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Accepted Contribution:

Value of Working with Community Actors in Co-producing Knowledge; Lessons from ACRC and ARISE in Freetown, Sierra Leone  
Francis Anthony Reffell (Centre of Dialogue on Human Settlement and Poverty Alleviation (CODOHSAPA))

Contribution short abstract:

ACRC and ARISE were formulated in the UK, aligned with FCDO's agenda for the global south. As such, biases stemming from colonial tendencies are a possibility. However, both programmes recognise the importance of co-production of knowledge with local actors as it strengthens community voices.

Contribution long abstract:

The uptake designs of ACRC and ARISE, are meant to challenge the existential and prevalent inequalities reinforced by questionable governance infrastructure of cities, so that those undemocratic complex systems can be addressed to re-establish inclusive city governance for equitable resource distribution. Therefore, the conversation around decolonisation, should also accommodate uptake design that should address the interest of state institution like FCDO and not just the assumed asymmetrical power relations between the research institutions of the global north and global south.

The direct involvement of community actors in research and practice, has its own fair share of compounding challenges, notably, the medium of communication is a challenge, that is, trying to communicate linking academic and community vocabularies. Community and academic knowledge are quite different. Despite the challenge of the medium of communication, it is but needful to maintain this procedure as it may lay a sustainable foundation for local empowerment and transformation. As such, the premise of this discussion shouldn't only be anchored on the residue or legacy of colonial past, but should equally look at the new global agenda and its effect on the relationship between global north and global south.

Lessons learned include:

• It is an empowering model for local actors to speak to power

• It minimises the tendency for state actors to question the biases of research outcomes because of the involvement of local researchers

• It eases the effort of interpretation and dissemination of outcomes at community levels - which is empowering for community advocacy

Panel P73
Experiences in decolonial research and practice: in search of connection and agency
  Session 2