Knowledge Management Capacity in Africa – Reflections
Yashika Lopez - Proposer and Facilitator of Discussion Session at KMCA2012 on "How African Peoples have Influenced, Directed and Contributed to the World Transportation Modes"
These are some of my reflections of my experience visiting Khartoum, Sudan for the second time and participating in the Knowledge Management Capacity in Africa Workshop.
Although I was a participant of the conference and visiting Khartoum for my vacation, my main purpose being there was to provide spiritual, mental and emotional support for my friend Gada. I understood a part of her quest, myself sharing in her vision to convert African Peoples to become self-respecting; I found her accomplishment of the task, to have the workshop, achieved. The goal was accomplished and out of a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is the highest, I give a rating of 8.5 successful.
From my perspective, I found it a great accomplishment in touching the vision. So great and grand that I believe it has evoked a sense of change within me and I may venture to say others. To evoke a competitive spirit, for the bar has been raised and it has provided me with incentive to at least match the bar set and surpass it.
1. There are many lessons that I learned from the Workshop that I would like to apply in planning and organizing the Nakumbuka Celebration for 2013.
- To adopt strategy employed in editing and printing the proceedings for the workshop by issuing a Call for Paper early and to send out a template for submittants to complete.
- Understanding of what an ‘academic workshop’ is; that the schools’ participants would be more formal by presenting posters or projects. I particularly liked the three-tiered layout of the poster session, indigenous, paper and electronic posters. It presented a feel of past, present and future. I would like to incorporate a similar layout within the Nakumbuka Celebration.
- To invite more international participants to broaden the definition of an International African Celebration. I was particularly impressed with the number of participants from various countries, African living on the African Continent, within African Diaspora countries and other countries. I found this presence provided the opportunity for African peoples to continue to speak with each other, learn about each other, share and teach each other.
- To ensure that medical services and facilities are available for participants and delegates.
- Hire Out the People Concept – To ensure that there is a complete itinerary for all international delegates during their time of visit. To utilize their presence, expertise, potential, and possibility to connect and collaborate with others within their respective industry and areas of interest and expertise.
2. These are some of the personal lessons learned.
- I was strangely surprised of the instant and magnetic connection I was making with the Continental African student participants. One student wrote to me saying that she liked my way of dealing with them…and she felt inspired by me. It brought back and reminded me of my leadership abilities and that I need to accept that role and responsibility that I am graced with and to lead. It is now leading me into learning about mentoring and coaching.
- Following up this, I feel personally challenged with respect to ensuring that I meet that goal within myself. That the tasks generated from the Workshop and visit are committed to and worked on. It is leading me to improve on my Strategic and Realistic Thinking. I understand more aspects of the various management skills that we are all learning, practicing and mastering.
- I also found myself thinking and speaking more philosophical while I was in Sudan. I found that change surprising. I was unaware that my life experiences led me into that phase of self-explanation and exploration.
- I also felt grateful to connect with another kindred spirit, a traveler. I feel comforted that I understand who my flock is.
3. These are some of the lessons learned for my friend, Gada.
- For the KMCA Organizing Committee, I found the Management Skills employed during the process good. For the number of dedicated workers committed to making the Workshop a success, the opportunity to appropriately delegate must have felt frustrating. However, the bright side of this challenge is the perception has been shifted and for the next workshop there shall be more persons to work. Where the opportunity to set up executive and sub committees to manage tasks such as fundraising, administration, international relations, publicity, promotion, website, to name a few.
- I was particularly impressed with Gada’s networking skills and abilities. That was amazing to watch and witness. I too shall aim to learn and practice networking.
- Overall Gada, my dear friend, I believe the entire experience ignited another self-growth shift within you. I would be delighted to hear your personal reflections in months to come. In the meantime, I say be still, breathe in and breathe out. Smile!