DOING A PHD IN AFRICA

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Doing A PhD in Africa (DAPIA) is a nonprofit, nongovernmental association incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in Ghana. It began in February 2017, led by Titilope Ajayi, a PhD student at the University of Ghana and a writer-researcher with a passion to raise the profile of higher education on the continent. Her initial motivation was to fill a gap in information and networking space targeted at doctoral scholars in Africa. This she did through a Facebook group that grew from a handful of members in 2017 to almost 600 by early 2019. As numbers grew and exchanges advanced, it became clear that DAPIA needed to position itself as a platform to more formally contribute to improving access to quality doctoral study in Africa as well as the associated conditions. The platform has thus positioned itself accordingly.

– The centering of Africa and African experiences of life and doctoral study are at the core of DAPIA and all its activities. Therefore, we try to adopt and infuse African(ist) perspectives in everything that we do.

– Giving back and paying forward: Inculcating in everyone associated with DAPIA, particularly those who benefit financially or otherwise, the need to give back and pay forward any knowledge or support that they receive, particularly to universities and students who do not ordinarily have access to the more prestigious African doctoral support schemes.

– Representation in diversity: DAPIA aims to have representation in its management and operations from across the continent with due attention to gender and other social markers. Our planning and activities factor experiences and knowledges from multiple African contexts and worldviews.

Promote access to information by collating and facilitating access to all relevant information. This includes information about funding, fellowships, research projects related to Africa/requiring grounded Africa expertise, conferences, jobs (academic and non-academic) and topical debates related to key concepts and discourses in and concerning Africa. Our key innovation is our comprehensive searchable database of available PhD courses at African universities which you can access here [hyperlinkl].

 ii.       Facilitate access to doctoral education through:

     Information

     Promoting the relevance of African PhDs by deepening awareness of scholars social responsibility and encouraging research on concrete development issues.

     Fundraising of resources to support PhD students

   iii.        Be and provide space for networking and collaboration

We do this both by offering space for scholars to come together and exchange as well as through targeted efforts to involve members in specific projects. In a recent example, the group helped to recruit from among its members three female doctoral scholars for a book project on African women’s studies to be published in 2019 by a prominent publisher. DAPIA also put together, again from among its members, a panel on gender, migration and mobility at the Nordic Africa Institute’s conference in September 2018.

   iv.        Contribute to personal and career development through peer and mentor support and guidance based on individual member stories of their doctoral study experiences. The aim of this is as much to provide lessons, support and encouragement as to identify potential problem areas where scholars may need assistance.

    v.        Offer substantive support

Ultimately, DAPIA is intended to serve as an interface through which doctoral scholars can access some funding (hardship grants) as well as experiential opportunities with universities and other knowledge institutions, either in Africa or with strong interests on the continent.

   vi.        Be a voice on doctoral study in Africa by documenting lived experiences of doctoral study at African universities and advocating for change as appropriate.

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