Resources on the Mawazo Site

We would like to make Mawazo's site useful to a wide range of researchers, whether or not they get the opportunity to participate in one of our programmes or events.  Here are some of the resources that we've collected.  Do get in touch if you know of anything to add!

Accessing ungated articles.  The prevalence of paywalls in academic publishing makes it difficult for many researchers in low income countries to read the latest journal articles in their field.  We've listed several options for accessing ungated articles.

Writing support.  Most academics would agree that writing concise, insightful descriptions of their research is one of the most challenging parts of their work.  Fortunately, there are a number of resources to help researchers improve their English-language writing skills.

Research methods.  A number of sites offer free online training in the basic principles of social science research.  We've listed several good options, as well as other tools for staying organised and productive as you carry out your research.  We're also looking for online resources for research in STEM fields -- recommendations would be appreciated.

Research funding. Start your funding search with this list of some major international funding organisations in the social sciences and STEM.

Scholarships.  There's a wide range of scholarships available for students who would like to pursue graduate study in Africa and abroad.  We've assembled a list of sites which are frequently updated with useful scholarship opportunities.

 

Mawazo's Core Principles

Notes from an early brainstorming session

Notes from an early brainstorming session

In November 2016, when the Mawazo Institute was still mostly an idea, I called a friend who ran a scholarship programme in Ghana for advice on launching a new organisation.  He shared many useful suggestions, but one point in particular stood out to me: "The organisational culture you build when you're starting out will affect everything you do later." 

Some of Mawazo's core principles, like those in the photo above, have been clear to us from the very beginning.  We've previously written about the rationale for these ideas.  Other principles have come out during hours of discussion with our team and with a wide range of supportive colleagues, advisors, and friends.  Here are some of the values guiding our work.

Intersectional approaches.  Nearly all academics based in Africa -- male and female -- have access to fewer professional resources than their peers in the North.  We strongly believe that all African scholars deserve more support.  However, we were also struck by the fact that a large majority of university students and professors in Africa are men.  We're taking a step towards leveling the playing field by offering our year-long PhD Scholars programme to women. 

Continuous learning.  Rose and I have been very lucky to learn from the experience of many other organisations which support African scholars.  Conversations with groups like the Association for the Advancement of African Women Economists, the East Africa Social Science Translation Collaborative, the Centre for Higher Education Trust, and the Next Einstein Forum (among many others) have taught us a great deal about the advantages and limitations of existing models of support for African scholars.  We're also planning several surveys about the professional development needs of African women in academia, so we'll hear directly from our peers.  Keep an eye on our blog and newsletter for more information.

Giving and receiving feedback.  One of the major frustrations of the search for academic funding is the non-informative rejection letter: "We had many strong applicants, and couldn't accept everyone..."  This is a missed opportunity to help scholars improve their future applications.  We plan to provide feedback to all applicants for our Scholars programme -- both those accepted and rejected -- on the quality of their study questions and research designs.  We will also actively solicit feedback from our Scholars and participants in our public events about whether our programming is working well, or needs to be improved.

Academic freedom.  The rise of development consulting has been a mixed blessing for African academics.  It has offered many researchers an additional source of income at a time when university funding is limited.  However, scholars like Mahmood Mamdani argue that consultancies constrain academic freedom by forcing researchers to answer pre-determined questions, rather than allowing them to decide which questions are important to ask.  At Mawazo, we're focussing on research in the clean energy sector, which covers a wide ranges of topics that are important for development.  We encourage our Fellowship applicants to ask questions which provide both intellectual stimulation and practical value.

Welcome to the Mawazo Institute!

Hello, and welcome to Mawazo!  We're excited to have you with us as we start our work supporting the research careers of East African women. 

A bit of background: Mawazo was founded in late 2016 by Rose Mutiso and Rachel Strohm.  We've known each other since our undergraduate days at Dartmouth College, where we got our start in African education activism by creating the Students for Africa association.  In mid-2016, we realized that we were both looking for the next steps in our careers, and shared a passion for supporting African women in academia.  A great deal of brainstorming later, the Mawazo Institute was born.

We're currently preparing to launch our PhD Scholars programme in late 2017.  In the meantime, we'll be sharing news, scholarship opportunities, and other interesting content on our blog.   Subscribe to our newsletter as well for all the latest updates!