Post-doctoral Fellows Colloquium


Thursday, September 8, 2022, 10:30am to 1:45pm


Harvard Center for African Studies - 1280 Massachusetts Ave., 3rd Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138

Join our post-doctoral fellows in this colloquium where they will present updates on their research with commentary from their mentors and an opportunity for Q&A with the audience.

The Center for African Studies Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program is aimed at providing opportunities for postdoctoral candidates to conduct independent research, publish, and increase knowledge in their fields of study that will be beneficial to the African continent and to prepare them to be successful in their chosen career paths.  Read more about our post-doctoral fellowship here.


FIRST SESSION ( 10:30am-11:30am)

  • Dr. Alebachew Haybano’s Presentation

SECOND SESSION ( 11:30am-12:30pm)

  • Dr. Edith Wakida’s Presentation 

THIRD SESSION (12:30pm-1:45pm)

  • Dr. Appiah Richard’s Presentation


  • Edith K. Wakida: Enhancing the Capacity of Providers in Mental Health Integration (ECaP-MHI) in Rural Uganda

    Mentors:  Jessica E. Haberer, Celestino Obua, Stephen J. Bartels

    The current mental health system in Uganda is functionally inadequate with approximately 50 psychiatrists in the entire country of over 40 million people. Majority of the psychiatrists practice at tertiary level, fulfilling specialized roles and are not accessible in general health facilities. In 2000, the Uganda Ministry of Health decentralized all health service delivery to district level; developed the Uganda Clinical Guidelines on the management of common mental disorders; and trained primary healthcare (PHC) providers in the identification, management and referral of mental disorders. However, integration of mental health services into PHC is not as desired. ECaP-MHI Intervention: In 2018, we conducted a context-specific study to identify barriers and facilitators to integration of mental health services PHC providers in rural Uganda. Among the key barriers identified were a lack of in-service training and support supervision in mental health. As suggested solutions, we co-designed and tested an intervention to ‘Enhance Capacity for Providers in Mental Health Integration, ECaP-MHI’, which involved three components: 1) a summary of Uganda Clinical Guidelines and algorithms for the identification, management, and referral of selected mental disorders - packaged in the form of table charts; 2) modified paper-based registers to include additional columns on the selected mental disorders; 3) training and support supervision to the PHC providers by a visiting psychiatrist for the intervention period of six months.


  • Alebachew Haybano: Refugee Education as Foreign Policy: Competing Narratives of Nation Building and Refugeehood in the Gambella Region of Ethiopia

    Mentors: Dr. Sarah Dryden-Peterson (Harvard Graduate School of Education) and Dr. Teshome Nekatibeb (Center for Comparative Education and Policy Studies, Addis Ababa University)

Refugees’ status as non-citizens may shape how the purposes of refugee education are understood by host governments. For example, bilateral and regional diplomatic relationships between host governments and refugee countries of origin can influence refugee education. For some host countries, including refugees into the national education systems may be an exercise in soft power as part of broader diplomatic strategies. Drawing on data from the archival documents from the Ethiopian National Archives, we explore the complex purposes of hosting and providing education for refugees. We take 1960s and early 1970s as a timeframe and document the conditions and ways in which the Ethiopian state used education for refugees in Gambella region for interrelated purposes of boundary making, population control, and as a foreign policy tool.


  • Richard Appiah: Towards a 'Glocal' Ethics: Developing a Context-tailored Informed Consent Framework for Community-based Research in Ghana

    Mentors: Prof James G. Raviola (Harvard Medical School) & Dr Benedict Weobong (School of Public Health, University of Ghana)

The Western concept of libertarian rightsbased autonomy, which underpins the universal research informed consent process, often conflicts with the cultural values and practices inherent in the rural, low literate, and highly collectivistic African contexts. Although a growing body of literature across Africa suggests that the so-called universal, individual-oriented informed consent framework presents ethico-cultural and practical challenges when applied in the defined contexts, scholars continue to rely on existing guidelines and ethical codes (e.g., the Declaration of Helsinki) which are theoretically designed for biomedical research and practice. To address this, we set out to develop a pluriversal, context-appropriate informed consent framework that draws on the standard ethical principles and the cultural values and practices of the major ethnic groups in Ghana to facilitate the informed consent process, using a multi-stakeholder team approach. This effort could minimize ethics dumping and safeguard the integrity of the research process.


ORGANIZER: Harvard Center for African Studies