INVESTING IN KNOWLEDGE: IDRC's support for a generation of experts pays off
Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, John Atta-Mills, recently elected President of Ghana, Mohamed Sahnoun, former President of Initiatives of Change International, and many other international figures were once supported by CTAP in their education or research.
“IDRC believes that providing support to individuals at a critical time in their professional development can foster the growth of a generation of policymakers, researchers, and development practitioners who understand the importance of research for development,” says Tim Dottridge, Director of IDRC’s Special Initiatives Division, which manages CTAP.
Since 1971, IDRC has enabled more than 3 000 students to pursue education or research opportunities, in their own countries or elsewhere. In 2007, IDRC embarked on an International Tracer Study to track the current location and responsibilities of former awardees from developing countries, the majority of whom were supported to study at North American and European institutions.
Staff from IDRC’s regional offices took on the task of tracking down about 2 000 students, researchers, and administrators who received awards between 1971 and 1992. These awards include project/program-related awards and institution development awards; research fellowships for senior researchers; and the former Pearson Fellowships, which provided training in public administration and professional development.
“We felt it was important to assess the impact of IDRC support on individuals, their home regions, and international development in general,” says Rita Bowry, Senior Program Specialist at CTAP.
The vast majority surveyed returned home after completing their studies in North America or Europe, thus contributing to research capacity and development efforts in their home regions.
Many individuals have reached high positions as government officials, organization leaders, and university professors; and many work in national, regional, and international organizations.
Many also gravitated to the public service or development work in general – within government, or with international and national organizations. A smaller number are engaged in the private sector or as consultants (see chart).
Below is a sample of former awardees supported by IDRC:
Chairperson, National Commission on Gender and Development Kenya
John Atta Mills
Elected President of Ghana January 2009; former Vice-President for eight years Ghana
Kane, Ousmane A.
Executive Director, African Regional Centre for Technology Senegal
Founder and Executive Chairman, Centre for Policy Dialogue Bangladesh
Former Minister of Agriculture and Alternate Permanent Representative to the Food and Agriculture Organization India
Former Senior Advisor to the Director General of UNESCO; former Ambassador to Morocco, USA, France and Germany Algeria
Founding Member, Arab Physical Society and Center for Arab Unity Studies Lebanon
Secretary General, National Commission for UNESCO Belize
Chief Economist and Executive Director, Latin American Economic Investigations Foundation Argentina
IDRC Doctoral Research Awards are open to students from developing countries already studying in Canada. The Southern Junior Researchers Awards program, launched in 2006-07, funds graduate students pursuing their studies at universities in developing countries. Over 40 research grants and scholarships have been awarded so far in sub-Saharan Africa, and the program plans to expand to Latin America and the Caribbean and to Asia. If no doctoral program is available in the region, the program will consider funding costs for study in Canada.
Fogel’s innovative social science research in Paraguay has informed policymakers on rural issues and improved the lives of the rural poor.
Researcher, economist, and gender activist Meena Acharya is dedicated to ensuring economic policies benefit the most vulnerable segments of Nepalese society, particularly women.
Halfani is working to ensure that policymakers in Africa and the Middle East adopt sustainable urban planning policies.
Arame Ndiaye Keita
Ndiaye Keita’s research on Africa’s ocean resources is helping fishers, families, and governments keep marine environments healthy.
Qasem’s expertise in managing agricultural resources and educational systems is helping Jordan meet its development challenges.