Participatory Research in Education and Agency in Mali (PREAM) Project Launches for Adolescents in the Segou an Mopti Regions

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Published: 5May2021

PREAM is a 3 year international collaboration between McGill University and the Université des Lettres et Sciences Humaines de Bamako (ULSHB) in close collaboration with Plan International Canada and Plan International Mali who are implementing an education in emergencies program. The three-year project in the Segou and Mopti regions will use participatory visual methods to explore the perspectives of adolescent girls and boys on how they see agency.

In light of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, McGill University researchers attached to the Institute for Human Development and Well-being have embarked on a three-year research project to investigate the relationship between agency and educational participation in conflict-affected regions of Mali. PREAM is an international collaboration between McGill University and the Université des Lettres et Sciences Humaines de Bamako (ULSHB) in close collaboration with Plan International Canada and Plan International Mali who are implementing an education in emergencies program. The interdisciplinary project is housed in the Institute for Human Development and Well-being. The research team included Claudia Mitchell, Lisa Starr and Blane Harvey from the Department of Integrated Studies in Education, Myriam Denov from the School of Social Work, Myriam Gervais from the IGFS, and Kattie Lussier from ISID.

The three-year project in the Segou and Mopti regions will address two important knowledge gaps whose aim is to enhance the responsiveness of policies, programs, educational rights and aspirations of adolescents, especially girls, in crisis-affected areas of Mali. First, the Sahara-Sahel region, where Mali is located, is particularly under-studied and deserves special attention on the question of girls’ agency. The aim is thus to identify the gendered differences between girls and boys in both agency and education participation. Secondly, prompted by the realization that in 2020 half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population was under 20 years of age (UIS, 2020) UNESCO has issued a call for researchers to reinvent the way to conduct studies in education by engaging adolescents and youths directly in research processes. This research project will be participatory and create a space for the perspectives of adolescent girls and boys through research design that will emphasise adolescents’ participation. This will be done through the use a mixed methods approach that integrates child-friendly participatory visual methods (PVM) workshops (drawing and cellphilming). Quantitative analysis in the form of an extensive survey study will build on adolescents’ insight into agency and education and investigate the causal relationship between variables relevant to agency and education such as girls’ decision-making and school attendance.

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). Through this research project all participating partners aim to establish equality, inclusiveness, capacity development, and sustainability by engaging adolescent participants as active research partners and co- producers of knowledge. It will prioritize 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.

The research team included Claudia Mitchell, Lisa Starr and Blane Harvey from the Department of Integrated Studies in Education, Myriam Denov from the School of Social Work, Myriam Gervais from the IGFS, and Kattie Lussier from ISID.

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