Participatory Research on Education and Agency in Mali (PREAM) is a 3-year international collaboration between McGill University and the Université des Lettres et Sciences Humaines de Bamako (ULSHB) in partnership with Plan International Canada and Plan International Mali who are implementing a program around education in emergencies. The project is funded through the Evidence for Education in Emergencies (E-Cubed) program and in partnership with the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE).
Using a participatory mixed methods approach, the research investigates and looks to produce much-needed evidence on the relationship between gender, agency, and education in conflict-affected contexts. The aim is to identify the gendered differences between girls and boys in both agency and education participation to directly support interventions that aim to remove educational barriers for girls. The project supports the development of complex programming that responds to the intersection of conflict, gender, and education.
Main research question
What is the relationship between the agency of adolescents (aged 13-18 years), especially girls, and their experience of primary education in conflict-affected settings of Mopti and Ségou, Mali?
Sub research questions
- What components of agency are most important to adolescent girls and boys?
- How does agency influence adolescent girls’ and boys’ participation in primary education?
- How does adolescent girls’ and boys’ participation in primary education influence their agency?
- How does the relationship between agency and experiences of primary education in conflict-affected settings differ between adolescent girls and boys?
- How do adolescents in formal and non-formal education in conflict-affected settings experience agency differently?
- How does the quality of primary education received by adolescent girls and boys influence their agency?
This three-year project complements Plan International's IMAGINE program, a large education in emergencies program expected to be implemented in Mopti and Ségou. The research design entails both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The qualitative approach uses child-friendly arts-based and participatory methods such as drawing and cellphilming, while a quantitative survey builds on adolescents’ insight into agency and education on a larger scale. The project will generate valuable findings, namely in the Francophone context, to inform policy and practice related to education and gender equality in conflict-affected settings in Mali and beyond. Findings, considered a public good, will be shared freely and widely at international, regional, and national levels through the applicants’ numerous networks, partnerships, and communication platforms.
Through this research project all participating partners aim to engage adolescent participants as active research partners and co- producers of knowledge. PREAM prioritizes the elevation of local voices, particularly adolescent girls, in shaping data collection instruments and analysis and participants will learn, by experience, how research is conducted, analysed, and communicated with policy makers.
The interdisciplinary project is housed in the Institute for Human Development and Well-being.
Université des Lettres et Sciences Humaines de Bamako (ULSHB) Researchers
Dr. Idrissa Soïba Traoré holds a doctorate in the Education Sciences from l’Université de Paris 8. He is the author of some twenty scientific articles published in Mali, Ivory Coast, Togo, Niger, Tunisia, France, and Switzerland and of a book entitled École et Décentralisation au Mali, des logiques d’appropriation locale aux dynamiques de conquête de l’espace scolaire. He has successively held the positions of Section Chief and Chief of the Department of Education Sciences, Vice Rector and Rector of the Université des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Bamako. Professor Traoré is, at Africa’s level, the General Secretary of the board of directors of the leaders’ assembly of Aide et Action International. Senior lecturer, he participated in several scientific and research activities including rapporteur at the colloquium on security governance in Mali (2014); mentor of the research team on the mutation of values as a factor of destabilisation of social cohesion at Mali’s Institute for Action Research for PEACE (IMRAP) (2015-2016); and participant at the colloquium on School Governance in the South at Bordeaux in France (2015). He has also been consulting and conducting research on numerous studies including on the following themes: Governance, Security and Human Rights in Mali with NDI (2014-2015; Cross-border access to basic social services with ANDAL Laboratory (2015); Early marriage in Mali with IDRC-WILDAF (2016-2017); The dynamics of local/community conflicts un the urbain communies of Niono and Macina in the Ségou region with ARGA, AMSS, ALERT (2016; The cartography of intervening actors in the National Reconciliation of the Republic of Mali with IMRAP (2018); and an Enquiry in 45 communes in Central and Norther Mali as part of the USAID’s five-year peace consolidation, stabilisation and reconciliation program (2019).
Dr. Moriké Dembélé holds a doctorate in Education Sciences, System Control option. Dr Dembélé is interested in the education and social insertion of marginalized children and youth. In the context of mass education policies, he has recently led a study on the knowledge acquired by children who left the school system early in rural areas with an emphasis on girls’ unique and worrying situation. As Professor of research methodology at the University, he has experimented with different protocols for data collection with children and young people in the African context. In this resepct, his last article jointly published in 2017 about conducting inquiries with and about youths in difficulty in African context using a bottom-up methodological approach develops an innovative research approach directly involving children and youth both as researchers and research subjects. Regarding knowledge of research areas, in May 2019, Dr Dembélé was coordinator of the Ségou and Mopti regions for field studies concerning the FRAMe (Fragility-Resilience Assessment Méthodology) study of a system of local governance, supported by Mali Peacebuilding, Stabilization and Reconciliation Project and conducted by the Université des Lettres et Sciences Humaines de Bamako (ULSHB).
Dr. Mamadou DIA holds a Unique Doctorate in Language Didactic from the Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (UCAD) in Sénégal. He was head of the Department of Letters in the Faculty of Letters, Languages and Language Sciences from 2014 to 2019. Member of the Pedagogical and Scientific Commision of the ULSHB, he is also the focal point of the Thematic Program of Research / Civilization, Languages, Literature and Society of Cames (PTR/CLLS- CAMES) in Mali. Working in the field of bilingual instruction, he participated in Dakar to the conception of self-training materials aiming to develop bilingual instruction (November 2017 to January 2018). It involved the creation of teaching manuals allowing teachers in bilingual schools to train themselves. He is the author of a book and several articles on themes such as Teaching French in a multilingual context: the experience of Mali at the Presses Académiques Francophones in 2014 and the factors of gender inequalities at the Université des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Bamako in 2017.
Dr. Fatoumata Keita holds a doctorate in American Literature from the Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis in Sénégal. Ms Fatoumata Keita is Professor of african literature of anglophone expression and of american literature in the Department of English. Her research focuses on the political and social activism of african women and women of african descent, in particular their struggle for emancipation, agency, empowerment, gender equality as well as their fight against gender-based violence, oppression, racism and discrimination from a feminist perspective. In this regard, her research examines the interactions between gender and education, development, peace, security, migration, regional integration in Africa and their impact on females’ construct of the Self and their ability to act. Dr Keita has participated in several colloquiums on gender where she presented communications on the fight against gender-based violence, African women’s resistance against gendered assignments in their societies, female leadership etc. She is currently working with the Heinrich Böll foundation on intergenerational feminism in Africa. She was the recipient of the American Fulbright Cultural Exchange scholarship, a research program that allowed her, between 2017 and 2018, to participate in several conferences and workshops on the current evolution of gender studies in the United States. She is the gender focal point and member of the internal quality insurance cell (CIAQ) of the ULSHB. She is also member of the Réseau des Femmes Universitaires et Enseignantes du Mali (REFUE-MA) which militates to strengthen the participation of female professor-researchers in university governance, all the while coaching female students so they can continue their education. Dr Keita is author of several academic articles.
Dr. Seydou Loua has a doctorate in Education Sciences from the Université Lumière Lyon 2 in France. He is teacher-researcher and director of Masters in the Department of Education Sciences of the Faculté des Sciences Humaines et des Sciences de l’éducation (FSHSE). He has published several articles in the domain of Educational Policy on topics such as the constraints and challenges to girls and women’s education in Mali, and issues related to girls’ schooling achievement in Mali in the Revue internationale d’éducation de Sèvres. He has also jointly published an article on the impacts of the security crisis on productive activities in the regions of Mopti, Gao and Tombouctou in the journal Recherches africaines. In addition to his teacher-researcher activities and his scientific publications, in 2017 he was senior researcher for a study on the link between development and security in the regions of Gao, Tombouctou and Mopti for the national coalition of civil society for peace and the fight against small arms proliferation. He was also consultant for the NGO Agir et Save the Children, in a formative research on the incusion of grandmothers in the reproductive health of teenagers and youth in Sikasso region. In 2019, Dr Loua also participated in the quantitative analysis of data from the FRAMe (Fragility-Resilience-Assessment-Méthodology) study, conducted by the Université des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Bamako.
McGill University Researchers
Claudia Mitchell is a Distinguished James McGill Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies with the Faculty of Education at McGill University and holds the title of Honorary Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. She is the Director of the institute for Human Development and Well Being as well as the founder and director of the Participatory Cultures Lab at McGill University, a research and training center in the Faculty of Education intended for masters and doctoral students and funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI). Her research is about the ways in which participatory visual methods and novel artistic approaches among youth and their communities can help address the most important social questions, such as gender inequality and the challenges related to gender-based violence, in different contexts and in a wide range of regions, including West Africa, Southern and Eastern Africa, as well as East Asia and the Pacific. She is a member of the McGill University research team for the PREAM project.
Kattie Lussier is a researcher at McGill university and lecturer at University of Montreal. She works in the field of international development and co-operation since 1998. She holds a doctorate in development studies from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, in England and a masters in assessment and evaluation from the University of Montreal. Specialized in capacity development and evaluation, she has been particularly active in education, community development and gender sectors and has worked on several projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia. As a consultant and researcher, she worked for UNESCO, the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank, UNDP, OIF, different bilateral donors as well as several NGOs and companies specializing in international co-operation. She has conducted fieldwork in over 20 countries including 8 countries in Africa. She has carried out several missions in Mali for the AMC and OIF to carry out studies and provide technical support and training. Before joining McGill in 2019 she occupied the position of assistant professor at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea and prior to that was a research fellow at the Centre for International Education (CIE) and the Center for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER) at the University of Sussex.
Dr. Myriam Denov is a Canada Research Chair 1 and James McGill Professor at the School of Social Work. Her research explores areas of child and youth adversity, child protection in international contexts, with a particular focus on the effects of gender-based violence on children living in areas of armed conflict, political violence, and high incidences of HIV and AIDS.
Myriam Gervais is a professor at the McGill Institute of Gender, Sexuality and Feminism. She has directed a multidisciplinary research project focusing on the use of visual participatory methods to conduct studies with rural girls and women in Africa (Burkina and Rwanda). She has published a guide on how to conceive and realize a participatory research project using visual methods (2018). She is a member of the McGill University research team for the PREAM project.
Blane Harvey is an Assistant Professor and William Dawson Scholar at McGill University’s Department for Integrated Studies in Education, where he leads the Leadership and Learning for Sustainability Lab. His research studies how climate change knowledge is produced, validated and communicated, and how participatory research, facilitated learning and knowledge sharing can support collective action in the global South
Dr. Lisa J. Starr is an Assistant Professor at McGill University in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE). She completed her doctoral degree in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Victoria. She received a Master of Arts degree in administration and supervision from the University of Phoenix while working as a secondary teacher overseas. Her teaching career led her from Canada to Pakistan, Kuwait, Mongolia and back to Canada. Her travels created a passion for the study of the relationship between identity and culture, particularly in relation to educational effectiveness and school leadership. Lisa strives to facilitate experiences beyond simple show and tell to create transformative learning environments where individuals are inspired and empowered. Her current research focus is the use of autoethnography in the study of leadership philosophy and practice.
Prudence Caldairou-Bessette is a clinical psychologist for children, teenagers, families and adults. She is an associate professor of humanistic psychology at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). She is also currently completing her post-doctoral studies at McGill University under the supervision of Claudia Mitchell (Education) and Lucie Nadeau (Transcultural Psychiatry). Since 2013, she has been working with the SHERPA University Institute that specializes in the health and social support practices in a multi-ethnic context. She is also a youth mental health psychologist in a Centre Médicosocial in an underprivileged Montreal neighborhood (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve) and in an aboriginal community center in the outskirts of the city (Kahnawame). She holds a doctorate in psychology research/intervention (PhD/PsyD) from UQAM and a doctorate in psychology from Université de Strasbourg (PhD, psychoanalytical studies and clinical psychopathology, Programme international du Collège Doctoral européen). Her thesis was based on a cultural and social study of drawings made by children from 5 different countries (including France, Vietnam and Russia), but more specifically on drawings made by children from Québec and Ivory Coast. In the context of her work, she has lived in or visited several countries in Black Africa (Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Cameroon). She has written several articles on the intercultural interpretation of children’s drawings and the use of drawings in research with children. She is now interested in the participatory use of drawings, games and other forms of artistical expression both in clinical research and in social justice.
Jennifer Thompson is a postdoctoral candidate at the Public Health Research Centre of the University of Montreal, within the Chaire de recherche McConnell-Université de Montréal for the mobilization of youth knowledge. Dr Thompson is interested in the methodological questions linked to participatory and visual research. She has worked with methods such as photovoice, participatory videos and cellphilming (cellphone videos) to explore questions linked to gender and water management in Cameroon, teacher training in Mozambique and environmental conservation in Sierra Leone. Dr Thompson has also conducted training workshops on visual and participatory methods to support researchers in Kenya and Myanmar.
Ishika Obeegadoo is in her final year at McGill, completing a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Cognitive Science with a minor in Economics. She was born in the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius and grew up there before emigrating to Canada. She is passionate about Human Development with particular reference to gender equality and universal access to health and education. With the IHDW, Ishika has been exploring the role that governance and policy-making can play in fostering sustainable and equitable human development and ensuring the well-being of at-risk populations and marginalized groups, through her role with the PREAM project.
Elina Qureshi is a U3 student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Development and Economics. Her academic interests include public policy and good governance, international environmental policy, and transnational migration. Her previous work experience has focused on corruption, transparency, and governance practices in Lebanon, immigration and refugee policy in Canada, and financial empowerment through development programming for women in Uganda. She has participated in various on-campus student organizations and is on the editorial board for journals such as Catalyst and Maktoub. Elina is passionate about furthering equity and sustainability through her work and is looking forward to contributing towards community development initiatives at the IHDW and learning more about participatory visual research.