Early December I was contacted by a research leader at Makerere University in Kampala. Despite the University having been closed by the President of Uganda a few months earlier – due to a student strike which in turn was due to a lecturers strike which in turn was due to no incentives having been paid for several months – there were a few people continuing to struggle with projects and achievements under the academic umbrella. This group of researchers needed assistance with navigating between two major ongoing projects in maternal, newborn and child health. The needs were big and the resources few, so I agreed to make a free-of-charge objective analysis session with both of their project teams an early Monday morning in December. It was very intersting and exciting to dive into both of these project groups, where one of the challenges was to reach out with academic messages to an often non-academic audience, and another to find the balance between research needs and funding willingness.
As often, groups like these carry most of the answers, but sometimes struggle to identify the questions. Which is where I came into the picture. After a couple of hours of discussion and challenging questions, the participants shared that they had a better grasp of their direction for the coming year, and their priorities ahead more clear. It was fascinating and very fun to be part and challenge these teams!