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The Association of African Universities (AAU) Informative Workshops on Journal Establishment and Digital Marketing

BY: PAMELA BOAMAH

The Marketing and Digital Marketing as well as the Journal Establishment, Management/Maintenance and Sustainability virtual workshops organized by the Association of African Universities (AAU) will run during the period of the 1st – 21st of December 2020.

Dr. Makuku specified that the 2 workshops would run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for 2 hours each (10am  GMT-12noon GMT and 2pm GMT – 4pm GMT).

The two educative workshops were mainly designed by Dr. Violet Makuku who is also a Facilitator and Workshops Coordinator at the AAU. She was assisted by Mr. Trust P. Nhokovedzo, a digital Marketing Consultant and a founder of Afro Digital, Pan University and Camlock Digital Marketing. Mr Karanja Maina co-facilitates the Journal Establishment works.

The Marketing and Digital Marketing Workshop is meant to assist institutions to build Digital Marketing frameworks and the Journal Establishment, Management/Maintenance Sustainability workshop is to support the establishment of institutional journals. The overall motive behind these workshops has always been to take African Higher and Tertiary Education to the highest level. “Some institutions are not establishing journals not because they do not want to but because they do not have the capacity to,” Dr. Makuku remarked.

The highly interactive first workshop had 67 participants from the United States, Namibia, Liberia, Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Ethiopia, and Ghana participated in the workshop. Participants were free to make contributions, ask questions, and clarify issues. The 56 participants from Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia, United States, Mexico, Cameroon, Egypt, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Ghana also took part in the Journal Establishment, Management/Maintenance Sustainability workshop.

Some aspects discussed during the Marketing and Digital Marketing workshop included the steps for building an effective marketing framework and the Digital Strategy Development. Mr. Nhokovedzo explained that most people make the mistake of thinking about the marketing platforms before considering what the organization wants to achieve.

Dr Makuku indicated the reasons why institutional journals should be established and the main one is to complete the research process. She added that, “Some end up not completing their research studies, some finish but do not publish because they cannot meet the requirements of particular journals”.

Some key issues the Facilitator and Workshop Coordinator raised were how education can survive and the steps to be taken to ensure its survival in this pandemic era. One of these steps she mentioned is the online studies. “If institutions do not shape up, they will ship out.” The digital marketing workshop would enable them to enroll students who are their lifeline. Regarding the issue of courses that are difficult to handle online, Dr. Makuku advised that institutions with students pursuing online practical-oriented programs could go to nearby institutions in their countries for practical sessions.

However, the institutions may need to have Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on how they would work together to assist students. She added such institutions could also engage part time supervisors and monitors in countries where they have students, so that they assist and monitor their practical work. Dr Makuku indicated that more software, applications and platforms for online practical-oriented programmes were being designed. Initially they could be very expensive but they become affordable with time.

Dr. Makuku also told the participants attending the Journal Establishment workshop that they were supposed to establish their own African institutional journals and safeguard their quality instead of publishing in journals of other continents.

During her interaction with the participants, she mentioned that if journals are managed by individuals, they become dormant as soon as the individuals get promoted to professorship levels since individuals manage them to gain promotion. Journals can also be unique through including photography work and written narrations of students’ experiences during field trips. One of the participants, Prof. Raymond Terry added that conduction short time surveys and commentary statements about critical issues for inclusion in journals, can also make some journals unique.

 

PAMELA BOAMAH

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The Galamsey Affair

We are in crisis! Our motherland cries out of sheer pain! Our land is in turmoil! Her pain is ignored! When the town of Dompoase was gripped with grief and the cries of unfulfilled youthful dreams as 14 women were dug out of mining pits in broad daylight; a tragedy is what they called it, an entirely preventable tragedy they failed to label it. That faithful day still lives long in the minds of the peoples as they are continuously reminded of what they have lost by the pits (left behind by mining activities) that has now left deep pits at the bottom of their stomachs. The cry for justice is heard, a plea for something to be done. For without doubt Dompoase in the Western Region of Ghana is but one of many communities that continue to be ravaged by illegal mining activities termed Galamsey in Ghana.

When Kennedy Agyapong a well-documented and outspoken member of the ruling party made a remarkable statement accusing members in the hierarchy of said party for being complicit in the dealings of illegal mining. It left a hushed silence in its wake, a hopeful song of lark that the government would perhaps take even more drastic action after said remarks. This time not just towards the individuals on the ground engaging in the activity but also towards the so called ‘bigwigs’ playing puppeteer and pulling the strings behind the scene. Instead all we got and what we have is a monotonous silence like that left in the wake of a drowning lament, and one can only hope and pray that before all is said and done the lamentation of the people of Dompoase will not be oft mentioned as comparison to even more similar incidents.

Galamsey was coined from the phrase “gather them and sell.” This is a term of Ghanaian origin that depicts the nature of illegal small-scale gold mining in our country.

I am a firm believer in action and not words. It goes against everything I believe in to stand watch and play commentary as tragedy unfolds before us all. This can be a turning point for the Ghanaian modern civilization. An opportunity to, through these wake up calls, come to ourselves and understand and appreciate just how much damage is being done to our lands and natural resources

To educate others engaging in these activities that to hurt our land is to go against everything that they hold dear in their chest; that burning desire of citizenship and nationalism, of love for our motherland and of duty and obligation.

To most individuals in our country, heartbreaking instances like that which occurred at Dompoase are those that really drive home the risks involved in illegal mining activities and the impact it has on people. In the din of all this brouhaha however, perhaps the most important of all is ignored i.e. the impact of these activities on our physical environment and in turn on climate and climate change. To what do we owe life if all life on earth is gone and the land is rendered uninhabitable? A fool’s errand is what!

We of the millennials have been given the unenviable task of righting the wrongs of previous generations and re-inculcating nationalism and duty within ourselves and our peers alike, for it is only through so can we have any chance of perhaps REDUCING Climate change conditions let alone even THINK about STOPPING it.

The deterioration of the health of our motherland has coincided with the continual spread of diseases and illnesses borne as a result of exposure to harmful chemicals. Climate change is summarily defined as the change in the Earth’s climate system that in-turn has adverse effects on the general weather patterns over an extended period and this can be seen in Ghana today.

The various chemicals employed in illegal mining activities are most often than not dumped into our river bodies, even though health experts’ attests to the harm these chemicals present to mankind and animals when taken into the body. The lack of the employment of modern tools and equipment puts the manpower involved at great risk leading sometimes to caving-in of tunnels killing several of our brothers and sisters.

The impact of Galamsey on Climate change cannot be overstated. The trajectory and the speed at which the Ghanaian ecosystem, especially those situated around the hotbeds of Galamsey activities is deteriorating is massively unsettling and should the citizens to whom holds the implicit responsibility of citizenship in their chest continue to show apathy to the plight of their land, then there is no doubt we will lose our greatest heritage i.e. our natural resources. We live in a land full of natural resources and despite the sleazy greasy fingers of a few greedy and unpatriotic men reaching greedily for what is freely given in abundance to us, the motherland still continues to provide for her children.

The time is nigh! The people of Ghana must heed the drum call as it was in the times of yore. To fulfill the agenda to build our motherland and make her strong is an all inclusive obligation! There is no shame in seeking counsel on the way to restoring our land from foreign shores. Our brothers have proven that just as a white mind can conjure excellence, so too can the black mind. Let us as a people be of one accord, appreciate the need to protect our land, that she may bountifully sustain us. Action not words, these words come unbidden to me this day!

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