Building capacity for Gambian researchers
Graham Tucker, Jennifer Marie
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Building capacity for Gambian researchers is the result of a research inquiry in The Gambia, exploring the politics of knowledge and geo-political interests through an African or Afro-centric approach to such research. The study responded to the call from African scholars and politicians to rethink African research development using an Afro-centric framework. Critical dialogue about modern science and indigenous knowledge, new and old ways of knowing and thinking took place with researchers at The Gambian Chapter of the Educational Research Network for West and Central Africa, (ERNWACA), and the Gambian Economic and Social Development Research Institute (GESDRI), and with other academic researchers, practitioners, students, elders, African knowledge producers, politicians and theoreticians. The exploration created conditions for dialogue between the different dimensions and paradigms in a discussion of what it means to be African in the 21st century. This research was part of an inquiry into the paradigmatic characteristics of indigenous knowledge in the Gambia. Knowledge was explored as an integral aspect of the ontological theory held by local indigenous Gambian African people, where knowing is relational and participatory. Reports indicated that the general acceptance in Africa of Western knowledge systems and knowledge transfer has meant a loss of African identity, and has created a formal/informal knowledge gap in African society. Western frameworks for research promote a narrow view of research that dismisses non-traditional methodologies. The critical social science research presented in this thesis challenges the status quo, its Building capacity for Gambian researchers is the result of a research inquiry in The influences and assumptions, and seeks to positively change these by influencing policy approaches to research development.