To bridge the societal expectations and help solve the current needs, there must be more collaborations. Researchers at both public and private institutions and other research entities that are working on these challenges need to collaborate and work with on-the-ground partners such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) because such entities frequently interact with the end users, the people affected by these challenges. Furthermore, NGOs are driven to get results.
Moreover, to generate impact and create sustainable solutions, research should be more inclusive, especially to the end users, the citizens. Citizens must feel that they are part of the process of research. They should play an active role in defining, implementing and evaluating research intended to improve their livelihoods.
One creative way of engaging citizens would be through citizen-science research projects. African governments and donor agencies should fund such projects.
- Citizen science enlists society members who care about the issue and engages them in the process of inquiry and discovery of new knowledge. It also goes a long way in making participants feel important because they are engaged in learning how to create solutions and affect change for the future.
- Citizen science is a win-win experience both for the participants and scientists. Participants get to experience what it is like to obtain data, the backbone of science. Scientists on the other hand, get the science done while helping them draw meaningful conclusions from the very large datasets. At the same time, citizen science will ensure that members of the society know exactly what is happening.
- See: The power of citizen science (Citizen Science Association, 2016)
Source: PAEPARD FEED