Emmanuel Offei Akuffo
Background: After my first degree, I realised that gender issues in my home were different from the stereotypes in typical Ghanaian societies. I swept, cooked, fetched water, and parented my siblings. Our dad was our mom and we felt the urge to celebrate him on Mothers’ Day, rather than on Fathers’ Day. Maybe losing our mother in 2001 made the whole family adapt. It was also my personal ambition to be a philanthropist one day, but I had no real understanding of how support systems worked. These were my motivation to enrol at CSPS right after my National Service at University of Ghana Business School, where I worked as Teaching and Administrative Assistant.
My CSPS experience: My most memorable experience was the immense efforts of all faculty members during our seminars and research experience. Synthesising related articles, formulating research questions, data collection at Ada and Sege, transcribing recorded answers from respondents and learning how to analyse transcribed data, were invaluable additions to our socio-economic lives.
Goals: The special blend of theory and workable contextual solutions to developmental challenges in Africa (especially in Ghana) have helped me greatly appreciate, constructively criticise, debate, and make well-informed decisions during Policy discourse. Today, I am more mindful of gender equity and respect for human dignity in all spheres of my life. Professionally, I am on contract with my current employers because of the good training I received during our field data collection exercise and paid internship experience at a lecturer’s research consultancy, where I worked as a field enumerator.
Networks: I cannot overemphasise the amazingly rich mix of academics and professionals that I met at the CSPS. From the Deputy Director-General of NADMO, to media personnel, teachers, seamstresses, monitoring and evaluation supervisors, parliamentary staff, civil society members, event planners, legal practitioners, and a Unit Head at the Youth Employment Agency. I daresay that my class was one of the most diverse and peer-educative that the Centre has ever had! No wonder research has proven that diversity and synergy impact positively on organisational goals. Learning from different cultures and learning to adapt to dissimilar opinions have helped my human relations skills. A wonderful letter of introduction from my former course-mate opened the door to my current job.
To prospective students: If anyone is looking for an interdisciplinary program that creatively combines Economics, Social Development, Gender Development, Intersectionality, Governance and Globalisation, then CSPS of the University of Ghana is the best place. Also, a great career in social mobilisation, human rights, public policy and gender development, can precede this program. For those who seek real knowledge on the political economy of Africa’s development, why Africa is poor, social protection systems and practical tutelage on social research, CSPS is one of the best places in the sub-region. I hope you make the right choice. Shalom!