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Accepted Contribution:

Co production in research - reflections on community knowledge from Harare, Zimababwe  
Teurai Nyamangara (Dialogue on Shelter Trust)

Contribution short abstract:

This paper will discuss research co-production experiences in the Informal Settlements Domain of the African Cities Research Consortium, reflecting on the process of involving local leaders and the community at large through a decolonial lens.

Contribution long abstract:

The Informal Settlements Domain of the African Cities Research Consortium (ACRC) has been trying to create more equitable partnerships between professionals, academia, and the community in Harare, Zimbabwe. Through the community knowledge agenda, the research has managed to involve community members in the research process through including them in the research team so that they are not only answering questions but also asking the questions. The community was involved in tool development, and defining research objectives. After data collection, the community presented findings in stakeholder engagement meetings. They participated in the analysis of findings about their own communities and formulation of priority complex problems (PCPs).

This process has changed the way the community values research. When they are only respondents, they get tired of answering questions and do not see the tangible contribution of research towards solving their problems. Trying to engage them is not a smooth process as local community politics are at play. There are still expectations that some benefits will come after research. The process also needs time as it includes translation of documents to local language to ensure full participation and understanding of the research. however, when the community and academia work together through a decolonial lens to conduct research, there are more benefits than drawbacks.

Panel P73
Experiences in decolonial research and practice: in search of connection and agency
  Session 1 Wednesday 28 June, 2023, -