Training in the art and science of facilitation to scale research mentor training in low and middle income countries

Bennett B. Goldberg*, Erasto V. Mbugi, Fatima Kyari, Sara E. Woods, Emmanuel Balandya, Denise L Drane, Rifkatu Reng, Deodatus Kakoko

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Advancing biomedical research in low and middle income countries (LMICs) to expand the capacity for LMICs to integrate biomedical research into their health care systems and education has been the focus of many programs in global health over the past two decades. Central to the success of these programs is effective research mentoring, characterized by academic, career and psychosocial support through culturally appropriate practices. Research mentoring is a learned skill, developed through training, mutual discussions, practice and feedback. The majority of extant training programs are designed and delivered by US partners, so the next stage in building capacity is to train facilitators within the LMIC partner institutions to contextualize and advance mentoring specifically within their cultural and institutional norms by co-developing, delivering and evaluating semi-annual research mentoring training. To this end, we describe the development, delivery and outcome evaluation of a 5-week course in the art and skill of facilitation. Care was taken to explicitly distinguish between concepts of “teaching” and “facilitation,” since “teaching” is closely connected to a transmission or banking model of education, which is characterized by “top-down,” hierarchical relationship. The course discussed power and positionality, themes that resonate with partners in Nigeria and Tanzania. These themes provided unique entry into deeper conversations core to advancing mentoring practice away from the traditional dyadic power structure that remains from colonization. Evaluation findings indicate significant advances in awareness of differences between teaching and facilitating, increased confidence in facilitation skills, especially in the area of structured planning and organization, as well as improved communication and interpersonal skills. All respondents felt that students in Nigeria and Tanzania would respond well to the facilitation approach conveyed during the course and they found value in participating in the course as a cohort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1270480
JournalFrontiers in Education
StatePublished - 2023


  • equity and social justice
  • facilitation
  • low and mid income countries
  • mentor training courses
  • mentoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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