The School-based Health Promotion project (SHP) is a collaborative endeavour between the Family and Youth Health Initiative (FAYOHI) - a public health non-governmental organisation operating in Northern Nigeria - and the University of Hull Institute for Clinical and Applied Health Research (ICAHR).
The overall aim of the SHP is to understand health awareness, beliefs and behaviours of adolescents attending secondary schools in Jigawa and Kano States, Nigeria with a view to co-producing a culturally sensitive health literacy / health promotion intervention for adolescents in Jigawa and Kano States that could be scaled-up to other states within Northern Nigeria.
INASP joined the project in mid-2019, to support a policy engagement and collaborative planning process to support the development of the second phase of the work. The initial intention was to do this through an intensive series of events bringing all project stakeholders together during a visit to Kano in April 2020. The five-day programme would review the results of the research, provide training in policy engagement and research communication and a research writing workshop for researchers.
When the COVID-19 crisis made travelling to Nigeria and convening meetings in Kano impossible we pivoted to a series of online events:
- A tailored learning journey for researchers who had been involved in the project within an AuthorAID Massive Online Open Course to improve their researcher communication and proposal writing skills.
- An initial online workshop for researchers, practitioners, policymakers and legislators from Jigawa and Kano states to share ideas about how to improve the local generation and use of evidence to guide policy-formulation and decision-making in this area.
- A second online workshop for a wider group representing all project stakeholders to review the findings of the research report and the recommendations, and to co-develop the main elements of the next phase of the project.
Running workshops like these online in Northern Nigeria was quite a challenge. People are used to meeting face-to-face, and respecting cultural norms is important. But they were remarkably successful. Participants were keen to contribute and stayed far beyond the expected closing time. There was strong enthusiasm to continue the project and many useful suggestions for how to ensure it is successful. For further details read the workshop report.
This project was one of two case studies discussed in a webinar on Doing research differently: reshaping research in the time of COVID-19 ,which demonstrated that it is possible to do effective participatory action research when it is not possible to travel, and pointed towards a shift in relationships between Northern and Southern partners.
The cover image for this project was produced by Professor Dasapta Erwin Irawan from the Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia, who participated in the workshops.