Since 2018 members of the U4Society network have been working together on intensifying the cooperation with higher education institutions in Africa, and subsequently established the U4Society Africa Initiative in the course of 2019 with the aim of enhancing the joint collaboration with African HEIs.
On on June 5, 2019 staff members of Ghent, Göttingen and Groningen have met together with African PhD students from the participating institutions in the framework of a workshop on African-European Cooperation on occasion of the Groningen lustrum conference. Ms. Beth Yoder (University of Groningen), expert on intercultural relations, prepared a tailored-made workshop addressing themes such as 'what is cultural identity', 'how to visualize culture' and 'how to build trust in an international, intercultural setting'.
After the workshop the invited PhD students from Africa participated in the conference “Growing together: Celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion”, organized by the University of Groningen as part of its 405th anniversary celebrations (6-7 June 2019). The African researchers presented their research themes in poster presentation sessions.
Mohamed Ghasia (Tanzania) from Ghent University presented a poster entitled: “Micro-learning in Higher Education: Exploring the Ujuzi App Implementation at Mzumbe University”. The theoretical framework of his research is digital anthropology and he explores how mobile technologies facilitate the transformative role of educators at Mzumbe University, and at the same time help learners - especially from under-privileged communities including female students - to access quality contents and hence improve their skills.
E. Phuti Mogase (South Africa) from the University of Göttingen presented her research on the influence of the West African press in monitoring public ideology on gender movements and its impact on social change. The aim of her research is to investigate consequential correlations between the colonial African press publications and the gender dialogue among West African women in the 21st century.
Yves Sezirahiga (Rwanda) from the University of Groningen presented his research on Gacaca, the traditional courts that have sought to reconcile conflicting goals of rendering justice, installing reconciliation and unity among Rwandans in the aftermath of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Natalie Schuck (Germany) from the University of Groningen presented her research on the inclusion of persons with mental disabilities through community-based care in Ghana.
By participating to this conference in Groningen, the Africa-oriented research of our U4Society scholars was given visibility, and they were able to actively network and to exchange good practices with international Africa-researchers and renowned keynote speakers. It therefore was a very rewarding experience.