid challenges and opportunities. RECs represent a huge potential to be the engines that drive the continent’s economic growth and development as well as being vehicles through which a sense of a continental community is fostered. It is critical therefore that citizens understand the multi-faceted and bureaucratic operations of regional institutions in order to use them to advance their collective interests.