n South African Journal of Higher Education - The African-Norwegian case of supporting women towards knowledge production through doctoral studies

Volume 26, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article pays attention to knowledge produced about a 'networked' support pathway towards obtaining a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD). The network constituted an international collaboration through a project called Productive Learning Cultures (PLC) (2002-2011) between Norway and seven countries, either developing or in transition, in sub-Saharan Africa which had both male and female students. However, this exploratory qualitative study describes how donor initiatives can be used to develop intellectual, emotional and funding support structures that take cognisance of the challenges women face during their PhD journeys. The article foregrounds the voices of women and accounts of the obstacles, reversals, breakdowns and yet, progression, of their journeys. In the findings the women describe the project design elements where they could benefit from international mindsets and supervision frameworks, while not having to leave their home countries for four years to pursue studies abroad. They also felt relieved and grateful that the project created a nurturing guilt-free space where motherhood and PhD work could co-exist. This in turn contributed towards their emotional equilibrium which resulted in more effective PhD work.

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