Opportunity for African Early Career Researchers/storytelling methodology training and network


iBali is an exciting new academic network led by the Open University in the UK and funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. It brings together leading African and other global experts in storytelling approaches, youth, urban issues and education – all with a commitment to alternative, creative and collaborative ways of surfacing and valuing knowledge. iBali intends to showcase, develop, share and apply methodological approaches using storytelling to address challenging issues in urban education systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. You can find out more about the network and its partners on our website (http://ibali-net.org) and Twitter feed @iBaliNetwork.

In 2017-2018 iBali will host a funded programme of networking events and resources. These include a methodological development workshop in South Africa in March 2018, an interactive web-platform, mentoring support and a bid-writing workshop in Kenya in August 2018.

This is a call for expressions of interest for ECRs to attend the methodological development workshop in South Africa in March 2018. There are up to 10 funded places available (including travel, workshop attendance, accommodation and meals). The workshop will: focus on conceptualising, sharing and developing skills in storytelling methodologies; work with young people to test out and refine the methodologies; partner ECRs with experienced mentors and; pave the way for the development of collaborative research proposals.

We are looking for early career academics whose research focuses on issues of youth learning, education, schools, or urban challenges and opportunities in Africa (or, even better, a combination of these). If you have experience in participatory facilitation, using storytelling approaches in research or working creatively with young people we’d love to hear from you. If you don’t have specific experience in these areas but can demonstrate a commitment to the ideas, values and principles embedded in working and researching in this way, then please do apply.

If you would like to be considered for a place on the workshop, please send your CV (maximum 2 pages) and a letter outlining your interest in the workshop, your relevant experience and an indication of how you might use storytelling approaches in future research (maximum 2 pages) to alison.buckler@open.ac.uk by Friday 1st December.

Please note that as the purpose of the networking scheme is to support academics from, and institutions in, ODA-recipient countries, funding will only be available for applicants who are a national of an African country on this list and who can demonstrate (in their application) a commitment to developing an academic career in a country on this list. We have adopted a very broad definition of ‘early career researcher’, although applicants must have a Master’s degree as a minimum qualification. Please also note that if accepted, you must commit to being available Thursday 22nd – Thursday 29th March 2018 inclusive. If you have any questions about applying, please contact Dr Alison Buckler (network lead) on alison.buckler@open.ac.uk.

Traditional and Complementary Medicine Workshop – College of Medicine, University of Malawi, October-November 2017

Traditional and Complementary Medicine Workshop

The College of Medicine through the African Centre of Excellence in Public Health and Herbal Medicine (ACEPHEM) is pleased to announce the introduction of the Certificate Course in Traditional and Complementary Medicines (TCM) for health professionals (HP) as follows:.

Dates: 30th October-10th, November 2017

Venue: College of Medicine, Mahatma Gandhi Campus, Blantyre

Facilitators: Experienced facilitators from College of Medicine, Malawi University of Science and Technology, Mzuzu University, Tubingen University (Germany), Pharmacy Medicines and Poisons Board, Malawi Bureau of Standards, National Herbarium and Botanical Gardens will share knowledge and experiences in TCM.

Workshop Coordinator: John Mponda, Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacognosy

Aim: The workshop is aimed at equipping the healthcare professionals with the knowledge and awareness of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.

Course objectives

By the end of this workshop, participants should be able to:
1.Demonstrate an understanding the foundations of Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM).
2.Demonstrate an understanding of the World Health Organization Strategy and Declarations on TCM and other policy frameworks in WHO AFRO and SADC.
3.Apply knowledge of pharmaceutical botany in understanding the problem of adulteration
4.Demonstrate an understanding of the link between herbal medicine and Western medicine on the aspect of Drug discovery
5.Demonstrate an understanding on Malawi’s draft Regulations and Guidelines on Traditional and Complementary Medicine formulated to safe and quality herbal medicines.
6.Demonstrate an understanding of herbal medicine pharmacovigilance and reporting of herbal medicine adverse effects and events.
7.Demonstrate an understanding of various types of dosage form presentation, preparations and Good manufacturing practices.
8.Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of Good Agricultural and Collecting Practices and environmental factors on the quality of herbal medicine with a special focus on content of active ingredient.

Workshop Methodology

Mainly interactive consisting of lectures, question and answer and discussion. Certificate in Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) will be provided for those who complete workshop. All power-point presentations will also be provided by email to participants on daily basis.

Who should apply: This course is recommended to all healthcare professionals especially those dealing with patient diagnosis, prescribing, medicine administration, palliative care and dispensing, and those doing or interested to pursue a career in herbal medicine research.

Workshop fee: USD100 per participant. Course fees cover course material, and tea. The ACEPHEM has limited scholarships to cover the workshop fees of participants. These will be awarded on merit and on first come first serve basis.

Application Deadline: Applications should be submitted to schisale@medcol.mw (with a copy to gondwet@medcol.mw) no later than 20 October 2017. Use the application form on the ACEPHEM website (https://acephem.medcol.mw)or ask from the emails above.

Call for Applications: 2 x Post-Doctoral Fellowships at Witz

We are seeking to recruit two post-doctoral fellows to join the Migration and Health Project Southern Africa (maHp) – a research project at the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS), Wits University.

1 x Post-doctoral fellowship: Migration and Health Project Southern Africa (maHp)
Involving a series of unique research and public engagement projects maHp aims to explore (and evaluate) ways to generate and communicate knowledge in order to improve responses to migration, health and wellbeing in the SADC region. Multiple disciplinary perspectives, mixed method approaches, and the involvement of various stakeholders – including migrants themselves – are central. Central areas of investigation link to issues of public health responses to migration; migration, labour and health; migration and health policy making; gender, health, sexuality and migration. Starting in February 2018 (negotiable), the successful applicant will join an interdisciplinary team of scholars exploring health and migration in southern Africa. With a home base in Johannesburg, post-doctoral fellows are encouraged to develop and participate in projects across the region.

1 x Post-doctoral fellowship: MoVE (method:visual:explore)
A key focus area within maHp is the development of visual and other involved methodologies to research the lived experiences of migrants in southern Africa. The MoVE project aims to integrate social action with research, and involves collaboration with migrant participants, existing social movements, qualified facilitators and trainers, and research students engaged in participatory research methods. This work includes the study and use of visual methods – including photography, narrative writing, participatory theatre, collage – and other visual and narrative approaches in the process of producing, analysing, and disseminating research data. These approaches to research facilitate story-telling and self-study, incorporating various auto ethnographic approaches. Central areas of investigation link to issues of social justice in relation to migration, with a specific focus on sexuality, gender, health, and policy. Starting in February 2018 (negotiable), the successful applicant will join an interdisciplinary team of scholars exploring knowledge production, research methodologies and ethics in relation to health and migration in southern Africa. With a home base in Johannesburg, post-doctoral fellows are encouraged to develop and participate in projects across the region.

Essential qualifications and experience: A PhD in a Migration & Displacement or an associated discipline; experience in developing and implementing health and migration research in southern Africa; competency in more than one regional language would be desirable. For the MoVE fellowship, experience in designing and implementing arts-based and/or visual methodologies in relation to migration and health in southern Africa is essential.

Timeframe: one year with possibility for renewal dependent on performance and availability of funding.

Remuneration: ZAR 220,000 per year, plus Wits medical aid and ZAR 10,000 research funding.

Application process: Please submit an application to Jo Vearey (jovearey@gmail.com) by Friday 13th October 2017.  Only short-listed applicants will be contacted and invited for interview in early November 2017.  Anticipated start-date:  1st February 2018 (negotiable).

Applications should include:

  • full CV
  • cover letter outlining your reasons for applying for the position
  • academic writing example
  • overview of experience working on migration and health in southern Africa
  • [for the MoVE fellowship] evidence of involvement in design and delivery of arts-based and/or visual research projects in southern Africa
  • details of two referees

Workshop Announcement and Call for Abstracts – Journal of Southern African Studies

Emerging scholars and new research in Southern Africa

The Centre for Social Research of the University of Malawi, in collaboration with the Journal of Southern African Studies (JSAS, UK), and the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA, Nairobi), will host a three-day Early Career Writing Workshop on 16-20 July 2018 at Chancellor College in Zomba, Malawi. The aim of the workshop is to provide an opportunity for early career scholars and postdocs to present papers for discussion and eventual publication in JSAS. Participants will bring papers on various aspects of the Southern African region, JSAS’s mandate. The region embraces South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Angola and Mozambique; and occasionally, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Mauritius.

Fine more information at http://explore.tandfonline.com/page/pgas/cjss-ecr-workshop

Two young academics reflect upon their experience at the MedHums conference

We had the pleasure of attending the first ever medical humanities conference in Malawi. This conference explored the hybrid space of humanities and medicine.   We learnt so much and met a lot of people who are doing interesting work in medical humanities. The wide array of interdisciplinary papers presented tackled historic and contemporary issues in medicine from a humanities perspective. They also tried to pave a way forward in the African medical humanities scene.

The presentation panels were grouped according to common themes and disciplines. This grouping was not well-thought which resulted in papers clumped together according to superficial similarities; had the programming been based on scrutinisation of the abstracts, they would have been grouped using deeper similarities that transcended discipline. If we were all attending the same session, this would have been appropriate but because we were spread out in two panels this hindered interdisciplinary discussion because attendants went to panels grouped according to their discipline. For instance, they were three papers on mental health; one was in History, the other in Literature and one in Theology. These papers could have been grouped together instead being put in panels according to their discipline.

The casual vibe of the conference made it a good environment to foster ideas. The keynote speakers were masters in their fields and good orators which made their long presentations interesting and thought provoking. We, two recent graduates, rubbed shoulders with professors and academic masters in their field but we were able to speak as and ask questions though they were our equals. The audience was attentive during our presentations and gave us criticism that we could use to improve our papers. The opportunity to present our papers at an international conference was amazing and we would love for such opportunities to be found more often. However, as fledglings still finding our footing in the world of academia, it would be nice to have more rewards for our efforts. Young people in other ventures such as entrepreneurship and those starting NGOs are given more rewards and incentives as opposed to young researchers.

In the recent years, there has been an exponential growth of artists, NGOs, academics using humanities to solve problems in health. If the conference had been well-advertised we would have had more papers from Africans, and more Malawian attendees (who were not presenting) who were interested in the discussions because it connects to work they are already doing.

Writing the papers was hard because both of us have studied close to nothing about medical humanities in our degree programmes. There is little knowledge of medical humanities in a Malawian context so it felt like we were groping in the dark. But also, individual unsupervised research is something new to us.  As a recent graduate, to present in front of professors, doctors and other highly success people and get such a positive feedback was amazing. We are grateful for this opportunity.

Bongani Khoswe (right) presents her paper on the role of the church in mental health in Malawi

The papers we presented, one looked into how the church in Malawi has dealt with depression amongst its members and the other on how women with disability are portrayed in Malawian folklore; both fit into current debates in medical humanities. For some time now, NGOs and government have tried to explore the role existing structures, such as the church and community leaders, can play in solving problems in medical practice; this was reflected in the paper on depression. Though within this debate, this paper went in an unexplored direction which was the Church’s role in mental health.

Wongile Mbano (left) presents her paper on the disabled women in traditional folklore on the literature panel.

Due to the recent increase in attacks on people with albinism, NGOs and the government have tried to change the societies mind-set on people with disability by trying to get it to see them as people instead of “the other”. This paper scrutinises society’s attitudes on disability by dissecting their oral literature on disability.  We hope that in future there will be more training opportunities in medical humanities in Malawi, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level.


– Bongani Khoswe (Chanco graduate, theology) and Wongile Mbano (Chanco graduate, English literature)