IEE Newsletter No. 24

AlumnIEE: Timeline - Building Professional Practice after Study Life

Alphonce Omolo, former Associate member of the PhD IDS programme, shares a brief ‘timeline’ capturing the major activities that he has been undertaking in the last 12 months.

Settling back into practice: balancing interests between academic and practical work

Exceptional mentorship and professional grounding during my academic life as an associate scholar at the IEE remain most memorable occasion of my academic career. It made the academic journey of pursuing doctoral degree at the Faculty for Philosophy and Educational Research at the Ruhr University Bochum more rewarding. In this article I will briefly share with you some of the activities I have been involved in while creating a path towards professional practice in the East African region since I graduated in 2014. Though the context remains different from culture to culture and from country to country, settling back into practice, especially in the social development sector, can be quite challenging after a long period of academic experience. In addition, balancing interests between practicing in the academic sector and working in the development sector are some of the challenging decisions that continuously demand attention. I chose to go with both, initially prioritizing the establishment of a consultancy firm (Lensthru Consultants - to help build capacities of organizations. Gathering data to help design projects to protect children and youth against violence and supporting in the designing and the implementation of culturally appropriate and sustainable violence protection measures are my great inspirations. Some of the activities in the recent past include:

Rediscovering Identity: Enabling street youth to reconstruct their lives. This was the topic of a paper I presented during the 2nd Commonwealth Conference on Youth Work 2016 in Pretoria South Africa. The theme of the conference was Engaging Young People in Nation Building - The Youth Workers' Role. The paper discussed two models of street business approaches for street youth to help them abandon street life and settle in communities while conducting their diverse businesses in the streets of their main urban centres supported by adult's business mentors.

One-week Team Lecture on Comparative Education at the East and South African-German Centre of Excellence in Educational Research Methods and Management (CERM-ESA) at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. This Centre is a joint venture of the Moi University Kenya, NMMU of South Africa, Uganda Management Institute, University of Dar es Salaam and the University of Oldenburg Germany. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) – with the support of the Federal Foreign Office – funds this programme. The team teaching was conducted together with my former supervisor, Prof. Dr. Christel Adick (Chair Comparative Education – Emeritus). The Masters and doctoral degrees scholars were from Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and Kenya.

Commonwealth youth work baseline survey to establish baseline to help design activities to professionalise youth work in the Commonwealth countries. The survey was conducted in 5 regions: the Pacific, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe/Canada. I was the Africa regional consultant. In Africa, eight countries were selected for the survey upon which I recruited 8 country-level questionnaire administrators. Boniface Chibwana, an Alumnus of the Master of Arts in Development Management Programme of IEE, was the country-level consultant for Malawi. Other country-level consultants were former KAAD scholars I met in Germany during our social networks and seminars. All of the country-level consultants were recruited, trained, supervised and paid with the help of the electronic media (What's app, Skype, Facebook and electronic money transfer).

Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) Baseline Study on violence against children and youth in Akobo and Nyirol, South Sudan. These two locations in the Upper Nile region are controlled by the opposition SPLA-IO. The study (qualitative design) was undertaken with a view to understanding KAP relating to violence among the two communities in order to establish a baseline to help design projects to protect children and youth. 25 data enumerators and data clerks were recruited, trained and facilitated to undertake interviews and focus group discussions for a total of 243 respondents.

Omolo Juba klein

Alphonce Omolo in Juba, South Sudan (photo: private)

This article was written and sent from Juba, South Sudan, where I am helping develop a Practice Handbook for Family Tracing and Reunification of Unaccompanied and Displaced Children in emergency response for Save the Children International. The handbook is inspired by the successes made in the last 18 months while reunifying unaccompanied and displaced children with their families and next of kin. The handbook will help improve the quality of humanitarian response of the 23 organizations, implementing the inter-agency child protection information management systems. Attention is given to the early reunification of children with their families and lessening of human suffering in the war affected locations of South Sudan. It is being written in a manner that it can be replicated in other war affected countries in Africa.

by Alphonce C. L. Omolo (Ph.D)

Kisumu, Kenya

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