Two exciting new project proposals by members of the Centre for the Study of Global Development have been accepted by the Open Societal Challenges (OSC) programme, an OU initiative bringing together the university’s academic community to develop inclusive research that will drive positive societal change.
Led by Dr Jennifer Agbaire, the project ‘Student-led Spaces for Educational Inclusion? A Participatory Action Research with Learners and Teachers in Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe’ aims to investigate what impactful student-led spaces for inclusion in education might look like, to explore what roles teachers can play to support these spaces and to develop context-appropriate strategies that prepare teachers for these roles. By joining the Open Societal Challenges community, Dr Agbaire’s ambition is to develop her project ideas in collaboration with other researchers in the university which will help enrich the research process.
Dr Agbaire says she was interested in working on this project because students are often not seen as ‘active agents’ in interventions on educational inclusion and a lot of this responsibility is often placed on adults. However, Dr Agbaire aims to explore how students can play more of an active role in promoting inclusion in their schools.
The second project, led by Dr Sharif Haider, explores how to improve the mental health and wellbeing of street children in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Working with street children can be challenging as they often lack trust in the systems that are supposed to support them. Dr Haider plans to identify stakeholders who currently work with street children to identify the best ways to work with them to develop research that will help street children receive inclusive mental health support in a timely and effective manner.
Dr Haider’s long-term goal is to bring positive change to Bangladeshi street children, and he shared that the Open Society Challenge programme will help him get started on this path as he connects with experienced researchers from the programme’s team.