Conduct surveys that influence policy formulation, Shivji urges

AFRICA’s leading experts on law and development issues, Prof Issa Shivji has urged the researchers in the country to conduct surveys that influence citizens to pressurise the government to formulate policies based on research.

He said in order for the government to enact workable policies in various sectors, researchers should return their findings and recommendations to the community so that they can raise their voice for the government to work on the issues arising from the study.

“Policy makers need to look at the real situation of its people by using various studies conducted by scholars in order to meet the desires of the people and match real life, especially that of the lower class,” he said.

Prof Shivji made the call over the weekend at a one-day scholarly symposium organised by University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), College of Social Sciences (CoSS) with the theme; freedom, rights and responsibilities of academics.

“If the research is done well and ensures what is discovered will reach the people and thus through them they will raise their voice to the policy makers. There is no reason for the researchers to start shouting at the government or policy makers to use their research.

“The citizens themselves will pressure the government to act on the research findings,” said Prof Shivji …If you want the government to work on your research, use citizens.

Prof Shivji said academics have a responsibility to society that’s why they conduct direct research related to the community to see the real situation and what the situation is like in the villages and to know the source of problems and confer recommendations.

“Research is not writing information to the government, administrator or to donors. Research means doing study in the real situation of the people, especially to the low class communities to find out the gap that exists and to give ideas on how to be able to solve it,” said Prof Shivji, adding basically research is beneficial for citizens.

On his part, the UDSM Senior Lecturer of Sociology and Anthropology, Dr Richard Sambaiga said the aim of the symposium  is to look at the responsibility and freedom of researchers in processing ideas and research.

“We are doing an academy self-assessment on the things that happen to us in the context of generating knowledge and distributing it,” said Dr Sambaiga.

A UDSM second year Bachelor of Arts in Sociology student, Ms Jennifer Mteleke said as they  have a responsibility and their role as students is to read books, do various researches and be curious to gain understanding and be able to help the society.

She advised the students to spend most of their time studying various researches, so that they can be open minded and gain an understanding of the issues that exist in society.

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