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2017 augustus

Marieke Hopman

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3 augustus 2017

CAR report: the solution (for now)

3 augustus 2017 | By | No Comments

Dear all,

After my last blog 2 days ago about my dilemma surrounding the publication of my research report on the right to education in the CAR, I got so many replies!! Thank you all so much for all your emails and suggestions. Once again it can be so great to find that there are people who do care, and that I am not at all alone in my mission to help these kids. So thank you.

Today I had a really good meeting with the media&communication experts of Maastricht University. They advised me – and I would never have thought of this myself – to first go back to the CAR and take a small first step with implementing the research results, which is to start up a dialogue on education based on my research findings. Then after I can come back and (hopefully) share a story of “change is possible, and this is the first step, based on this research report” with the media, instead of a cliche story of “look at these poor children in Africa”.

So, I contacted both the CAR minister of education and his adviser to see if they are still interested in cooperation, and if indeed they can provide me with a visa and a place to stay. They said yes, and so I booked my ticket: flying out 4th of November. This time I will stay in Bangui only, and only for a short time – but it will be a first step, and after I think it will be up to other people to carry on with the project, using the research data and working for a longer period in CAR to continue this change. As should be the role of the researcher (or, in the words of my wise and caring father, in reply to my blog: “I think you overstretch your responsibility here … you are not GOD himself”).

On the practical side, this means that I still have to find funding for translation, travelling back and, if possible, graphic design of the report. To find this funding I received some good ideas from some of you, which I will pursue over the coming period. And I’ll definitely do what I can to win the university’s competition…3000 euros, fingers crossed!! I will also need to bring printed copies to CAR, but I guess I will simply use the university printers, put the report in cheap folders and fill up my suitcase with these home printed copies.

Thanks again for all your input and advises, I will definitely keep you up to date!!

Marieke Hopman

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1 augustus 2017

CAR report: a dilemma

1 augustus 2017 | By | 2 Comments

Dear all,

I am coming to the end of my case study on the child’s right to education in the Central African Republic, and slowly starting on the last case study in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Of course part of my efforts are directed to trying to make as much of a difference for CAR children as possible based on my research results.

To this purpose, I have written a research report on the case study which includes advise for different actors involved such as NGOs, politicians but also teachers. Together with the CAR minister of education I wrote a plan on how we could use the research data to really make a change in the CAR – a plan that involved organizing a national dialogue on the national radio and in different villages, translating the research report into Sango and printing and distributing the report. However, by now I have approached quite a few different actors (NGOs, political actors) with this plan and so far it seems that no one is willing to finance and/or execute it.children following class outside

Today I got a phone call from a journalist – I have been getting quite a few of those; the media seems to be very interested in the report. I have been holding them back, telling them to wait for the publication of the report. However, today this journalist told me that if I don’t publish soon, the media will have no more interest because it will have been too long since I was in the CAR.

So here’s the dilemma: currently I do not have the money to
– pay for the graphic design of the book (which I think is crucial for anyone to read the report) (costs about € 3.500)
– pay for the printing of the report (costs at least € 5.000 – 7.000)
– pay for being able to go back to the CAR and present the research results so that it can actually have an impact in the country (costs at least € 2.000)
– pay for the translation of the report from English to French (costs € 600)

I signed up for a call for action research of Maastricht University, to win € 3000 to be able to help the children in the CAR, but I will only hear at the end of August whether I have even been selected to compete for the prize in September. Another crowdfunding is not feasible at this point either, since my students are already preparing a crowdfunding for the Cyprus case which also still needs funding.

So what to do??

  1. Wait until I find a sponsor for this part of the project and give up on (at least part of) media attention for the research
  2. Publish the report online early September, and reach out to media, with or without graphic design, or even print it – I could cover these costs from my research budget at the Maastricht University Children’s Rights Research Fund, and hope for the best in trying to get to the end of the PhD without serious financial shortage
  3. Do I go back to CAR to share the research results or not?? I feel that if I don’t, in a way, it feels like it has all been for nothing. I do not think that international attention for the case will really change anything for CAR children.

So if anyone has a great idea about what to do, or a very rich uncle who is looking for a great purpose for about € 10.000 –  €15.000 (all reported on and controlled by the independent Maastricht University Children’s Rights Research Fund), please share!!!