ICFP News & Insights

ICFP 2025 Power Shifting Subcommittee Hosts Workshop on Equity in African Research

Jun 12, 2024

On the road to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, equitable research practices are paramount. Hosted by the ICFP 2025 Power Shifting Subcommittee and the Union for African Population Studies (UAPS), the recent African Population Conference (APC) pre-conference titled, “Shifting Power and Advancing Equity in African Population Research and Collaborations,” was a pivotal event towards achieving this vision. This half-day workshop brought together over 90 dedicated participants in Lilongwe, Malawi on 19 May 2024.

Facilitated by ICFP 2025 Power Shifting Subcommittee Co-chair and ICFP 2022 Youth Trailblazer Goodness Ogeyi Odey, the event fostered rich dialogue and critical reflection on creating a more inclusive and equitable research environment. Discussions were robustly multilingual, giving insights into the nuances in the population and research power dynamics within African Francophone and Anglophone countries, and building a consensus towards harnessing African demographic dividends. They also addressed power dynamics in demographic research, particularly between Global North and Global South institutions

The History of Demography in the African Context

The pre-conference workshop began with a historical overview of demography in Africa, highlighting its colonial roots and the ongoing challenges in decolonizing knowledge production. This set the stage for a series of insightful conversations and activities designed to identify barriers and opportunities for shifting power in research collaborations.

Bridging the Intergenerational Divides

A panel discussion moderated by Aïssata Fall from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) featured prominent voices like Prof. Latif Dramani from the University of Thiès, Dr. Anthony Ajayi from the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), Ernest Wyson from the Coalition for Human Rights and Good Governance, and Edmée Ndoye from Regional Consortium for Research in Generational Economy (CREG). The conversation explored the intergenerational divides in population research, mentorship, and the role of African research in supporting demographic transitions.

Opportunities and Challenges to Shifting Power in Research Collaborations and Partnerships

Participants engaged in facilitated roundtable discussions to explore personal and institutional commitments to power shifting. Clinician and Young & Alive Initiative Program Director Innocent Grant joined Goodness in leading an interactive “Stepping Up and Stepping Down” activity which encouraged attendees to reflect on their roles and identify actionable steps for fostering equitable collaborations. Anyone in the room was given the chance to take the microphone and give their thoughts and reflections to the room.

African Research by African Researchers

The workshop concluded with a fireside chat moderated by Chiseche Mibenge from the Guttmacher Institute, featuring Dr. Allen Kabagenyi from Makerere University and Prof. Jacques Emina from the University of Kinshasa. This session delved into the career trajectory of the speakers reflecting on their journey as African population  researchers and their aspirations for the generation of early career researchers shaping a more equitable and prosperous Africa.

In deliberations on transforming research into policy, participants spoke about the need to call out African Governments and urge them to finance African researchers to allow research autonomy and new evidence. They echoed that when governments support researchers with resources, it helps build trust and uptake evidence to policies and actions. 

 

As we look ahead to the ICFP 2025 in Bogotá, Colombia, the insights and commitments from this workshop will be instrumental in driving the agenda for more equitable and inclusive research collaborations.

View Photos from the Power Shifting Workshop

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