By Sarudzai muzhange (Gulu University) and Lucky Nyasulu (Egerton University)
The powerful statement which opened the conference of African Young Graduates and Scholars which two of RUFORUM’s MasterCard Foundation students attended, was “Education is not about getting a certificate but rather about one’s competency and application of skills in a working environment; and being able to bridge the gap between knowledge production and the knowledge producers though implementation.” The meeting, organized by FANRPAN was held from the 12-16th of March, 2018 at Birchwood conference centre, South Africa.
The AISA Young Graduates and Scholars (AYGS) conference is a platform that was conceived by the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) in the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and organised annually to enable young scholars, to produce and share research-based knowledge about the development challenges facing Africa as well as to publish and disseminate their research findings.
“Attending Africa Young Graduates and Scholars (AYGS) was a unique opportunity and came at the right time to me as a young scholar. It has helped me to have grounded knowledge in policy which will be vital for engaging myself in research activities”. – Said Lucky
We have been empowered to engage the community in order to come up with meaningful development in the society. We confirmed that to achieve one of the agenda 2063 goals which aims at creating an Africa whose development is people-driven, all citizens must be actively involved in decision making in all aspects of development, including social, economic, political and environmental irrespective of their gender, age or status.
To achieve the above as scholars, we should make use of the opportunities that come along the way. This should start within with the aim of seeing a change and to gain knowledge which will then transform to goods and services which will help the community. As up-coming scholars we should think big: thinking opportunity: banishing the poverty mentality as we cannot package poverty and try to sell it; it will not have a taker. Another key aspect is avoiding waiting for nothing, we should follow our programmes and as young scientists we have to find strategies to fill gaps within our regions.
Africa is facing an increased resource pressures and climate change, therefore, must invest in human resources and find ways to adapt and mitigate against these challenges and bridge the gap of skills between institutions and the industry.
“My perception on policy has positively changed. I had thought that policy-making process is mainly done by politicians. Through this training, I understood that researchers also have a great role to play in coming up with good policies”. -Sarudzai
Research provides evidence-based findings which would convince the policy makers to adopt and implement the proposals being recommended. It is good that researchers should be coming up with research which would influence policy in order to promote the well-being of the people.
As young scholars, we need to be proactive rather than reactive in bringing change to our communities. We don’t have to wait for problems to rise in order for us to conduct research.
Overall the training was good and offered a special learning opportunity for us as young scholars. We gained valuable knowledge and skills which are necessary for our studies and future career prospective in research. The information we gained will be particularly useful in writing our theses. We thank FANRPAN, SATRI and HRSC for organising the event. We are grateful to mastercard foundation and RUFORUM for sponsoring the trip and for making it possible for us to participate.
Ms Muzhange Sarudzai is student at Gulu University studying a Master’s of Science in Agri-enterprises development.
Ms Lucky Nyasulu is a student of Egerton University studying a Master’s of Science in Community Studies and Extension.