A Day in the Life of a PROWIBO Lecturer: Andrew

Mary : August 30, 2018 7:00 pm : 2018blog

PROWIBO values the hard work and dedication of all our volunteer lecturers. We know that their job is not an easy one, so we wanted to shed light on the work that they do. Our lecturers help us ensure that our programs are engaging, educational, and fun.

Please enjoy the following post from Andrew, lecturer at ARU.

6h00 – Wake up, have a hot shower and get ready for the day

 7h00 – Enjoy morning tea and bananas with your colleagues

7h45 – Foundation Course: the entire teaching and admin staff, students, and any visitors congregate in the main hall to watch a presentation, given by a volunteer. These typically begin with a video clip that is discussed until a consensus is reached. Topics range from gameshows to more controversial topics (such as cannibalism) and news of the day

9h00 – Breakfast! Breakfast consists of tea, chapati, eggs, and sweet bread. If we’re nice, we’ll get pineapple or watermelon as well.

Breakfast at ARU.

10h00-13h00 – Classes begin. We will either teach the undergraduate students as one large group (ranging in size from 5-20 students) or facilitate a staff development workshop for the teaching and admin staff (15-20 people)

Staff members discuss research methods.

13h00 – Lunch! Lunch is served in the guest dining hall, and consists of rice, “matoke”, beans, and fruit. If we’re lucky, we’ll be treated to the local “nut sauce” or “tomato-and-carrot” sauce – which quickly became our favourites

14h00-17h00 – Back to class for another 3 hours.

17h00-19h00 – Break time! After a long day of teaching/facilitating, it’s usually time for a break. It’s a good opportunity to review lesson progress of the day, prep for the next day’s foundation class or lessons, and possibly catch a short nap before dinner.

19h00 – Dinner! Dinner is once again served in the guest dining hall, where we’re usually joined by other guests staying at the University. We enjoy a nice chat over a meal, finishing up with tea before heading to bed around 20h30.

Dinner at ARU.

Many thanks for Andrew for sharing his routine with us. To stay up to date on our lecturers, please visit our blog.

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Exploring the Realities of Gender Inequality, Defining Human Security, and Studying Identity Based Violence and Discrimination

Mary : August 30, 2018 1:14 pm : 2018blog
The students have hit the ground running at PROWIBO’s program at SWU. Following a great first day of teaching, Georgiana has challenged the students to explore complex topics, such as gender inequality, LGBTQ rights, and identity based violence and discrimination.
Tuesday’s session focused on gender inequality. Georgiana began the session by discussing Thailand’s rankings in the Human Development Index and the Gender Inequality Index. Following this introduction, Georgiana led a discussion on the ways in which human development and gender inequality are measured.
Georgiana then led a discussion exploring what makes gender inequality persistent in societies. The students explored the role of culture and gender norms in underpinning gender stereotypes and patriarchal systems of oppression.
Georgiana presented students with a number of proverbs from around the world that illustrate how deeply culturally entrenched sexism is. The students were then encouraged to think of Thai saying that reveal sexism and gender stereotypes.
Students brainstorm ideas during the seminar discussion.
In the second part of the session, the students examined the meanings of peace and security. Georgiana split the students up in two groups. Each group was asked to select their top 3 security threats from a list that included climate change, migration, terrorism, domestic violence, cyberwarfare, poverty and nuclear weapons. Utilising the students’ answers from the activity, the class began to unpack the meanings of violence, peace and security.
“By the end of the second part of the session, students have gained a more nuanced understanding of the  difference between direct and structural violence, negative and positive peace, and various dimensions of human security,” said Georgiana.
Students share their thoughts during a discussion on gender inequality.
In the last part of the session, the students examined two case studies of gender inequality: the issue of women’s unpaid work and the strategic need to invest in and increase  girls’ education. Following this illuminating discussion, Georgiana concluded the session by showing the students excerpts of Chimamanda Adichie’s TEDx talk ‘We should all be feminists’.
Students explore case studies on gender inequality.

In Wednesday’s session, 17 students participated in a lecture that focused on sex, sexuality and gender, with a focus on  LGBTQ rights. Georgiana began the session with an exercise that helped the class familiarise themselves with the LGBTQ vocabulary. Georgiana believed it was important to ensure that the students understand key terminology, such as transgender, cisgender, intersex, asexuality, and bisexuality.

“Taking into account students’ feedback from the previous sessions,  I’ve decided to make the sessions even more engaging so we explored issues regarding discrimination based on gender and sexuality thorough a series of non-formal educational methods,” said Georgiana.
The class had a discussion on hate crimes by analysing a series of case studies concerning transphobia. Students were split into groups and were given a summary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. They had to identify what human rights were violated in each case.
The students discuss sex, sexuality, and gender.
In order to facilitate a more in depth examination of identity based violence and discrimination, the class played a game that required students to think about what parts of their identity (class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender etc) make them most vulnerable and which ones puts them in positions of privilege.
Students participate in the seminar exercise on identity.
“This exercise led to a very interesting discussion about the need for people to understand that we have relationships with ‘entire’ persons, not just with one of their identities,” said Georgiana.
In the evening  Georgina had dinner with some of the university professors. “I had a wonderful and very tasty dinner with several professors, including one who did his PhD at Leeds, where I am currently studying!” said Georgiana.
Many thanks to Georgiana for sharing her thoughts. With only one day left in the program at SWU, we would like to thank Georgina, Sipim, and all of the university staff for making this program possible. To stay up to date on our lecturers, follow our blog.
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Designing Workshops, Teaching Research Methods, and a Trip to the Farm

Mary : August 30, 2018 1:12 pm : 2018blog

Chandni and Andrew have had quite a full week of teaching ARU. Chandni has been leading sessions in her course on Negotiations and Entrepreneurship that focus on workshop development and implementation. Moreover, Andrew has been facilitating a three day workshop on research methods and academic practice for the teaching and administrative staff at ARU.

On Monday, Chandni taught a class on how to develop a workshop for communities. The students designed workshops that focused on: improved farming techniques, promotion of health and how to form lending circles and women’s groups.

The students work in groups in Chandni’s class. 

“The activity went down very well and [on Tuesday] they will be leading their workshops for the rest of the class so I can put my feet up (I hope) and be a student learning from them!”-Chandni

On Tuesday, the students presented their workshops ideas. One student gave a presentation on health promotion workshop that focuses on malaria.

A student delivering a presentation on “promotion of health” and focusing on malaria.

Following the presentations on farming techniques, the students went into the farm where they participated in activities, such as mulching.

The students participate in activities on the farm.

On Monday, Andrew gave class on “Research Methods: How to design an Experiment”. In this class, Andrew introduced the basic elements of research methods: generating an appropriate research question, formulating hypotheses, and coming up with an appropriate experimental design. The lecture also covered more complex topics like quantitative vs. Qualitative methods, basic statistical analysis, and exploratory approaches.

The staff in Andrew’s workshop break into groups for seminar activities.

While the staff at ARU are involved in research activities, including researching agricultural practices to investigating the effects of information seminars on the number of women who participate in cervical cancer screenings, they have experienced challenges sharing information and data with other communities.

“It’s been an immensely rewarding experience to see the attitudes of some of the staff go from ‘I can’t do research!’ to ‘I can’t wait to do research!”said Andrew.

Following the lecture, the staff members broke up into small groups to brainstorm ideas for an experiment. Each group also had to formalise their experimental plan. Following this exercise, the groups shared their ideas and helped other groups refine their approaches.

Andrew talks to staff members about their experimental ideas.

The second day focused on how to put together a scientific manuscript. The staff members started this session by examining sections of a typical research paper. The staff then conducted another group activity, where they constructed a research paper based on their experimental ideas from the day before. The class then discussed how to identify appropriate journals and reviewed the submission process. Moreover, they discussed different ways to share research online (ie through blogs, social media, etc.).

On the third day, the group tackled research proposals. In this session, they discussed how to identify appropriate funding opportunities, what should go in a research proposal, and how are research proposals evaluated.

The group has an outdoor session on a sunny day.

In the final exercise of this session, the group discussed the importance of establishing and maintaining a proper research team. Moreover, they talked about how to involve different members of the academic community, how to ensue that the workload is appropriately allocated, and how to ensure that all members are treated with respect.

“It encouraged people to take another perspective and think about the concerns of other members of staff (or even the students) who may become involved in research activities at the University. It gave the academic staff and the “traditional wisdom specialists” an opportunity to brainstorm potential working relationships that might allow traditional wisdom to be shared with a larger audience, but not in a way that compromises their livelihood or any ethical concerns,” said Andrew.

Many thanks to Andrew and Chandni for sharing their thoughts on the second week of classes at ARU. To stay up to date on our lecturers, please follow our blog.


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Discussing the SDGs, Exploring the Realities of Gender Equality, and An Opening Ceremony

Mary : August 27, 2018 3:11 pm : 2018blog, Blogs
PROWIBO’s final summer school program has begun at Srinakharinwirot Univeristy in Bangkok, Thailand. Our lecturer Georgiana arrived in Bangkok over the weekend and she had a fantastic first day teaching.
“I had a wonderful first day here at Srinakharinwirot University.”-Georgiana
Following the open ceremony of the program, Georgiana began her first session with 13 students. Her lecture focused on gender and politics. Georgiana introduced her students to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Students participate in the discussion on SDG No. 5.
Following the introduction of the SDGs, Georgiana had her students concentrate on Goal 5– Gender Equality.
Students in Georgiana’s class learn about the SDGs in their first day of classes.
During the rest of the session, the class covered topics, such as the social contructivisms of gender and sex, the role of gender norms in power and disciplinary power, gender quotas, women in politics, and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th waves of feminism and their implications.
We wish Georgiana luck with the rest of the program. Many thanks to Srinakharinwirot University for the warm welcome! To stay up to date on our summer school programs, follow our blog.
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India 2018 Gallery

Mary : August 24, 2018 8:04 am : 2018blog

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Sierra Leone 2018 Gallery

Mary : August 24, 2018 8:02 am : 2018blog

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Learning Whilst Teaching: Andrew’s Thoughts

Mary : August 23, 2018 2:00 pm : 2018blog

Because  both Chandni and Andrew have so much to share about this unique experience, we thought they could recap the first few days of teaching in their own words. Please enjoy the following post from Andrew.

Yesterday was my first opportunity to teach the students for an entire day. To accommodate the number of PROWIBO lecturers available, the classes have been combined into a single group made up of the first, second, and third year students. At home, this would present a real challenge – but here, it works remarkably well because the students all know each other and engage with one another as if they are all members of a single group. 


Spending 6 hours with one group of students (and one group of students spending 6 hours with a single lecturer) is not at all what I’m used to at my home university. Back home, we hold 50 minute lectures, and the students might spend only 6 hours a week in lectures. How to maintain motivation levels and enthusiasm across the day was definitely on my mind. However, this also presented a special opportunity: We could spend the entire day on a single theme, exploring it from many different perspectives. 


And so for this reason, I chose the theme “the scientific method” and specifically, how the students could use a scientific approach to answer questions about their studies and personal interests. We started by defining science as the process of asking questions, seeking answers, all to improve the quality of life of self and others”. Until now, I don’t know if I’ve ever taken the time to think about what science is in this way before, so already it was turning into a learning and growth opportunity for me as well as the students.


We then transitioned to listing the components of a good experiment (should include hypotheses, design, analysis plan, etc.). I then invited the students to suggest their own experiments based on what they might be interested in – and not surprisingly, they came up with some excellent suggestions. Examples included assessing whether a traditional medicinal herb, spiderweed, is more effective in treating malaria than a commercially available drug; whether locally purchased chickens produce more eggs of better quality than ‘exotic’ chickens; and how to evaluate whether their interventions with local communities meaningfully improved conditions for that community. We went through the process of designing experiments to address these questions, and in doing so, ended up covering more advanced topics like sampling bias, placebo effects, and the differences between quantitative and qualitative data collection approaches. The students caught on to these principles really quickly, particularly when associated with ‘practical’ applications.


Just before the lunch break, I asked the students to take me on a tour of the ARU Demonstration Garden, where they experiment with different agricultural technologies like planting systems and forms of pest control. Initially, it was a simple tour but once I admitted that I am an absolutely terrible gardener, I had all the students taking turns teaching me about the different technologies, species of plant, and growth trajectories of certain fruits.

One particularly fascinating moment was when I casually asked one of the students how to say “pumpkin” in the local language. This resulted in about 6 different answers as the students come from many parts of Western Uganda, each with their own language. And yet, the differences were subtle enough to spot that the words were all referring to the same thing. And as per usual, they all seemed to find my efforts to learn their language charming yet hilarious.


After lunch, we continued on from our experience in the demonstration garden, and I tasked them with designing a series of experiments to help me determine which of the different technologies might help me grow better vegetables in my garden back home. They had no trouble with the assignment, and were suggesting experimental refinements that had not occurred to me.


I then introduced them to a “Prism Goggles”demonstration loaned to me by another PROWIBO professor, which they seemed to thoroughly enjoy. Prism goggles shift your visual field so that things appear either to the right or to the left of their actual position. Wearing them makes you miss objects when you reach for them, or bumping into things if you try to walk. However, you rapidly adapt and are then able to grasp objects without difficulty. At first, the students appeared mystified as to what was going on – but as soon as we went through the process, I once again got that “sly smile” as if to say “Ahhhhhh. Now I get it!”, which is always such a treat as a teacher (alas I foolishly forgotto get any pictures). We conducted a short in-class experiment using the goggles, and then headed into the final part of the day.


We finished the long day with a discussion about statistics (probably a mistake), including the dangers of misusing statistics. Turns out, I grossly underestimated the students’ maths abilities and we ended up going into much greater depth into concepts surrounding descriptive statistics than I had expected to.


After I dismissed the students, a few of them were kind enough to stick around to teach me a few more words in the local dialect.


So all in all, it was a long day but a productive day – and one in which it’d be safe to say I learned as much from the students as they learned from me. 

Today, I’m spending the day with the staff, and it’sChandni’s turn to have a full day with the students.

Until next time,


Orare Kurungi (Good Night)


Many thanks to Andrew! To read more updates from our lecturers at ARU, please visit our blog.

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Delivering Engaging Lectures, Adjusting Teaching Styles, and A Warm Welcome

Mary : August 23, 2018 8:02 am : 2018blog

After an exciting first day in Kagadi, Chandni and Andrew began their first day of teaching at ARU on Tuesday morning. However, before classes begun, the team had plenty of time to explore their new environment.

“The university is very green and lush. It truly feels like a university teaching agriculture and rural development. Expected some cold, but it’s colder than I thought it would be!”-Chandni

Andrew tours the gardens. 

Chandni and Andrew were impressed by the facilities that the ARU campus offers, such as beehives, a mechanics shop, a radio station, a maize mill, a canteen, and a police outpost.

“The university gives the impression of being a completely self-sufficient community.”-Andrew

Andrew and Chandni were excited to begin teaching on Tuesday. Everyone was very welcoming and the students were keen to participant in class games. In Chandni’s class on negotiations and entrepreneurship, students worked on a case assignment.

Students work on a case assignment.

In Andrew’s class on social psychology, the students played a prisoner’s dilemma game.

Andrew leads a prisoner’s dilemma game with students. 

Andrew and Chandni also took time to reflect on how they have adapted their teaching styles to their new environment. Because Chandni conducts most of her teaching through workshops in rural Kenya, she has had to adjust her teaching style to the classrooms at ARU. “I adapted slightly by bringing a little more of textbook teaching to the workshop/practical teaching,” says Chandni.

Her goal overall is to combine the textbook and practical teaching in order to keep student engagement levels high throughout the program. She hopes to incorporate a field visit later in the program in order to allow students to apply their learning in the community.

Andrew has found that the one of the biggest adjustments is the class size. “My class size ranges from 6-10 which falls just outside my current comfort zone with respect to ‘managing the classroom’ (e.g., maintaining enthusiasm, etc.),” says Andrew.  Therefore, he has tried various ice breakers, including trying to speak in the local dialect whenever he can. “I have found the best way to get them to open up is to try out what little local language I have picked up,” says Andrew.

Moreover, Andrew has had to adjust to the scheduling of the university, which provides him and Chandni with 6 hours of lecuring time each day. “It  has required me to shift things around, and try to find excuses to take the class outside or incorporate some additional physical activity to maintain any motivation,” says Andrew. He hopes to adjust to this new schedule by utilising the abundance of resources and facitilites of the campus to keep classes engaging and exciting for students.

Many thanks to Chandni and Andrew for taking the time to share their thoughts on the first few days of the program at ARU. Make sure to follow our blog to read more updates from our lecturers.


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Conducting a Field Visit, Reflecting on URDT, and a Campus Tour

Mary : August 20, 2018 5:02 pm : 2018blog

PROWIBO’s summer program at the African Rural University (ARU) is officially underway. On Sunday, Chandni and Andrew arrived safely in Kagadi, Uganda. Today, they had quite the eventful day getting to know the campus and the local community.

Andrew and Chandni visited the family of an Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme (URDT) student and spoke with them about how URDT has benefitted their daughter’s learning.

Andrew chats with the family of a URDT student.

Moreover, the team visited a women’s savings group. The group’s current epicentre manager is a graduate of ARU. The group hopes to use her expertise to improve their visions.

Chandni with the women’s savings group.

Andrew and Chandni also took time to visit the studio of a new television network. Andrew will be starring in a program on the network that will launch in the next month.

Andrew prepares for the show at the network’s studio.

The first day of classes at ARU begins tomorrow. We wish our lecturers luck for their first day of teaching!


Click here to  learn more about PROWIBO’s program at ARU and remember to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to receive more updates from Chandni and Andrew.

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Reflecting on an Unforgettable Experience and The Closing Ceremony at Karamat College

Mary : August 15, 2018 8:43 am : 2018blog

Our summer school program in Lucknow, India has come to a close. To mark the end to an unforgettable experience, Karamat College hosted a closing ceremony for the students and our lecturers.

“It was a beautiful celebration. The students shared some really generous and kind reflections on our time together.”-Philippa.

The closing ceremony at Karamat.

In addition to hearing the students’ reflections, Rachel, Philippa, and Suzanne received a beautiful gift from Shivangi, one of their students at Karamat.

The gift from Shivangi.


PROWIBO would like to thank the students and administration at Karamat College and Sanatkada for their enthusiasm and dedication to the program. Moreover, we would like to thank Philippa, Suzanne, and Rachel for volunteering their time. Finally, we would like to thank  Anjum, Noor, Nishi, and Nasima for their help in making this summer program possible.


Click here to learn more about PROWIBO’s summer school programs.


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Strengthening Public Speaking Skills, Solving the SDGs, and The Knot Game

Mary : August 13, 2018 7:06 am : 2018blog

With only one week to go in PROWIBO’s adventures in India, our lecturers took time over the weekend to reflect on the program so far and its impact on students. Please enjoy the following post from Philippa, Rachel and Suzanne, which includes their thoughts as well as comments from students enrolled in PROWIBO’s program at Karamat College.

This week, Karamat students were gently nudged out of their comfort zones when they were given the opportunity to put into practice the public speaking skills and techniques discussed in earlier classes.  For some, it was their first ever attempt to speak in front of a group of any size, and we are so proud of these young ladies for facing the challenge with grace!


“It was my first attempt to give a speech to juniors and professors, I was really nervous because my friend, who is an outstanding student, forgot the line on her topic and this increased my heartbeat fast and shook my hands, thinking about what will happen with me now? Well, I breathed deeply and went on the stage and gave a speech and thanked to my juniors who gave me glow feedback (appreciates me) and thanks to Rachel, who motivate[d] me.”-Andleeb via Facebook

Students in Suzanne’s Design Thinking used cards based on de Bono’s Six hats for feedback during their group activity.

We closed the week with a fantastic exercise Suzanne developed called ‘Ludic Foresight’. Students groups were assigned a sustainable development goal (SDG) and given a set of cards outlining the political, economic, technological, environmental, social and values parameters of their world in 2030. They then had to develop a strategy to solve or work towards solving their SDG within these constraints. At the end of the session, some groups presented their solutions, providing another opportunity to work on the specific growth areas identified in the previous public speaking exercise. The activity promoted critical thinking, analysis, debate, and a host of skills all at once and the students loved it!

 Suzanne teaches students about ludic foresight.

“Indeed! We loved it like we love you guys.” -Amber via Instagram


Meanwhile, at Sanatkada, the public speaking exercise was adapted to their specific needs, be it customer-facing, pitching for new business,  or community outreach. Each of the participants made a brief speech, and the group then analysed the speaker’s ‘glows and grows’ – what was done well and what can be improved next time. Each group member participated actively throughout, as speaker and analyst; this promoted continued reflection on their peers’ performances and the relevance of all feedback to their own development as public speakers.


We used the human knot activity to launch a deep discussion around teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and perseverance. The ladies themselves drew parallels with many different aspects of the organisation’s work. To run the activity, the ladies stood in a circle and took each others’ hands, with the rule that each hand had to be held by a different person and that they could not hold hands with the person standing directly on either side. They then had to untangle themselves into a circle without breaking their grasp. Much hilarity ensued! We are helping the team build a repertoire of similar activities for team-building and community-outreach purposes.

At Sanatkada, workshop participants play the knot game.


Many thanks to Philippa, Rachel, and Suzanne and the students for sharing their thoughts with us. To learn more about the programs at Karamat College and Sanatkada and to receive more updates from Philippa, Rachel, and Suzanne, follow our blog.


All comments  in this post have been included with the permission of each student.

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Exploring the Learning Environment, Adapting Teaching Styles, and Accidental Innovations

Mary : August 8, 2018 10:05 am : 2018blog

Philippa, Rachel, and Suzanne are halfway through another week of classes and workshops at Karamat College and Sanatkada in Lucknow, India. After an amazing start to the program, our team has hit the ground running. They continue to be moved by the students’ enthusiasm and passion for learning.

We asked the professors to reflect on how they are adapting to her the teaching environment. Please enjoy the following response from Suzanne.


I am realizing how deeply my teaching style is based on luxuries, flexibility in curriculum, and resources of time and supplies. Here at Karamat College, we have dedicated classrooms with fixed desks facing a large chalk board at the front. There is a large classroom that we use to move furniture around and to facilitate group work. Electricity cuts out and kicks in. The fans in the ceiling help circulate the hot air but make it harder to hear; it’s a tough choice between the two.

The students work on a group exercise in Philippa’s Civil Society course.

The students have been excused from their regular classes to spend time in our course on Design Thinking, Civil Society and Communications. We are grateful to be here and grateful for the support by the college. I used to joke that “I cannot think without a post-it note”. Although I fear this to be true, as I’ve trained myself to rely on these accidental innovations, they are very hard to come by. Paper and pens can sometimes be had but must be used frugally.

We also tend to play a lot, such as warm up exercises to create a convivial atmosphere, to teach concepts indirectly through group games, and to foster team dynamics. These are welcomed by the students, but are only possible by making our classes longer than 45 minutes. Otherwise, students and administration alike would, I suppose, wonder about the educational value we are delivering.

Philippa, Suzanne, and Rachel have a lovely and refreshing tea.

I’m thinking further about my accustomed approach and the realities of this context. I hope to work with the college to figure out how to inject these play techniques into the teaching day without disrupting the 45 minute curriculum constraint. It’s a good challenge to think further on creating engaging and sustainable teaching methods that do not rely on the idea of expandable time, resources, and content.


Many thanks to Suzanne for sharing her thoughts.  We look forward to hearing more updates from the rest of the team. To read more updates from Philippa, Suzanne, and Rachel, please follow our blog.

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Sharing Course Expectations, Developing Business Plans, and A Warm Reception

Mary : August 3, 2018 4:28 pm : 2018blog

Our summer school program at Karamat College and our workshop series at Sanatkada are off to a great start. Now that our lecturers have some time to relax and plan for the week  ahead, we wanted to give a quick update on the past three days.

Philippa, Suzanne, and Rachel are overjoyed by how bright and engaging the students are. They are also enjoying their homestay in Lucknow. “Nishi has given us an incredibly warm welcome and shared a lot of knowledge and experience with us from her research in education,” said Philippa.

To begin the summer school program, our team took time to explain to the students about what PROWIBO does. They also encouraged students to share their expectations and wishes for the course.

Suzanne exploring the college’s library.

On Thursday, Philippa, Rachel, and Suzanne conducted their first workshop at Sanatkada, where they worked with workshop participants to develop business models for the main units of the organization.

The Sanatkada craft store, where the team is conducting workshops.

Today, Philippa, Rachel, and Suzanne conducted group activities to discuss how the students learn best and what they need in their learning community.

“We’re here to facilitate and be part of their learning experiences, and hopefully to support building skills which will be relevant to them both at Karamat and beyond. It has been a pleasure to work together with teachers and students here.”-Philippa


Many thanks to our team and our local representatives. We wish you luck in the upcoming week of classes. To stay up to date on our program in Lucknow, make sure to follow our blog.


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Embracing the Complexity of Problem Solving, Fostering Friendships, and Reflecting on the Past Two Weeks

Mary : August 3, 2018 8:52 am : 2018blog

Our team in Freetown has had quite the eventful week both inside and outside of the classroom.  Charlie, Sabrina, and Manal gave lectures at IPAM and Vanessa led a workshop on clinical public health skills at COMAHS. Additionally, our team traveled to St. George’s Home in Regent to visit with children that had been displaced in the August 2017 mudslides. The professors brought treats  for the children and had the chance to speak with the children about themselves, their lives and school. Our team was truly moved by the children’s joy and resilence.

Majeks,Vanessa, and Sabrina visit with the children at St. George’s Home.

With the end of the program fast approaching, Sabrina was able to reflect on the past two weeks of teaching. Please enjoy the following blog post from Sabrina.


It is the eve of the last day of teaching at IPAM, and I can hardly believe just how quickly the past two weeks have flown by.  Just as we are getting into the groove of the city, it is all coming to an end. It is funny how quickly a place that seems so unfamiliar can suddenly, almost out of nowhere, feel entirely familiar.  I’m not sure when this switch happened for me, but it must have been somewhere in the past few days.

My class on Peace in Pieces has asked students to critically question broadly accepted terms and approaches to development, peace-making and governance. It has pushed students to question the foundations of approaches and concepts, and to embrace complexity in problem-solving.  While Charlie, Vannessa and I did not collaborate prior to arriving on our respective classes, somehow we are on the same page, and all of our lessons complement each other. I would argue that we as a team complement each other too, as in our short time together, we have become a little family (Vanessa and I even refer to Charlie as ‘Pops’).  I have no doubt that I will work to nurture these friendships beyond this trip, and hopefully collaborate in future PROWIBO projects.

Vanessa leads a workshop on clinical public health skills at COMAHS.

Tomorrow our students will be participating in a Model Governance Simulation, where they will consider many relevant stakeholders to try to make a plan for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Sierra Leone, a plan which reflects all of the material that Charlie, Vanessa and I taught (economics, leadership and international development, respectively).   The simulation requires them to view Sierra Leone through many different lenses in order to: find out what the overlapping and competing interests of relevant stakeholders are, and use this information to pool together resources, ideas and know-how to make a plan which is holistic and multi-dimensional, true to the Sustainable Development Goals themselves.


In all my years of teaching, I have found that getting students to demonstrate what they have learned through ‘doing’ not only helps me to see what they have and have not learned, but it also gives them a chance to develop a confidence in their own abilities, and even to discover previously unknown talents.   While our session tomorrow is far shorter than the usual rigorous two to five-day Model UN Conferences I am used to, I hope that this ‘taster’ will inspire new ideas and more critical thinking. I’ve been reflecting today on how this ‘doing’ translates to my experience in Sierra Leone as a lecturer; I’m fairly well travelled, am comfortable in most travel situations, and have a reasonable amount of teaching experience (9 years) in international relations, human rights and development.  Yet, teaching in Sierra Leone is the first time I’ve actually taught in a developing country. Being here, with IPAM’s extraordinary students has added a new, far more illuminating lens to my eyes. There is so much that we take for granted at universities in the UK, such as internet and a library stocked with books! The students here are able to do so much with such limited resources, but despite their talents, I can see how they are limited in what they can achieve. I hope that future donors to such universities will prioritise shrinking the digital divide so that these students can not only keep on top of the literature in their field but compete in and contribute to realms of knowledge and scholarship in meaningful and impactful ways.  

Manal gives a lecture on Public Health at IPAM

There will certainly be more reflection to come after tomorrow, but I hope this gives some insight into our time here.


Many thanks to Sabrina and our team of lecturers in Freetown. We wish you luck on the last day of classes. We have enjoyed following your experience.

Make sure to follow our blog to receive updates from our team in Sierra Leone.



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A New Beginning in Lucknow, India

Mary : August 1, 2018 4:15 pm : 2018blog

Today, Professors Without Borders’ launched its newest summer school program at the Karamat Husain Muslim Girls’ P.G. College in Lucknow, India. The program will last until August 15th.

We have worked with our teachers and with the college to develop a program that will engage students in discussion surrounding communication skills, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and civil society development.

In addition to our program at the college, our team is working with the Sadbhavana Trust to develop   workshop sessions, which respond to the Trust’s specific needs and goals. These workshops will focus on women working in three areas:  video and film production, various community work with families living in marginalised communities aiming to empower the girl child, and the Sanatkada craft shop. The workshop starts tomorrow and will begin with participants working on visualising their business model using Canvas.


Philippa, Rachel, and Suzanne had an eventful first day. They started the day with the welcome assembly at Karamat.

Philippa (second from the left), Suzanne (centre), and Rachel (second from the right) at the opening ceremony for the summer school.

“We really appreciate the effort the team is putting in, so much thinking goes into their work.”-Noor Khan, PROWIBO India Coordinator.


Following the opening ceremony, Philippa, Rachel and Suzanne began their first day of classes at the college.

Philippa introduces her course “Civil Society, Social Groups and Communities“.

“It was a great start. Everyone at the university has been incredibly welcoming, and the students are full of energy, bright, and engaged,” said Philippa.


Then the team rounded off the school day with a whole group activity. They conducted a warm-up game called ‘Change Places if…’.

“The students are very bright. We share in their enthusiasm for our time together. We were each given a beautiful bouquet of red roses. It’s an honour to be here.”-Suzanne


Following a successful start to the program, Philippa, Suzanne, Rachel, and Noor traveled to Sanatkada to discuss the upcoming workshop.

Philippa, Suzanne, and Noor Khan sitting in the meeting at Sanatkada.


Many thanks to the Karamat Husain Muslim Girls’ P.G. College for a beautiful opening ceremony. We hope that our teachers and students have an incredible experience over these next two weeks.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to receive more updates from our team in India!

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Looking At Our Impact in SL: An Interview with Alpha

Mary : July 30, 2018 2:41 pm : 2018blog, Blogs

Professors Without Borders values the feedback of our local partners, our teachers, and mostly importantly our students. It is important for us to hear from students what they learnt as well as what they liked and disliked about the program. This helps us to understand how our programs impact the lives of our students and the greater community.

Our team was able to interview Alpha, a student at IPAM pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in accounting. In the interview, Alpha discusses what he has learnt during the summer school program and how this experience has impacted him.


Watch Alpha’s interview below:


Many thanks to Alpha for sharing his thoughts on our program. We wish him luck in his future academic endeavours!

Click here to learn more about the summer school program in Sierra Leone.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and read our blog for updates from our summer schools.

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Passing the Baton of Feminism: Reflecting on the Nuances of Gender Equality in Sierra Leone

Mary : July 29, 2018 6:04 pm : 2018blog, Blogs

On Saturday, Sabrina and Dr. Fatou Taqi, President of the 50/50 Group, co-led “Passing the Baton in Pursuit of Gender Equality” at the 50/50 Group’s office in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the many different feminisms and to pass the baton of feminism on to the next generation. Following the workshop, Sabrina had the chance to reflect on the powerful experience.


My time with the 50/50 Group, who pursue gender equality through training and advocacy, was one of the most inspiring 3 hours of my entire life.  I co-led a workshop with the extraordinary 50/50 President Dr. Fatou Taqi on how to pass the baton of feminism on to the next generation.   The group of women, some of their daughters and one man who participated in the workshop were truly inspiring; their work in advocacy, law, politics, defence, development, media and other areas brought exceptional insight into the conversation as we explored some of the harmful mixed-messages of feminism and gender equality.  We discussed the barriers in pursuing gender equality in Sierra Leone and began strategizing on how to unify a feminist message to influence policy makers and wider society.  The camaraderie and support of the group, as well as their vision and their work, is an exemplar model of what civil society can do in pursuing gender equality.  I, for one, will be following everything that they do and will champion them as much as I can.




The 50/50 Group Sierra Leone advocates and campaigns to increase the political participation and achieve equal representation of women in decision-making processes and initiatives at all levels in Sierra Leone. The 50/50 Group is a non-partisan organisation and designs training programs that seek to promote support for women’s participation in public service and to foster women’s confidence and capacity  to engage in the political and/or governance process. Through our partnership, the 50/50 Group and Professors Without Borders are committed to fulfilling the educational need of women and promoting women in leadership position throughout the public sector.

We would like to thank The 50/50 Group and the workshop participants for allowing Professors Without Borders and our team in Sierra Leone to participate in this illuminating and powerful discussion.

To learn more about the 50/50 Group, please visit their website. Remember to follow our live blog to stay up-to-date on our summer schools and to read updates from our teachers.



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Exploring the Implications of Global Finance, Analysing the Impact of International Relations and A Sustainable Development Simulation

Mary : July 27, 2018 8:17 pm : 2018blog, Blogs

Now that classes have ended for the week, our team takes time to reflect on the first week of our summer school program in Freetown. Please enjoy this blog post from Charlie, Sabrina and Mucktarr.


The students were incredibly attentive and exceeded the expectations of our lecturers. They all clearly wanted to be there and showed up with an infectious and enthusiastic energy. This was great!

The students at IPAM all study business, so they were familiar with the topic of Global Finance. One of the key messages that Charlie brought to the students is the role of rice imports on the state of the economy in Sierra Leone. However controversial, when the students engaged with his ideas and debated them, they concluded in their class simulation that Sierra Leone needs to reduce rice imports and increase production of its own rice.

International relations, however, was foreign territory. Their panic on the first day eventually led them to develop a more comfortable understanding of the basics of international relations and global politics by the final simulation day. The students were intensely curious throughout these lecturers, often for the first time realising how the complex interactions of international phenomena shapes their daily lives. In the verbal feedback after the final simulation on “A plan for sustainable development in Sierra Leone” students noted that they had a better understanding of how different transnational actors interact with competing and overlapping interests to deal with global problems.

Reflecting on the experience, the lecturers believe that access to information is the biggest barrier to students in Sierra Leone. The students are talented critical thinkers who are bold in their ideas, but without access to online journals to keep on top of their fields, it will be impossible for them to compete with scholarly work in the Global North. It is clear that donors who wish to invest in higher education in Sierra Leone should focus on improving access to online journals, computers and better training in making sense of what is happening in their respective fields. Perhaps this is a challenge that PROWIBO can pose to those funding education here.
Sabrina, Mucktarr and Charlie


Many thanks to Sabrina, Charlie and Mucktarr! We wish our team luck in upcoming week of classes. Make sure to follow our live blog to receive updates from our team in Sierra Leone!

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Teaching Midwives, Resolving Disputes and a Cultural Tour

Mary : July 26, 2018 4:16 pm : 2018blog, Blogs

Our summer school program in Freetown continues to pick up the pace! This week has been groundbreaking. Not only did we launch our summer school program at Fourah Bay College and IPAM, we hosted a workshop on infectious disease prevention strategies at the College of Medicine and Health Services. Our teachers have had a fantastic week of presenting lectures covering the subjects of Public Health, Conflict and Peacekeeping, Global Finance and Business Law.

Our team meeting with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Sierra Leone.

After arriving in Freetown on Thursday, our team got the chance to meet with local personnel for each program. Over the weekend, they met with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Sierra Leone in preparation for Vanessa’s health workshop at COMAHS. Additionally, they met with Dr. Lakoh, the IPAM coordinator, and the Chief Librarian of IPAM.


PROWIBO Intern Mucktarr Raschid helps pass out textbooks on the first day of classes.

Mucktarr, an alumnus of the 2017 summer school in Freetown and a PROWIBO intern, is currently assisting our professors with this year’s program. Mucktarr has provided great support for the team and is very pleased with the first week of the program.

“The program is going on smoothly. I’m really having fun while doing something I love.”-Muckarr

PROWIBO Co-founder Majeks Walker gives a lecture on ADR.

Majeks gave an insightful lecture on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for students at IPAM. In the lecture, Majeks discussed in what situations to pursue ADR and the key dimensions of ADR, such as choice of law and choice of forum.


Vanessa’s lunch: Jollof rice and fish

Luckily, our team did manage to have some down time during their first week. Following her incredible workshop on infectious disease prevention strategies, Vanessa was able to explore the local food options in Freetown.

“Jollof rice and fish, my favorite dish!”-Vanessa


We are so pleased with all of the positive feedback we have received about the program! One week down (almost), one week to go! Stay tuned for more updates from our team and make sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter to photos and videos from SL.


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Our Team Hits the Ground Running in SL

Mary : July 24, 2018 3:57 pm : 2018blog, Blogs

Yesterday, Professors Without Borders’ summer school season began in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Our team hit the ground running after arriving in Freetown on Thursday evening. They visited the campuses of Fourah Bay College and IPAM over the weekend and met with university personnel.

All of teachers observed that the students are attentive, curious, and deeply engaged in class discussions. We even received feedback from a local WHO Consultant, who was very impressed with our workshop led by Vanessa at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences.

We want you to share in our excitement, so we are going to take you on an official PROWIBO photo tour of the first day of classes.

Manal gave an engaging lecture on public health to students.

Sabrina’s course on conceptions of peace in international interventions prompted students to critically engage with questions of justice, ethics, equality and development.

“In my 3 classes, there were many questions about justice and equality in development/IR.”-Sabrina

Vanessa led PROWIBO’s first health course for midwives and nurses. Vanessa helped participants strategise disease prevention efforts.

Charlie, a veteran of the Sierra Leone program, gave a thought-provoking lecture on Global Finance for students at IPAM.

One day down, thirteen amazing days to go! Stay tuned for more updates from our team over the next two weeks.

Learn about our operations and get involved with PROWIBO.



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We Have Arrived in Sierra Leone!

Mary : July 20, 2018 8:30 am : 2018blog, Blogs

Professors Without Borders is excited to report that last night our professors arrived safely in Freetown. Our summer school program in Sierra Leone start in two days. While our professors settle in and prepare for an amazing two weeks of teaching, we would like to introduce you to our 2018 Sierra Leone team!

Meet Our Team

Vanessa is a McKnight Doctoral Fellow pursuing her PhD in Public Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Florida International University, where she also serves as the This Is Public Health Ambassador for the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH).  Vanessa, a skilled and experienced epidemiologist. She has completed fellowships with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  Vanessa led Ebola prevention health education sessions through CDC’s CARE+ program at the JFK Airport Quarantine Station. She has over three years of experience teaching life-saving skills and professional rescue and response with the American Red Cross. Vanessa will be leading several engaging and interactive courses in Clinical Public Health.

Sabrina is an Economic and Social Research Council-Funded PhD Student. Her PhD is with the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership andis incollaboration with the United Nations Association in the United Kingdom. Her research focuses on liberal intervention and gender, and especially sexual exploitation in United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. She has nearly nine years of teaching experience at the undergraduate and post-graduate level. She also has extensive experience in simulation design and delivery for university-wide modules as well as in diplomacy training for the Dutch Army, and lead award-winning Model UN teams to international conferences. Sabrina has experience working with youth groups, and has organised youth conferences for the past five years. She has field work experience from her time in Cambodia, where she worked with a youth-grassroots organisation which dealt with issues of gender, vulnerability and exploitation. Sabrina will be leading a course titled “Peace in Pieces: unpacking decision-making in interventions”.

Charlie an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Business School of Richmond the American International University in London, where he lectures in Corporate Finance, International Finance, Fundamental Analysis and Country Risk Analysis. Charlie completed his undergraduate degree in Law at the University of Nottingham before working for Ernst & Young in their London Office. As a chartered accountant, Charlie has worked in investment banking as an analyst and as a salesman. His former employers include Lehman Brothers, Commerzbank, Danske Bank, Nordea and MF Global. Summer School 2018 will be Charlie’s second time teaching in Sierra Leone with PROWIBO. Charlie will be leading a course titled “An Introduction to financial and economic challenges of Africa”.


Professors Without Borders is extremely grateful for the hard work and dedication of our volunteer professors. We hope that they have an unforgettable and enriching experience.

To stay up to date with our professors and our summer school programs, follow our live blog.



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Workshop in Sierra Leone: Passing the Baton in Pursuit of Gender Equality

Mary : July 16, 2018 3:16 pm : 2018blog, Blogs
  • Passing the Baton in Pursuit of Gender Equality will take place on July 28th at The 50/50 Group’s Gender and Women’s Leadership Training Institute in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
  • The workshop will explore the many different conceptions feminism and construct a dialogue for how to constructively speak about and pursue gender equality in Sierra Leone.
  • The workshop will be led by Sabrina White, an Economic and Social Research Council-Funded 1+3 PhD.
  • The workshop is part of a public lecture series hosted by Professors Without Borders in collaboration with the 50/50 Group.

Passing the Baton in Pursuit of Gender Equality is part one of a public lecture series hosted by Professors Without Borders in collaboration with The 50/50 Group. Led by Sabrina White, the workshop aims to discuss the many different feminisms and explore the ways to achieve gender equality in Sierra Leone.

The workshop will take place on July 28th, 2018 at the The 50/50 Group’s Gender and Women’s Leadership Training Institute in Freetown, Sierra Leone from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For registration instructions, please see the program agenda below or visit The 50/50 Group’s office.

Download the event program here.

For more information on the 50/50 Group and their mission, visit their website. To read about Professors Without Borders’ plan to promote gender equality through education, read our June press release.


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Prowibo Summer School Tour: Thailand

Mary : July 16, 2018 12:16 pm : 2018blog

Our final stop is Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok, Thailand.  

Srinakharinwirot University was founded in 1974. The philosophy of the university is to utilize higher education to promote growth in five key areas: faith (self-awareness), sacred precepts (ethics), attentiveness (continuous learning), abandonment (generosity), and wisdom.

The university began with six faculties the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Humanities and Science, the Faculty of Social Science, the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Physical Education, and the Graduate School, but has added seven additional faculties in the past 30 years as part of an ambitious education development plan. In 1996, the university established a second campus in Ongkharak, a town 60 miles north of Bangkok.

We have designed a program, in collaboration with SWU faculty, that  highlights areas, such as presentation skills, communication skills, research methodologies, and teaching methodologies. Courses and workshops will be available to students and faculty. Our program at SWU will begin on August 27th to September 1st.


We hope you enjoyed our tour! This summer is will be full of excitement and great educational opportunities. Check out our live blog to hear updates from our volunteer professors during the program cycles. Get involved with Prowibo and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on our summer schools, our publications and our events.

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Prowibo Summer School Tour: Uganda

Mary : July 16, 2018 11:48 am : 2018blog

We hope you’re enjoying the tour so far. Remember to follow our live blog this summer to hear updates from all of our professors. The third stop on our tour is the African Rural University in Kagadi, Uganda.

Founded in 2009 by the Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme (URDT),  the African Rural University (ARU) serves to empower young women of rural communities through education and skill development, so that they can serve as leaders and innovators in their communities.

ARU’s methodology consists of the visionary and creative approaches, which allow students to serve as the main actors within the development process and utilize critical thinkings skills to ensure sustainable approaches to rural development.

 Our team of professors are committed to ARU’s mission of skill development and have designed courses to challenge students’ critical thinking skills. Courses include: “Why we think what we think (about others) – An Introduction to Cognitive and Social Psychology”,  “Running good research: an introduction to experimental methods”, and “Negotiations and Entrepreneurship”. Course workshops include designing projects, participatory action research, negotiations and decision-making.Additionally, we are offering a faculty training course, which will discuss mentorship and  coaching, participatory action research, research grant writing, scholarly writing with use of APA, learner centered teaching approaches and report writing, and assessment development and evaluation. Our program at ARU will run from August 19th until September 1st.

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Prowibo Summer School Tour: India

Mary : July 16, 2018 11:48 am : 2018blog

Welcome back to our summer school tour! We have now arrived at our second stop, Lucknow, India. Let us introduce you to our newest partner, the Karamat Husain Muslim Girls College .

The Karamat Husain Muslim Girls College was established as a degree college in 1946 after 40 years of institutional evolution beginning as  a school consisting of six girls in 1912, transforming to a high school in 1924, and upgrading Inter College in 1936 before reaching its current status.  The core mission of the college is to provide young women with opportunities for skill development and empower them to confront issues, such as social sensitivity and environmental consciousness. In addition to an impressive course catalog, the Karamat Husain Muslim Girls College has a vibrant sports program featuring N.S.S, Hockey, Javelin, Badminton, Shot-put, Basketball, High Jump, Long Jump. The success of the program earned the university the opportunity to serve as the Girls Hockey Centre for the Sports Authority of India.

 The program is designed to engage students in discussion surrounding communication and critical thinking skills and civil society development and  will feature courses, such as “Civil Society, Social Groups and Communities”, “Raise Your Voice: Impactful Communication Skills”, and “Design Thinking”. Our program at the Karamat Husain Muslim Girls College will run for two weeks starting from the 1st of August.

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Prowibo’s Summer School Tour: Sierra Leone

Mary : July 4, 2018 1:32 pm : 2018blog, Summer2018

Summer is finally upon us, which means that Prowibo’s 2018 summer school programs will be back in session soon. The 2018 Program Cycle is particularly special to us because it will mark the completion of a longstanding goal— an expansion into India. We have secured a partnership with the Karamat Husain Muslim Girls College in Lucknow, India where we will be conducting a two week program at the beginning of August. But wait, there’s more! We have expanded our operations in Sierra Leone through our new partnership with the Institution of Public Administration and Management in Freetown. With all of these incredible expansions, we wanted to give a virtual tour of what we have in store for this summer, so our readers, supporters and donors can share in our excitement for what is going to be a great summer! This is the first of a four part series introducing our 2018 summer schools.

We will begin our tour in  Freetown, Sierra Leone, the home of our pilot summer school program. Here we will  meet two of our partner colleges—Fourah Bay College and the Institution of Public Administration and Management.

Fourah Bay College (FBC) was founded in 1827 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. This historic institution was the first modern higher education institution in sub-Saharan following the decline of Timbuktu. Sometimes referred to as the Athens of West Africa, FBC is an affiliated body of the University of Sierra Leone and offers degrees in the departments of of the Arts, Engineering and Architecture, Pure and Applied Sciences, Social Sciences and Law.

The Institution of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) was founded in 1980 in Freetown, Sierra Leone and, like FBC, it is affiliated with the University of Sierra Leone. IPAM provides students with a well-rounded list of degrees, offering courses in banking and finance, accounting, information systems and technology, business administration, entrepreneurship and governance and leadership. Additionally, IPAM has made strides to democratise higher education in Sierra Leone, by expanding its campus beyond Freetown into the city of Kenema in 2017.

The course catalog will include: “Implementing Community Interventions”, “Peace in Pieces: unpacking decision-making in interventions”,“An Introduction to financial and economic challenges of Africa”. We will also offer workshops on: IT skills and literacy, cover letter and resume building, and interview skills. In addition to our summer school programs, we will be operating a program at a local teaching hospital focusing on the management and containment of infectious diseases. The programs at FBC and IPAM will run from July 22nd to August 5th.


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