Higher Education Ministry in collaboration with ECOWAS organizes Capacity Building Workshop for Researchers in The Gambia

The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST), in collaboration with the Department of Human Development and Social Affairs at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), organized a capacity-building workshop on Research Writing Methodologies and Research Projects. This is a 10–day training programme from the 6th to the 17th of March, 2023 and is being held at the MoHERST Conference hall in Bijilo.

The capacity-building activity aims to train researchers on drafting research methodologies and research projects for funding from partners according to international standards. The training is Training of Trainers (TOT) to allow the creation of a critical mass of researchers in the public sector. Trained researchers will in turn be responsible for training other researchers in the country. It also aims to update the knowledge of researchers in the sub-region on specific themes common to our region.

The opening ceremony of the workshop was conducted on Tuesday, 7th of March, 2023. The Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Professor Pierre Gomez, officially opened the capacity building workshop. In his opening remarks, the Honorable Minister extended the gratitude of His Excellency Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia to ECOWAS, for answering the Ministry’s clarion call to help build The Gambia’s capacities on the new rules of drafting research projects for the acquisition of external funding.

“The aim of this training is to create a critical mass of researchers (TOT) in the Public sectors who would later embark on a step-down training to a wider stakeholder,” the Hon. Minister said, adding that about 30 researchers in The Gambia are benefiting from this important training.

Therefore, he urges participants to capitalise on this opportunity in order to gain relevant skills in identifying the constraints and learning solutions related to fund-seeking methodologies and MS Project skills writing.

Furthermore, Prof Gomez informed that as an institution, MoHERST is currently implementing various projects structured within the country’s development blueprint such as Agriculture, food security and nutrition, climate-resilient economy, research science technology and innovation, digital economy, gender, youths and inclusive development. The Ministry’s effort to bring about structural transformation is both knowledge-driven and capital-intensive. 

“Thus, setting up a poll of researchers and challenging them to learn new ways of sourcing funds for the sector is a precondition for our survival and development, for the preservation of our sovereignty as a nation, as a continent and as a people,” said Hon. Gomez. 

The Permanent Secretary of MoHERST, Dr Yusupha Touray was the Chair of the Opening Ceremony for the Capacity Building Workshop on Research Writing Methodologies and Research Projects. According to the PS, it is important that researchers in The Gambia are trained on key research methodologies and projects in order to attract funding.

Dr Roland KOUAKOU, Head of Division, Scientific Research and Innovation at ECOWAS, spoke on behalf of Professor Fatou Sow Sarr, Human Development and Social Affairs Commissioner at the ECOWAS Commission.

In his statement, Dr KOUAKOU highlighted that ECOWAS has always considered science and technological innovation as essential areas for initiating the socio-economic and cultural development and competitiveness of its Member States.

“Indeed, public funding is very limited and there is very low investment in research and development, therefore, emerging countries are at more than 1% of their GDP, the threshold recommended by the African Union,” he said.

Thus, Dr KOUAKOU underlined that it is as a result of this need that ECOWAS and the Ministry have come together to offer this capacity-building training of researchers in the field of writing research projects and scientific writing. This is following that of Benin, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Niger, thus reflecting the ECOWAS vision of the peoples.

“This workshop is intended to be interactive, and we hope that Teachers and Researchers in The Gambia will be able to benefit from good practices in research methodologies and scientific writing,” he said.

Finally, he expressed the gratitude of ECOWAS to the Hon. Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology in The Gambia, Professor Pierre Gomez, for his active leadership in facilitating the holding of this important workshop, which will enable Researchers in The Gambia to acquire tools and instruments for the benefit of the missions with which they are entrusted in their respective fields.

The Consultants for this training are; Professor KOUASSI Marcel Aka, the Consultant from ECOWAS and Dr Hamedou Jawara from The University of The Gambia and also, the Local Consultant in The Gambia.