Research dignity, meaning mutual respect among health researchers, while common in higher-income countries, remains rare between those settings and low- and middle-income countries. This reflects the almost universal dominance of research agendas and products by academics situated in more high-income countries, even when the research occurs in poorer settings.
Building independent research capacity in low- and middle-income countries, arguably the most important and challenging dimension of international development, is the only road to achieving mutual respect, and with it the confidence of local individuals to define the problems and find the solutions.
Seva Canada and its partner the Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO), perhaps more than any other non-governmental eye care organizations, have invested in very long-term programs to build research capacity one person at a time, and one institution at a time, both through funding research training, and also through mentoring and supervising.
Nothing is more rewarding to us, or as important to these individuals and institutions, than our partners asking for our help to study their program problems and utilize their research findings.
Along with research dignity comes a level of gratitude seldom seen and profoundly treasured.