The Aegis Trust’s Research, Policy and Higher Education Programme (RPHE) organised a capacity-building workshop for Rwandan researchers from November 26th to 27th. Focussed on publishing strategies and connecting research to policy and media, it was the second event of its kind held by the Programme.

Hosted at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, the workshop gave participants an opportunity to exchange knowledge and ideas about how researchers can communicate their findings to wide audiences.

Experience shows that despite a certain increase in the base of knowledge produced locally, the number of Rwandan researchers being published isn’t keeping pace. Participants were therefore provided with practical knowledge on how their work can be published in academic journals and how to optimize their interaction with policymakers and the media in order to effectively raise interest in applying their research findings.

Dr Phil Clark, Director of RPHE, explained that the Programme encourages innovative and rigorous research around genocide-related themes, particularly by Rwandan researchers. By informing policy and peacebuilding practice, the Programme strongly contributes to the wider goals of the Aegis Trust’s work: preventing mass atrocities and crimes against humanity.

“The Research, Policy and Higher Education Programme helps to reverse the tendency of discussions being dominated by non-Rwandans when it comes to the Genocide against the Tutsi of Rwanda. We are trying to address that issue of under-representation by putting a lot of resources in support of Rwandan researchers,” Dr Clark stated.

In its first two years, the Research, Policy and Higher Education Programme has received 293 research papers from Rwandan researchers, of which 24 papers were selected for funding.

The two-day workshop was attended by 60 Rwandan researchers from academia, civil society and government institutions who benefitted from the opportunity for meaningful discussion facilitated by local and international experts in the media, publishing and policy making.

“As a researcher you always need to update yourself, learning from senior fellow researchers and others’ experiences,” said participant Mediatrice Kagaba from the University of Rwanda, currently completing her PhD at Gothenburg University in Sweden. “In this workshop, we met people from different domains and areas. By exchanging ideas and understanding each other’s topics, we have learned that we are a variety of researchers who can actually come together in the future and produce something out of it.”

“We want to encourage researchers to produce knowledge that is relevant to policy and peacebuilding practice,” says RPHE Manager Sandra Shenge. “These workshops strengthen the nascent Rwandan research community and offer them platforms where they can meet and learn from each other’s work.”