The ALU Global Challenges Degree Program, which is the first-ever of its kind in the continent, has seen numerous exciting and impactful projects emerge from students who are taking this course. The “declare missions and not majors” nature of the program has allowed students to tackle global challenges and explore global opportunities through creative ways. One of these ways is through ALU Global Focus.
To shed more light on the platform, we met up with Chiedza Skyum, Global Challenges faculty, who defined the purpose of the platform and gave us some insight into its history and focus.
What is ALU Global Focus?
“ALU Global Focus is a student blog with Insights on Africa’s Greatest Challenges and opportunities from the African Leadership University students.
On this blog, ALU students can choose to write about one or more of the 14 Global Challenges and Opportunities (Agriculture, Arts, Culture & Design, Climate Change, Education, Governance, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Job Creation, Natural Resources Management, Regional Integration, Tourism, Urbanisation, Wildlife Conservation, Women’s Empowerment)”
One of the areas frequently explored is Women Empowerment, with articles like “How Twitter became a Resistance Enclave for Kenyan Women” by Garnett Achieng, where she writes about how Kenyan women, and more specifically Kenyan feminists, have been able to use Twitter for documenting the stories that traditional media platforms have failed to cover, and how this social media platform has played a huge role in holding media organizations, the government, and other stakeholders accountable.
What was the idea behind starting the ALU Global Focus?
“Launched in November 2019, the site, which started off as an assignment for students during year 2 of their undergraduate studies, has now morphed into a platform for all ALU students that promotes autonomous learning as students take the reins and express themselves through research, writing, and engagement with each others’ interests.
The goal was to loosen the students up to not have to do another academic paper or essay, but to write and acquire the skill for blogging – considering keywords, SEO, click-worthy titles, engagement, calls-to-action, design…etc. All skills that most graduates should have and may use in their professional lives on the day.”
Why is the platform important for the Global Challenges Faculty?
“The audience/readership is of their own generation. Through blogging, they build creativity and learn to argue and critique in a safe online environment. With over 200 blog articles submitted since its launch, ALUGlobalFocus.com’s original content promotes discussion among students about African issues as authors establish rapport with their readers by responding to their follower’s feedback and comments. Both writers and readers work together to solve problems and come up with solutions. Student Bloggers are also pushed to grow their design skills as they must express their perspective and personality visually through custom click-worthy titles, layouts, designs, etc.”
How do you envision the platform’s future?
“For students to take more control over the content and for it to be open to all faculties more deliberately. Engagement is good and high, but could be higher.”
The ALU Global Focus gives in-depth insights on some of Africa’s greatest challenges and opportunities from the perspective of our students. If any of the above mentioned areas are in some way a part of your life or interest, then don’t hesitate to dig in and explore a plethora of perspectives that are relevant to our current times.