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Research Initiatives

CODE’s Context Matters research initiative is an ongoing program of support for an African research agenda in language and literacy. We award grants annually.

Context Matters Research Grants

CODE, through its Context Matters program funds research initiated, designed, and undertaken by African researchers. To date, research on literacy learning has largely been carried out in high-income countries and contexts and generalized to low-income countries and contexts. CODE established Context Matters to support African researchers as they take the lead in evidence-based, exploratory studies. The intent is to support research which is clearly situated in local contexts and recognizes the multifaceted and complex relationships between the local and global in education.

To begin the conversation, CODE commissioned two landscape literature reviews and one policy analysis from Canadian Faculties of Education (University of British Columbia and McGill University). These papers were presented at the CODE Research Symposium that took place as part of the Pan-African Literacy for All Conference in Abuja, Nigeria (August 28-30, 2017). These papers, including Executive Summaries can be found here.


2021 Context Matters Research Grants Call for Proposals:

Literacy Practices in Local Context and Girls’ Empowerment in Teacher Education

CODE is pleased to announce that we are partnering with the International Literacy Association (ILA) and its global network of scholars, researchers, and literacy educators to bring greater support and expertise to the Context Matters Research Grant program. ILA will join the Context Matters International Advisory Committee; recommend members of their International Development in Africa Committee as Context Matters grant jurors; and tap into their grassroots network of educators from across Africa to disseminate news of the grants and promote access to the completed research.

Together, CODE and ILA will offer up to five research grants of a maximum CAN $10,000 each.

We invite researchers, academics and educators who are resident in the countries listed below to submit proposals to CODE at by August 1, 2021.

Eligible countries include: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea: Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The Context Matters Research Grants are designed to:

  • Support work by African scholars and researchers addressing issues identified in collaboration with the African literacy and teacher education communities.
  • Advance research in Africa by Africans in ways that are responsive and respectful of participants and their communities.
  • Strengthen the research capacity, knowledge, and recommendations of those working in the African context.
  • Fund research initiated, designed, and undertaken by local teams.
  • Foster international partnerships and alliances that bolster Africa’s ability to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the areas of education and gender equality.
  • Build a body of evidence that can be used to support education policy recommendations at local, regional, or national levels.

In 2021, CODE and ILA are primarily interested in research projects that relate to one or more of the following:

  • advancing local literacy practices;
  • advancing context specific ways of knowing;
  • the intersection between literacy, education, and girls’ empowerment;
  • the role that pre-service teacher education and in-service professional development plays in strengthening the educational opportunities for girls and vulnerable populations;
  • the relationship between the school, the home, and the community and the role this plays in strengthening culturally relevant literacies;
  • the impact of digital literacies as well as the use of technology in teacher education and classroom learning;
  • the factors and/or interventions that contribute to reducing barriers to quality education for women and girls: with disabilities; in fragile, conflict, refugee and crisis situations; and/or in relation to the impact of the COVID pandemic.

To Apply For A 2021 Research Grant Download The Documents Below:

2020 Grant Award Recipients

Dr. John Mary Vianney Mitana
Luigi Giussani Institute of Higher Education, Kampala, Uganda
Research title:
Understanding and Supporting adolescent girls’ social and emotional wellbeing: Case of Mpumudde Seed School in Uganda

Dr. Rebecca Nambi
School of Education, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Research title:
Adolescents’ literacy practices in and out of school in Uganda

Dr. Purity Nthiga, PhD.
Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya
Research title:
Leveraging coaching to improve sexual health literacy among teachers in informal urban settlements in Nairobi, Kenya

Dr. Lydia Namatende-Sakwa
Faculty of Education, Kyambogo University, Uganda
Research title:
Equipping Teachers to Champion Gender Equity in Uganda

2019 Grant Award Recipients

Dr. Justus Bwonderi Aungo
Elimu Ya Kenya School – Altenburgerland, Mombasa, Kenya
Research project:
Voice for Space: Girl Empowerment Through Language Literacy and Use in Debating

Dr. Daniel Fussy 
Mkwawa University College of Education, Iringa, Tanzania
Research project:
Investigating Girls’ Literacy Practices In and Out of School in Rural Tanzania

Professor Elinami Swai, PhD.
Open University of Tanzania
Research Project:
Empowering Adolescent Girls Through Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Programme in Shinyanga, Tanzania

Dr. Alberta Odofourkor Akrong
Mountcrest University College, Accra, Ghana
Research project:
Literacies for Abilities: Interrogating Pedagogy Empowerment Nexus Framework in School-Community Girls Clubs in Ghana

2018 Grant Research Papers

Associate Professor Hellen InyegaUniversity of Nairobi, Kenya
Professor Justus InyegaUniversity of Nairobi, Kenya
Kwamboka Oyaro – Multimedia University, Kenya
Research project:
Leveraging ICTs to Improve Sexual Health Literacies and Practices of University Students in Kenya


Professor Colomba Muriungi Chuka University, Kenya
Dr. Andima GeorgeKisii University, Kenya
Research project:
A Gender Community Outreach for Girls Living in Vulnerable Contexts: Experiences from School Literacy Clubs in Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya


Professor Mwangi Ndirangu
Egerton University, Kenya
Research Project:
Integrated Girls Literacy Empowerment Program (IGLEP)

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