Weaving together a global team

INASP’s programme has always been rooted in the South – ensuring that Southern knowledge is visible and valued, and that Southern professionals are assisted to realise their ambitions and lead the change they want to see. We are proud of the partnerships we have developed over the years, and what we have achieved together. But we want to shift INASP further, and to make the organisation and our work increasingly Southern-led, Southern-driven and Southern-delivered.

Last year we introduced our new trustees. This was the first step in making our governance more responsive to the needs of the South. This year we have grown our team of Associates and have worked to knit staff and Associates together as a single INASP team.

In 2022 we welcomed several new Associates to the team: Felix Emeka Anyiam and Funmilayo Doherty in Nigeria; Buna Bhandari in Nepal; Richard de Grijs in Australia; and Seyi Somefun in South Africa. They have all been collaborating with INASP for some time – particularly leading and developing the AuthorAID community as Stewards, facilitators, and mentors.

These five individuals join our existing team of 10 Associates: Alejandra Arreola (Mexico); Annelise Dennis (UK); Bernard Appiah (Ghana/US); Flora Fabian (Tanzania); Gary Dooley (UK); Harriet Mutonyi (Uganda); Haseeb Md. Irfanullah (Bangladesh); Leandro Echt (Argentina/US); Ravi Murugesan (India/US) and Sara Gwynn (UK). We now have a total of 15 Associates working with us – spanning 13 countries, and with connections to many more.

Diverse expertise

Between them they each bring many years of deep experience – drawn from a wide range of professions – including university lecturers and researchers, facilitators and trainers, evaluators, and advisors and as consultants. Their expertise spans medicine, public and environmental health, astronomy, ecology, political science, science communication, digital and adult learning.

For me, being an INASP Associate has not just been about professional fulfilment and contributing to a mission I admire, it has given me the freedom to experiment and to grow in my personal life.
Ravi Murugesan

Growing new roots

INASP has always championed the knowledge and expertise of Southern researchers and academics and growing our team through Associates was a logical next step. Coupled with our long-term partnerships with universities and research institutions, it is part of a deliberate strategy to root our work more firmly in the research and knowledge communities that we aim to serve.

I have found this experience very enriching. It is provided plenty of opportunities to connect with diverse, like-minded groups of associates and an excellent INASP team. The INASP team is very welcoming to our ideas, and keen to work collaboratively…, I am helping to develop an online course in systematic review and facilitating AuthorAID courses.
Dr Buna Bhandari

We want to make sure that the work we do is increasingly designed and delivered by and with Southern experts – so that we and our partners benefit from the knowledge and understanding they bring, and their deep experience of working in, and with, the universities and research institutions.

Creating change together

Unsurprisingly, it is already proving its value. Prof. Flora Fabian and Mai Skovgaard have worked together to translate what we learnt about gender-responsive pedagogy in East Africa to support lecturers in Ghana and Nigeria.

Becoming an Associate has given me the opportunity to venture more into gender mainstreaming and gender responsive pedagogy, areas I am really passionate about. INASP’s emphasis that ‘we want to work with women and men to improve learning, teaching and research systems for all’ has inspired men and women in the South.
Prof. Flora Fabian

Dr Buna Bhandari and Dr Funmilayo Doherty have launched new AuthorAID hubs in Nepal and Nigeria. Leandro Echt and John Young have assisted a series of African-led research projects to develop strategies to engage policymakers. Ravi Murugesan has continued to ensure we stay abreast of changing technology and shifting learning demands. Dr Haseeb Irfanullah has continued to guide the development of AuthorAID.

But Associates are not just lending their expertise to specific projects – they are shaping INASP’s thinking and designing our projects.

As Ravi explains, together we are trying to answer some important questions.

AuthorAID’s research writing courses have been around for a long time, and we have evidence that they make a difference. Lately we have been looking at things from a holistic viewpoint. For example: What are the enabling factors for good research in the South? How can Southern researchers equip themselves for success in the long run?
Ravi Murugesan

New directions

We often hear that too much research and too many projects follow agendas set in the North, even though they are intended to address Southern problems. So through a series of virtual discussions, and by bringing a group of Associates and staff together in Nairobi, we have sought to ensure that the next phase of our programme is imagined and designed – not just delivered – together.

We created a series of personas, and used these to guide us as we developed a new programme to support early career researchers and academics, in partnership with universities, and by building on and expanding our digital learning capabilities. We will share more of our plans over the course of the year.

Of course, it is a process – to learn how we can work together most effectively, and how to knit ourselves together as a single team that spans countries, time zones, professions, and ambitions – but it is one we to which we are firmly committed.

Jonathan Harle
Jonathan Harle is Director of Programmes at INASP.

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