PARC seeks to apply new partnership models in catalysing and building an initial set of three capstone programmes of research and policy engagement that bring together relevant clusters of UoB expertise in respectful and collaborative partnerships with African research, policy and civil society actors to frame and address pressing development queries for the continent.
Underpinned by partnerships with regional and national institutions, we envisage each programme to encompass a coherent, synergistic group of interdisciplinary projects that are cross-sub-regional in scope. Our initial focus is on three substantive areas, whose importance the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown into particular relief. Across all areas, we envisage bringing to bear critical perspectives from Bristol’s work on migration and mobilities, cities and urbanisation and poverty.
A first step: co-creation workshops
As a first step toward building the programmes, PARC, guided by partners in the continent is convening a series of co-creation workshops to identify priority research agendas on each of the three capstone areas.
In the workshops, key actors from civil society, advocacy, governments, regional economic communities, continental bodies, technical agencies and academia, will jointly identify priority evidence and knowledge needs to help advance the realization of policy agendas and commitments on issues of sexual and gender-based violence, including child marriage; the development of care systems for young children and older adults; and access to adequate and sustainably managed water, sanitation and hygiene. Workshops are scheduled for late 2021 and early 2022. A WASH workshop was held on 28 October in conjunction with the AUC, as well as a session at the African Girls Summit in Niamey, Niger, on 18 November 2021. A second co-creation workshop took place 7-11 March; it was convened through the Centre for collaboration in Africa, University of Stellenbosch and in conjunction with APHRC.
Policy engagement in each of the capstone programmes will seek to be effective and appropriate, and respectful of Africa’s aspiration to embed the collective identification and pursuit of policy directions through continental and sub- regional mechanisms, which can help promote and shape national level policy making and action.
At both sub-regional and/or continental levels, African governments have made joint commitments on advancing child and adult care, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and water management, hygiene and sanitation.
The realization of such commitments within countries, however, has remained patchy — raising urgent queries: about the current relevance of continental and regional mechanisms in promoting national policy change, and about how future research may better engage to support both collective policy direction-setting, and its national-level translation.
Together with partners in the continent, PARC plans to address these questions through an investigation on ‘Continental and regional mechanisms: driving national policy change?’.
Findings will inform the design of capstone programme research and contribute to African and global scientific debates on policy mechanisms, broadly.