Workspaces:2 Research Plan

Research plan for IKM project - Paul Westlake

Overview and review of the creation, transmission and utilization within the development sector of information and material produced by African intellectuals .

Objective 1: To examine existing approaches, means and methodologies for the creation, gathering, transmission and utilization of knowledge and information by African intellectuals from both traditional and modern sectors and the effectiveness and impact of these on the development process and to identify exemplary practice.

Objective 2: To outline any gaps in existing approaches particularly relating to emergent knowledges.

Objective 3: To understand the barriers to knowledge and production by African intellectuals and the use of that knowledge.

Objective 4. To propose the means for improving existing approaches and their utilization and the development of new approaches particularly relating to emergent knowledges.

Objective 5: To examine existing evaluations of projects and programmes in the field of information transmission and utilization; to summarise where possible any general lessons particularly in relation to effectiveness of methodologies and also the impact and utilization in the development process; to generate the means of improving access to these evaluations possibly through a thematically organized access to them via the IKM website.


Whilst maintaining a broad coverage of all major areas specific foci for work will be prioritized. Agriculture, Education and Health whilst of great significance are very large areas with a long history of a wide range of activities by a great number of organizations and any detailed review would be beyond the scope of this proposal. Reference to these areas will be made as appropriate. There will be a focus on Social Science; Culture; Communications and Language.

Specific consideration will be given to the full range of research and publishing support and organizational development since 1980 in Africa including a summary of the history and type of these and examining outcomes and ongoing processes.

Consideration will be given to the extent to which the formation of debates takes place outside of the area concerned as well as to what extent local intellectual knowledge and local practitioner knowledge is included.

Consideration will be given to issues relating to gendered knowledge and transmission; applied knowledge; socially useful knowledge and cultural knowledge.

Considerable attention will be paid to those qualified to act in the modern or official sectors and to how they could act more freely and creatively but indigenous knowledge systems; ethnographic linkages and traditional intellectuals will also be given consideration.

Whilst Africa will be the main focus linkages may also established with South Asia. Specific comparative overviews on Central and South America and East Asia will be commissioned.

Project in three phases:

Phase 1 – November 2008 - May 2009 – 7 months

Research and scoping including further definition

Identification and commissioning of external overviews

Contact with potential partners, for example, Codesria, INASP, Panos and individual researchers and programme managers and directors.

Development of specific project plans particularly with partners

Preliminarily identifying potential additional funds and donors, for example, Hivos, Social Science Research Council in South Africa particularly with partners

Summary of phase 1 – review of scoping and research and contacts developed.


Scoping phase 1 by PW for IKM

Overall broad coordination including research; project development and investigation of fundraising possibilities.

Development of potential partners on research and project implementation and fundraising.

Investigating the commissioning of external overviews on Central and South America and East Asia.

Paul Westlake 2/02/09