The Experience of Violence by Zimbabwean Women

African democracy institute Idasa, with the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU), the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) have conducted research on Zimbabwean women’s views on transitional justice, looking at how women in that country have been affected by the elections, the inclusive government, transitional justice mechanisms and law enforcement, amongst other topics. The research was based on a survey of more than 2 000 woman, as well as discussion groups on the research finding. The following reports are the first to come out of this study: “Women, Politics and the Zimbabwe Crisis” was produced in May 2010. It was followed by “Preying on the ‘Weaker’ Sex: Political Violence against Women in Zimbabwe”, which was released in October 2010. See more info here.

Idasa warns of new needs of HIV-affected children

The latest study by Idasa’s Governance and AIDS Programme (GAP) warns that improved access to antiretroviral therapy has created a whole new dilemma for Africa. As the life expectancy of children living with HIV increases, where do AIDS orphans who have been cared for in institutions all their lives go for help after they turn 18? Caregivers and counsellors now have to deal with issues of dating, sex and health education at a different level and provide for post-matric life skills, including accommodation and tertiary education. Download the press release here.

For more information on this research and Idasa’s Governance and AIDS Programme, contact Marietjie Oelofsen, GAP Programme Manager, on 082 7730879 or 012 392 0575 or

African agriculture is adapting to new environmental requirements

In the light of climate change, African farmers must adapt to new environmental realities in order to sustain agricultural production. It is important to increase public awareness, research and training for both farmers and consumers. Promoting access to information and appropriate knowledge in order to support decision-making and facilitate the adaptation of agricultural production systems in Africa is important for sustainable agriculture. Read more here.

Join network of Democracy Practitioners and Scholars working in Africa

Join Idasa’s network of Democracy Practitioners and Scholars working in Africa.

Network with others on the Continent, working on democracy and governance.


Study says drought tolerant maize will greatly profit African farmers

Maize is life to more than 300 million of Africa’s most vulnerable inhabitants, and the most important food staple on the continent. A new study evaluates the potential impacts of drought tolerant maize for Africa. A project led by CIMMYT in 13 African countries: Angola, Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Ghana, provide varieties that are both higher and more stable yields. Read more here.

Improving Academia? potential for research and social media

From The Broker

Can collaborative writing help to improve the quality or quantity of academic output? Proponents of social media (such as blogs and wikis) argue that such collaboration has the potential to ensure that the quality of
research is higher than that produced by individual scholars. But in an academic setting this will happen only if various collaboration and cooperation problems are resolved.

This paper, produced by “The Broker” (International Development Publications) argues that collaboration creates a new form of peer review by international scholars, thus broadening the scope of available knowledge and expertise.

The value of web 2.0 is that it is not about the technology, but is people and content-driven. By enabling individuals to connect and collaborate in new ways, these technologies have the potential to change or improve academia. Knowledge is not static, but this is how it has traditionally been disseminated in academic publications.
Such issues will continue to be debated among those who embrace technology and those who do not – particularly with regard to the notion of collaborative knowledge building.

See the blog about this here.

and the full article in the print journal here.

Thanks to our ANSA affiliate, Richard Humphries, for the pointer to this article.

Afrobarometer Research Speaks for Itself

– By Bob Mattes –
The Afrobarometer is an award-winning international research project that collects data on Africans’ attitudes and opinions about democracy and economics.  Now conducted in 20 countries, and with an unprecedented four waves of data collected in 12 countries, no social science project has ever approached its scope on this continent.  The project has been supported since 1999 by a wide range of multilateral and bilateral donors who use the data to understand the political atmosphere in Africa, and the results are increasingly seen and discussed at the highest levels of government across the continent.  Afrobarometer data has supported articles and books in leading social science journals and publishing houses. 

Thus, it was indeed surprising to come across an article last week written by the Democratic Alliance’s Gareth Van Onselen (“Is Afrobarometer’s Latest Poll Reliable?”).  Certainly, no research project is above criticism.  However, one can’t escape the conclusion that the motivation for the piece was not academic debate but the DA’s pique at the results to one single question in the most recent Afrobarometer South Africa survey (on party support, which I will come to below) which then led him to download the summary of the questionnaire and top-line results from the Idasa website (Idasa is one of the core partners of the Afrobarometer) and embark on a “slash and burn” exercise, pulling out three or four questions to try and undermine the reliability of the entire project. Continue reading