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Call for Applications -Africa Early Childhood Research Fellows Mentorship Programme

Deadline: Monday 31st August 2020 at 11:59 EAT

Call For Applications – English VersionVersion française

About the Fellowship

The Africa Early Childhood Network (AfECN) is a registered Kenya-based, non-profit professional network established in 2015 to serve as a platform for championing and promoting excellence and collaboration in ensuring positive early childhood outcomes in Africa. AfECN achieves this mission by advocating for protectionof children’s rights, influencing policy and practice, strengthening partnerships, and sharing experiences and knowledge in Early Childhood Development (ECD) on the African continent. AfECN has identified five areas needing improvement to make progress towards large-scale equitable access to early child development programmes in sub-Saharan Africa: advocacy, networking, knowledge generation and dissemination, practice, and leadership.

In 2017, AfECN began implementing a mentorship programme to strengthen ECD research capacity in Africa by supporting early-to-mid-career African scholars (Research Fellows) who can work at the intersection of research, practice and policy to advance early childhood development in the region. Specifically, the aim is to develop capacity in the region for culturally and contextually relevant research to support the level of program implementation necessary to produce high-quality early childhood outcomes. At the same time, AfECN Research Fellows participate in disseminating their work through policy briefs, peer-reviewed articles as well as presentations at conferences, seminars and workshops.

AfECN also nurtures the combined capacity of a network of research universities across Africa to support scholarship on early childhood development policy generation and programming. To accomplish these goals, AfECN facilitates a regional research network that will promote collaborative relationships across universities and between early career scholars and well-established senior scholars for the purpose of enhancing knowledge generation, management, and dissemination.

AfECN activities to improve research capacity are being led by a Regional Research Technical Team (RRTT) comprised of accomplished ECD scholars and researchers in the continent. AfECN is currently in the process of recruiting the 3rd Cohort which is planned to have four (4) junior research fellows. The first and second cohorts of Research Fellows were recruited in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The first cohort had 13 research fellows whereas the second cohort had seven (7) research fellows.

The call for 3rd Cohort of AfECN Research Fellows

Eligibility criteria

Applicants to this cohort should be doctoral degree holders who completed their PhDs within the last five years and are not older than 40 years. Additionally, they should be citizens or established residents in a SSA country, be affiliated to African Universities or research institutes and be in the early stages of their research careers in ECD-related areas. Prospective fellows from French speaking countries are particularly encouraged to apply. Prospective fellows from these countries should have a working knowledge of English with ability to read and understand English texts. Proposals and applications must be submitted in English, but research reports can be completed in French. Other shorter research outputs of the fellowship like policy briefs will be submitted in both English and French.

The four Research Fellows will be selected from among applicants with excellent research ideas which propose innovative approachesto addressing the development of young children. Submissions can be from a diversity of disciplinary backgrounds including Early Childhood Studies, Social Sciences, Foods, Nutrition & Dietetics, Health Sciences, Communication & Media Studies, and Law.

Priority Countries

Priority shall be given to students from the following countries: Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Niger, Chad, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Cote de Ivoire, Gambia, Cabo Verde, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, Seychelles, Somalia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Cameroun, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea,and Sao Tome and Principe.

Thematic Research Areas

The research problems should be formulated around the following thematic areas in early childhood education and development.

  • Early learning quality improvement
  • Health system strengthening to support child development outcomes
  • Implementation of ECD Policies and legislation
  • Safety and protection of young children in difficult circumstances
  • Quality of Childcare Services for children under 3 years.
  • Parent education and empowerment focus on fatherhood

Benefits of AfECN Fellowship

As a Research Fellow, you shall receive the following benefits:

1.Participation in one fully funded face-to-face meeting of research fellows and mentors.

2.Placement(s) with partner agencies in a position to support and benefit from the work of Research Fellow in the areas research interest.

3.Seed grants of US$ 4,500 guided by the fellow’s research plan.

4.Guidance from mentors and mentorship groups who will engage with Research Fellows throughout the program including at face-to-face meetings and bi-monthly telephone conferences.

5.Support to attend a conference and to facilitate dissemination of research findings.

6.Linkages and connection to research funding opportunities and ECD networks

7.Award of certificate of completion

Please Find further information and the full call document in both English and French below:

Call For Applications – English VersionVersion française

For further inquiries, please contact he following address:

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