HUYE — Social science researchers in universities and institutions of higher learning in Rwanda, have renewed partnership with the Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA).
The partnership was renewed on Monday with the election of OSSREA’s new six-member liaison committee in Rwanda. The committee to be headed by the liaison’s President was reconstituted in Butare.
The National University of Rwanda (NUR)’s Dean for the Department of Economics, Dr. Herman Musahara, was re-elected for another three-year mandate as the president of the organisation’s liaison in Rwanda.
He is confident that Rwandan researchers will be able to successfully bid for the organisation’s grants.
“OSSREA has a lot of grants which are open but competitive. Our scholars have the capacity to get support funds from the headquarters if they are our members to do research,” he said.
The Executive Director of OSSREA, Prof. Paschal Mihyo, said that having a working liaison in Rwanda is important because the organisation’s members come from the grassroots level.
“It is very important for me when the chapters are being set up,” he said after overseeing the elections.
Up to 107 researchers in Rwanda are members of OSSREA.
The organisation provides research grants for sabbaticals, senior and young scholars who are its members.
Prof. Mihyo says that it makes sense for the researchers to be associated with it because of the services they can get from it.
But Dr Musahara believes that social science researchers need to do more work than they have been.
“We have been doing little research, now we are going to do more research,” he said.
“I think time has come for us to play a bigger role in making research in our institutions of higher learning.”
He explained that the researchers have been doing short-term consultancies for policy makers and the civil society.
Since the organisation’s chapter in Rwanda was opened in 1999, its members helped to provide information needed by policy makers in different fields.
Dr. Musahara said that they helped in the elaboration of the countries’ poverty reduction policies and strategies such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS).
Today they are part of a researchers’ group in the region that is conducting research on the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in reducing poverty.
The Addis Abba based organisation brings together 24 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. The need to collaborate pushes OSSREA researchers to regroup.
“No country can develop without research because it removes challenges. If these countries work together we can achieve a lot,” said Wilson Murenzi, a member of OSSREA from the Université Laïque Adventiste de Kigali (UNILAK).