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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

Research on literacy in general and reading in particular has been largely carried out in high-income countries and contexts, and then generalized to low-income countries and contexts. The Context Matters Research Grants initiative was established by CODE to help address this problematic knowledge flow from North to South and to support African Researchers as they take the lead in evidence-based literacy research. Our intent is to stimulate conversation, develop a research agenda, and support research which is clearly situated in local contexts and recognizes the multifaceted and complex relationships between the local and global in education. This means placing a high priority not only on the location of research but also on the need to engage local researchers.

CODE annually awards up to five research grants of CAD $10,000 each to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and salience of K-12 education programming in Africa.

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.

Call for Proposals

The 2020 Call for Proposals: Teacher Education to Support Girls’ Empowerment is now open! The deadline for submissions is July 3, 2020. 

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.

This is the third annual Call for Proposals for CODE’s Context Matters Research Grants.

CODE invites researchers, academics and educators who are residents in the following countries to submit proposals: 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 Africa, South Sudan, 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.
  • 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.

This year, CODE is primarily interested in research projects that relate to one or more of the following:

  • The intersection between literacy, education and girls’ empowerment;
  • The role that pre-service teacher education and professional development plays in strengthening the educational opportunities for girls;
  • the concept of “comprehensive sexuality education” and how it is approached in both teacher education programs and in schools (formally, informally)
  • The factors and/or interventions that contribute to reducing barriers to quality education for women and girls (especially in fragile, conflict, refugee and crisis situations).

To apply

Please submit the completed application form, project budget template, CV and references by email to by July 3, 2020.

For a description of research grants that have been previously awarded in 2019 please click on the individuals’ names below.

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

Professor Hellen Inyega
University of Nairobi, Kenya
Research project:
Leveraging ICTs to Improve Sexual Health Literacies and Practices of University Students on 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)

Yewulsew Mehari
Debre Markos University, Ethiopia
Research project:
The Practice of Empowering Girls Through Gender Representation in Ethiopian Secondary School English Language Textbooks: The Case of Grade 9 and Grade 10.

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