British Academy Funded Partnerships (BAAP) Project

This partnership funded by the British Academy ran from 2006 to 2008 under the aegis of Julia Preece. The original partnership of universities in Glasgow, Botswana, Calabar (Nigeria) and Malawi has was joined by the National University of Lesotho in year two as an unfunded partner.


The partnership developed a distance learning introductory module on research methods and a research training manual to cover topics of writing research proposals, writing for publication.  In its second year it focused on developing a collaborative proposal to comparatively explore the impact of selected non-formal education programmes on poverty reduction.  The four original partners received support from the British Academy small grants scheme, while Lesotho received funds from the Kellogg Foundation.


Objectives of the collaborative study: The study sought to explore how selected NFE programmes are improving the livelihoods of vulnerable groups in Nigeria, Lesotho, Malawi and Botswana. It did this through a participatory, comparative case study approach drawing on action research methodology. The case studies were used to analyse similarities and differences in practices and outcomes through a critical theory approach.  Particular attention were paid to culture, gender relations, the nature of NFE, its skills curricula and methodologies, stakeholder and learner perceptions of poverty, learning outcomes and their perceived contributions to improving livelihoods, inhibiting factors and potentially beneficial changes for NFE provision.


The research questions were as follows: With reference to gender, culture and context: How does each country’s NFE vocational skills components of their literacy programmes contribute towards improving the livelihoods of their target groups? Specifically:

  1. What do the vocational skills components aim to do?
  2. How are they operating to achieve these aims?
  3. What are the outcomes as perceived by stakeholders?
  4. How can they be improved for poverty reduction?
  5. What are the differences and similarities in practices and outcomes between the two case studies?


The partner countries presented preliminary findings at the BAICE (British Association for International Comparative Education) conference in September 2008 at the University of Glasgow.

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