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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Podcast: Ethical Research Challenges in South Sudan

Akok Kachuol Awer, the Paramount Chief of Akot is interviewed by RVI Researcher Machot Amoum, during a customary court session. Photo by John Ryle, July 2017, Matbar Yirol West, Lakes State, South Sudan.

South Sudan’s research industry is small, but it supports a large national and international humanitarian and development sector. Fieldwork is mostly conducted by contracted South Sudanese researchers, who often work under intense pressures and time constraints, in difficult and dangerous conditions, on projects that they have not themselves designed. The country’s own research infrastructure is very limited: South Sudan’s five public and dozen private universities are stretched to the limit with high student numbers and financial challenges.

This podcast records the reflections of a group of South Sudanese academics, early-career researchers, independent research consultants, research assistants and professors who gathered in Juba in August 2022 to set out ethical principles and standards for this research sector. In this podcast, each participant summarises their personal key message for ethical research practice in South Sudan: including better transparency, fair pay and safety provisions, investments in research infrastructure, and building career paths.

This dialogue complements the rich discussions found in the briefing accompanying this podcast and the poignant narratives in the second podcast of this series, focusing on the experiences of women in the field.

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