Arthur’s TackleAfrica PhD project – “…I can say that it has been (and still is) a rich and intense journey…!”

TackleAfrica

TackleAfrica in action

Arthur Gaillard’s PhD project, kindly supported by TackleAfrica, looks at the ways in which organisations from the sector of Sport for Development and Peace evaluate their work. To do this, Arthur conducted an ethnographic case study of TackleAfrica’s monitoring and evaluation activities. His focus is on their programmes in West Africa, specifically in Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Guinea.

TackleAfrica uses football to help young people in Africa improve their knowledge of and access to sexual and reproductive health and rights & services. TackleAfrica’s methodology consists in delivering football drills that contain key messages about sexual and reproductive health and rights. To see more information about TackleAfrica’s activities and methodology, click here.

We asked Arthur to tell us how it was all going:

“Three and a half years into this PhD project, I can say that it has been (and still is) a rich and intense journey! Upon embarking on the PhD, in January 2019, I had spent a year in Peru involved with two NGOs using football for social cohesion and to strengthen resilience in children. This practical experience, coupled with years of passion and dedication to understand sport as a social phenomenon, I started this project with a strong motivation.

During the August 2019 – March 2020 period, I spent six wonderful months with the TackleAfrica team in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) and Dakar (Senegal). There, I had a privileged access to the practices of monitoring & evaluation leading organisations such as TackleAfrica to document their impact. The pandemic stopped me from conducting more face-to-face fieldwork, as originally planned. However, I was allowed to continue my PhD research after modifying its design, and being kindly awarded a 6-month extension by the Doctoral College.

I am currently finishing the write-up period of my PhD thesis. I have produced several reports for TackleAfrica, designed and co-led two qualitative studies and an online training session on qualitative evaluation to TackleAfrica West African staff.

Arthur Gaillard

Arthur Gaillard

Aside from my time visiting TackleAfrica’s activities in West Africa, I was also involved with TackleAfrica’s staff in the UK, assisting in fundraising activities. The expertise gained during my PhD research allowed me to teach half of the Sport for Development and Peace module within the School of Sport and Health Sciences for two academic years, amongst other teaching interventions.

I have learned so much throughout this project. Obviously, I learned a lot through my research activities, reading tons of articles and writing tens of thousands of words. But thankfully, this PhD project was not just desk-based and I learnt massively through my interactions with a multitude of people, developing interpersonal skills, at least as important as the writing of the thesis as such. 

My view of the near future is hindered by that last stretch needed to finalise the PhD thesis, and hopefully graduate. Whether or not I pursue a career in the academic sector, in the United Kingdom or somewhere else, I am confident and grateful that I will put into practice all of the expertise and experience gained throughout the PhD project.

Finally, I would like to thank TackleAfrica and the University of Brighton for allowing me to conduct this project. Everyone in both institutions have greatly engaged with my project, and have always made sure that this PhD project benefits me in the early stages of my career.”

Thanks to Arthur for this update and we wish him well for the final stretch! If you would like to know more about TackleAfrica, click here.

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