In June, 2019, the DAAD Information Centre Ghana organized an alumni conference with the idea of strengthening the regional networks, to keep the German-Ghana relations active in achieving global sustainability. About 110 alumni from across the country participated in the conference, which took place at the Mensvic Hotel in Accra. At this meeting, DAAD Alumni Ambassadors were elected as focal points for alumni across the country. The event brought together DAAD-alumni as well as other alumni of different German organizations with the intention of revitalizing the alumni network as a platform to share opportunities (jobs, scholarships, research, fellowships etc.) among members. Since alumni are often spread across Ghana and active in different subject-relative networks, the event intended to create a platform to bring together scientific expertise from different disciplines to present good practices for ways in which different aspects of the SDGs can be collectively tackled. The SDGs 4 (Quality Education for all), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) were the main discussion points at the event.
The event was structured in two main parts, (1) the keynotes by Mrs. Forchibe Ethelyn Echep, an alumna of APPIS, and by Mrs. Madinatu Bello from the SDG Graduate School, University of Cape Coast and (2) the group work sessions. The input given by Mrs. Forchibe Ethelyn Echep on the topic “Capacity building for food security and poverty reduction: examples from African Regional Postgraduate Programme in Insect Science (ARPPIS)” stressed the impact of DAAD-funded regional research networks on food security and poverty in Ghana and other participating countries. The second keynote by Mrs. Madinatu Bello, on the topic “International research networking to tackle global challenges: examples from the SDG Graduate School Cape Coast-Maiduguri-Hildesheim” aimed to elaborate on the impact of teaching and research cooperations in the area of social studies and specifically peace & conflict studies.
During the group work sessions towards the goals of the German-Ghanaian Alumni Network, the alumni discussed the future of the network, defined the activities they deem necessary to build a sustainable network, desired organizational and communication structures, and elected alumni representatives.
The participants agreed to undertake several activities for a sustainable network in the future. They agreed to hold annual national events, professional alumni network events as well as to form zonal networks and carry out periodic events. To strengthen the academic profile, there will be workshops/seminars and skill trainings in ethics, proposal writing, scientific writing etc. Furthermore, as a long-term plan, it is desirable to establish DAAD Alumni Centre’s in various institutions to reach more alumni spread across the country and to carry out community outreach and career/ information fairs for prospective DAAD alumni. Close to that, they discussed to execute mentoring activities between experienced and new alumni and to organize field trips, sight-seeing and other social events to build a strong network and to strengthen the collaboration between the alumni and other (German) institutions. For a far-reaching output, it was discussed to disseminate a quarterly newsletter and facilitate social media networking and communication i.e. WhatsApp groups, Facebook groups etc.
To create a long-lasting alumni association in Ghana, it was decided to establish an organizational and communication structure for a sustainable network in form of a national network as well as a four zonal networks:
Zone 1: Northern Zone (Upper East, Upper West, Northern, North East & Savannah regions)
Zone 2: Middle Zone (Bono, Ahafo, Bono East and Ashanti regions)
Zone 3: Accra Zone (Greater Accra, Volta, Oti and Eastern regions)
Zone 4: Western-Central Zone (Western, Western North and Central regions)
Find details of all the zones and their representatives here.
Towards the aspect of a fruitful communication structure, it has been agreed to use three main communication channels by the Alumni Network: (1) a closed national Facebook page, (2) zonal WhatsApp groups for all members managed by the respective Alumni Ambassadors and their assistants, and (3) a national WhatsApp group for the elected zonal representatives.
The DAAD Alumni Conference was a great success which created a platform to bring together scientific expertise from different disciplines to collectively tackle aspects of the SDGs as afore-mentioned.
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