>Busy Everyday Life

>This week was also not a good blogging week – what is happening to me?
Well, let me tell you and at least that gives me a few days respite!

These days I teach Monday through Wednesday. It is a lot of preparation work, since I am teaching two classes that are new to me. It means all lectures, assignments, readings and handouts have to be prepared from scratch. I knew this semester was going to be heavy and truly, even though I love my work I have been very busy.

As you all know, I am also hoping to soon start my PhD at University of Ghana. The update is that my department in January arranged for supervisors and now it is up to the School of Research and Graduate Studies to officially admit me to the program. Yesterday, I was tired of waiting and wrote a letter of inquiry into the application process to involved parties. And I think that was a good thing to do, because all the three recipients were not in their offices when I came around.

Outside of work and study, I am engaging in civil society. I am a part of the Fabulous Feminists (FabFem), the Accra Book Club (ABC), the Accragio choir (but that’s a different blog post, Sppp) and the Ghanaian bloggers’ group Ghanablogging.com.

The FabFem met yesterday, a fun meeting as usual with young, female, fabulous, professionals with one or two things to say about feminism. Especially interesting for this meeting was that we talked about what we as a group can do for our community. I’ll keep you posted. (also, a new member of the group recognized me from my blog! celebrity life, here I come!)

The ABC last month read Swedish (!) writer Stieg Larsson’s book from the Millenium triology. I missed that meeting, so I look forward to saying a thing or two on Lisbeth Salander’s impact on Swedish society at the ABC meeting next week. This month we are reading Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes (and hey, there’s another blog post).

is meeting the week after that, but as I am the anchor of the group, every week there are things to take into consideration. People who want to join our network, have meetings with us etc. Last week my colleague Edward and I spoke about blogging at Radio Universe, University of Ghana’s student run radio. At this point in time we want to spread the blogging habit or citizen media to others and are planning an event around that.

Tonight there is a performance with a female flamenco group with the scariest and best name, Mala Sangre, at the Alliance Francaise. 8.30 pm!

And that is my busy everyday life!

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>Work Blog

> Just to let you know I have incorporated my favorite pasttime, blogging, into my work. *drumroll* I p r o u d l y p r e s e n t

Social Theory Blog

a classblog for Social Theory, one of the courses I teach at Ashesi University this semester. Follow it if you want to (re)discover social and political philosophy.

Or just know what I do for a living.

In the picture Socrates is emptying his cup of poison with some ironic words about that citizenship entails following state decrees, even if those decisions kills you.


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>Ashesi Founder Recieves Prize

> Woke up this morning to some very fine news. My employer received the John P. McNulty Prize of USD 100,000 with this wonderful motivation:

“In Patrick Awuah we have found not only immense personal leadership in founding Ashesi, one of the African continent’s first liberal arts universities, but in the school’s commitment to ethics and civics as a central part of education, he has guaranteed future generations of leaders for Ghana, Africa and the world.”

Read the whole press release here.

I am proud to go to work today!

Patrick Awuah and I at a conference in August 2008.

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>New Job, New Week

> Last week, was my first at my new job.

As always when you start something afresh there is loads of information, faces and guidelines to take in

“you must create a new password”, “Hi, don’t you remember me?”, “you should park here” etc ad infinitum.

In this case there is also a class of 47 students as I will be teaching Expository Writing for freshmen, or first year students.

Already all this steady stream of new has provided me with the best quality sleep for a long, long time. And already I love my new job!

Pic: White board answers for “how do you become a better writer?” It says Reading, Interview, Listening, Vocabulary, Critical Thinking, Dictionary, Write more, Talking more.

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>What Do You Do?

> I recently got the question:

“What Do You Do?” from a reader. (Thanks, Alison!)

“Good question”, I replied.

Because, truth be told, I don’t really know myself. This is by far the most common question people ask you in this modern day and age and when not employed, it is a question I’ve come to dread.

As my goal is getting back into academia, I try to practice writing as much as I only can, sometimes I write for free like here on the blog, sometimes as a freelance writer (most often I link to the Internet version of the publication here on the blog). I have come to really enjoy the journalistic process of pitching an idea, doing research including interviews and then do the write up and admire the result…

But practicing writing will only take you that far, so in March I applied for a PhD position at University of Ghana/Institute of African Studies and I’m hoping to hear from them any day now *crossing fingers*. I want to write about the aspiration to migrate – or not to – among university students in Ghana, an under-researched topic and at the same time a vital part of Ghanaian urban life.

But the lengthy explanations to follow the above stated question might finally be of the past as I recently landed a part time job as a lecturer at Ashesi College University, a liberal arts college with some very interesting goals and values that I earlier posted on here. Appropriately, I will be teaching writing.

Now, what do you do?

Pic: I write.

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>Plantain at Work

> Now you might think I am all about fruits, well, that can’t be helped, because here is my fruit story for the day.

Yesterday afternoon, I was in a meeting. After 30 minutes or so everything comes to a stand still, we are waiting for someone to bring us a document. Bored, I glance out the window and see some green leaves. To be a bit funny, I turn to one of the guys in the room and ask:

– Are you the one growing plantain out there?

With a straight face, he answers me:

– No, it is the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation!

Only in Ghana.

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>Employment in Ghana

> I thought I should share some local job opportunities. Even if I am not looking, I belong to a generation who likes to know the options…

I am on a few mailing lists, and recently a couple of interesting jobs caught my attention. Firstly, African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) is looking for new staff. They are searching for experienced policy experts, but also HR and some other research staff and interestingly offering “competitive international remuneration packages”. More on the organization and the job openings here.

Some of my information I get through the International Development Jobs Newsletter, which lists all kinds of jobs all over the world in the “development industry”. To subscribe visit their webpage. Other jobs come though the site/newsletter Find A Job in Africa.

Last, but not least, there is also the Ghanaian site Jobs in Ghana which lists all kinds of jobs, currently themselves are also hiring.

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>Kajsa at Work

>So these days, I do go to work. My friends have asked me what it is I really do. Well, mostly I sit in front of a computer screen, but when I don’t it looks like this.  

Pictures from this past weekend’s WAPI festival in Accra.

Photo: Razak Mardorgyz Abubakar

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>Out of the Wardrobe

>It is like it’s a personal hobby, a favorite pastime, no really, it’s a full-scaled lifestyle. The reinvention of myself and my life. New places, new people, new tasks, new topics. I can’t help myself!

This time it’s a new job involving, not surprisingly, an array of concepts and tasks completely new to me. It is frightening to dive into a world of marketing, revenue, search engine optimization, programming and managerial duties.

But the thing is I love it and I simply thrive. I devour books about my new field (right now fittingly The Search – How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture by John Battelle), schedule meetings with people who know marketing/programming/sales and use my people and meeting skills from my past to glue it all together.

I seem to specialize not in Political Science or any other topic, but in change and along with it adaptation. Judging from recent years’ talks about a globalizing and everchanging world, I guess I am very lucky to swing this way.

Now back to my book.

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>Busy Business

>So for you who don’t know it – I am at present without work. And it seems university has to wait until next year. This Monday was my first day as a work seeker. Employed with only a bit of rage with my previous boss, pen and paper, and a determination to fast find something to do I went to a open conference in Accra. And since then, things have been happening. I have met some wonderful people, all with faith in me and possible projects needing my input ahead. I am now setting up shop as a grant writer – finding and getting funds for non-profit organizations.

Sometimes, life is really sweet.

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>Small world

>What are the chances? The current project I am working on is a pilot project for my organization on strengthening Ghana’s government structures to consider migration issues in relation to social and economic development, or as the experts say enhancing policy coherence. My job in all this is to be the assistant of a Ghanaian expert my organization has hired. We plan to bring stakeholders together and design both a short term and long term plan for how different governmental sectors and organizations could work together on migration and development.

Today our expert is in Brussels attending a round table session at the Global Forum on Migration and Development, a forum that is one of the outputs of the UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development back in 2005. He is presenting a paper on the Ghanaian situation as a case study for the discussion.

Anyhow, so I go to the website to check out the arrangements for the round table and I find that the SWEDISH GOVERNMENT is organizing this very discussion and that the SPEAKER is the migration and development expert from OECD’s Development Centre, Jeff Dayton Johnson, whom I have met on a number of occasions in Paris when I was interning with the OECD last year. So, right now some Swedes in suits and Jeff are sitting next to our Ghanaian expert discussing ways forward! How I wish I could be there, but at this point I guess I should be happy for coming so close on three angles…

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>The Goat Approach

Here’s a brief report from my workshop outside Accra which involved power point presentations, networking, hotel breakfasts and discussions with NGO’s working with trafficked children. Sometimes, the talks would be so outright practical that it made my eyes tear.

For instance, when we discussed how to make sure the returned formally trafficked children did not starve. Do we give their families money? No, by experience the NGO people knew it will be spent on other things than food for the kids. Do we give the families foodstuffs like bags of rice? No, then food will be given away to others or run out before the kids will get it. Do we give money to the teachers so they can give to the malnourished kids to buy school lunch? No, then the teachers will steal the money!

To really understand what poverty does to people, how vast the problem is, that children really starve and will most likely do so tomorrow too…to understand I guess the discussion was a useful exercise, however, it wasn’t only me around the conference table who felt both discouraged and sad.

Suddenly one man raised his hand and introduced an idea – why don’t we provide each child with a she-goat? The goat can live with the family and is to be return to the project as soon as her baby goats are big enough, and then the she-goat can be lent out again.

Smiles started to show around the room, yes, this could work. Or maybe some chicken, guinea fowls, or sheep? The child could maybe choose their animal of preference? We cheerily named the idea “The Goat Approach”, and I believe that even if it doesn’t materialize it reminded us all that where there is a will, there is a way.

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