Giving ‘power to the people’ in a Nigerian hospital: From evaluation OVER to evaluation WITH stakeholders

Giving ‘power to the people’ in a Nigerian hospital: From evaluation over to evaluation with stakeholders

This paper is a clear account of my transformation as a researcher alongside the positive impact I had on those I worked with in performing an evaluation in the healthcare sector in Nigeria. My journey from erstwhile more quantitatively focused and detached in my mode of research, to one who becomes aware of and attentive to power and gender issues at play in a Nigerian hospital, is worth reading.

My focus shifted to power when I became aware that I was walking into a hierarchical situation.  How do I do an evaluation in a culture where conventional power arrangements reflect social distance as a norm considered by most to be unproblematic?  This happened at the same time that I became aware of my own power and impact.  So my awakening helped awaken the system I was serving. All of a sudden it mattered to me that social power differences might prevent female nurses from speaking their minds in front of the empowered male doctors. My first person account of this realization and what to do about it in the context of the evaluation I led will no doubt greatly enrich the action research community with procedural as well as epistemological insights!

I strongly believe that how the researcher relates with people can change even the most entrenched norms. This illustrates the concern for the “social” in social constructionism. I invite you to share your ideas, thoughts or experiences on how social skills could contribute to shaping our understanding of relevant issues such as inclusion, access, democracy, shared power, etc.

This blog post written by Gosim Martin Chukwu

I invite you to learn more about this experience by reading my article HERE. Access to the article is free for 30 days beginning 7 April, 2017

After you’ve had a chance to read this piece, please share your thoughts, ideas, or experiences with our community in the comments below so we can continue this discussion!