National Working Groups provide unique opportunities for researchers in a specific country to work together and produce literature of high relevance to national needs that can be used as text books. Their work also feeds into the local and national policy debates. Several NWGs have, over the years, later proceeded to establish research centres; examples include the Centre for Basic Research in Kampala, Uganda, and the Centre for Research and Documentation in Kano, Nigeria.
NWGs are constituted as autonomous initiatives coming from members of the research community based in any African country or interested in studying any aspect of the social processes in a particular country.
The participants in an NWG identify the area of research that is of interest to them and formulate their research problematic through a proposal which also sets out their priorities. In this sense, the NWGs are developed and supported on the basis of a perceived national need. Initiators of proposals for the establishment of an NWG are however always encouraged to pay attention to the Council’s abiding commitment to the goal of transcending disciplinary, gender and generational barriers to knowledge production.
The autonomy of the NWG is considered an essential factor for its success; it is also integral to the Council’s strategy for enhancing national research capacity and interdisciplinary contacts at the national level.
NWGs have a minimum of five (5) and a maximum of fifteen (15) members. They choose their own coordinator(s), and decide collectively on who is a member and who is not; the coordinator(s) shall be the link persons between the NWG and CODESRIA.
Every year, a call for proposals for the establishment of NWGs is issued, usually at the beginning of the year. Thereafter proposals for the constitution of NWGs are received on a continuing basis by the CODESRIA Secretariat and assessed through an independent process involving scholars with knowledge of the country and issue to be covered.
CODESRIA pays a research grant and provide adequate support in terms of access to documentation, the expertise of relevant resource persons to each member of the NWG. Members of the NWG produce publishable, research based papers.
The average lifespan of a NWG is eighteen (18) months, during which time all aspects of the research process are expected to be completed and the final results prepared for publication in the CODESRIA Book Series.
The themes of research carried out by NWGs have been very rich. Among the new themes are those on the musical industry (NWG Senegal), popular forms of accountability (Nigeria), the transition from micro-enterprises to capitalist enterprises (DRC), and armies and politics (Niger). This has contributed to the renewal of the research agenda of the Council.
In addition to the NWGs established under the core NWG programme, there are also NWGs established under the Child and Youth Studies Programme and under the Lusophone Initiative.
Countries with National Working Groups (2000-2006)
2000: Angola, Cameroon, Tunisia, Senegal, Mauritius
2001: Gabon, Mauritania, Mozambique
2002: Algeria, Niger, Congo, Gambia, Kenya
2003: Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Benin, Central African Republic, Morocco, Senegal
2004: Côte d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Ghana
2005: Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon
2006: Algeria, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Senegal
To see if there is currently a call for applications for tNational Working Groups, please consult the <rubrique7> section. For further information on National Working Groups, please send a message to this address: