Last month we had the honor to have our international advisor – Prof. Gunnar Bjune visiting us in Malawi. He also gave a lecture at the Laws Campus of University of Lingstonia.
Herewith his feelings about Malawi – “A Visit of Hope”.
LIN is promoting implementation research as a tool to introduce and improve health and development services. This idea now seems really to have taken off, and this gives hope!
As an advisor for LIN on issues of research, I am privileged to visit LIN Malawi in Mzuzu at intervals. We have run workshops on grass-root oriented research linked to health programs or other community needs. The aim with such “implementation research” is to see whether good intentions by government or others really result in improvement. But RESEARCH sounds so advanced and expensive to many, that I was not sure whether the ideas would ever take root.
One leading staff member is now doing his PhD studies based on the implementation of an electronic information system in Malawi, and his findings and experience is used by government and other collaborators in implementing the system. Two more staff members are currently heading for doing similar efforts to serve the implementation of LIN activities at the same time as they grow in formal competence. The community development projects of LIN are for the first time the subject of such research.
At Livingstonia University, a beautiful place far off the beaten track, more than 1000 students are fighting to get higher education with few teachers and an internet connection that rarely works. First time we should meet, the road was impossible to run even with four-wheel drive. Next time I reached there but had to shout my message in a great hall and show my slides in pulses between power-cuts.
Could this ever result in valuable research?