The International Research Center in Canada has a new think tank initiative for which they’ve asked for expressions of interest. The ad is below and I found it on www.eldis.org.
So what’s so innovative and new about a think tank initiative? It’s not that African think tanks don’t have needs, some are too small, some need money, some need fresh talent, some need the grace of God and visionary leadership.
But even with all their ‘needs’ the most important thing is that Africa needs them to stay and grow. We can’t complain about unworkable foreign ideas if we’re unwilling and/or unable to support our own development of critical thought, ideas and innovations.
To do this we will need more than just money. We should be strengthening think tanks’ leadership, developing their internal capacities to produce quality research that addresses real needs, takes into consideration real contexts on the continent and produces work that is DIGESTIBLE by the people and framed in a way to make it easier for leadership to take action. Tall order, I know.
But anything is possible. In Jamaica a small group of people have taken on this very task. They have launched a think tank called CAPRI to develop (non partisan) policies for governments. Bravo to those who realize that local ideas need to be fostered at more than just the community level. Their mission is to: ‘…encourage the independence of thought of the ordinary Jamaican citizen by providing citizens with the opportunity to make their decisions on the basis of evidence, not political persuasion – thereby encouraging the persons to take responsibility. We also seek to be a way for the Caribbean diaspora to contribute their intellectual resources to the governance of and policymaking in this region.’
For more info see: www.takingresponsibility.org
Closing date: 19 August 2008
First Call for Expressions of Interest: East and West Africa
The Think Tank Initiative invites applications from independent African organisations that are committed to using research to inform and influence social and economic policy. The Initiative will provide multi-year funding to promising think tanks, and will work with successful applicants to improve their organizational performance.
For more details on the Initiative and the application process, visit the website by clicking on further details link.
Deadline: August 19, 2008
The Think Tank Initiative is a new, multi-donor program dedicated to strengthening independent policy research institutions – or “think tanks” – in developing countries, enabling them to better provide sound research that both informs and influences policy.
The Initiative will focus its activities in East and West Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.