Kirk K. Otoo
Background: Having studied Agricultural Economics at the undergraduate level, I took an interest in research. This interest grew when I joined ACDI/VOCA on the USAID-funded ADVANCE project to serve as an assistant monitoring and evaluation officer for my national service. The research-based field work I undertook on this project convinced me of a career path in research. Through four years of working for a financial institution, I never lost my interest in becoming a researcher and thus decided to pursue my dream. That was when a Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow at CSPS (Dr. George Domfe) introduced me to the Master of Research and Public Policy programme that was about to commence. I finally enrolled and I must say I have not regretted undertaking this degree. It opened my eyes to the world of research and policy analysis. Indeed, the CSPS faculty were exceptional in their fields and hence were able to bridge the gap between theory and industry practice.
My CSPS Experience: Two most memorable experiences I had at CSPS were periods we had to do group presentations. The sharing of knowledge and teamwork displayed during those sessions cannot be overemphasized. All my colleagues were from diverse backgrounds and hence learning from each other was key to enhancing everyone’s knowledge base.
Goals: Life since enrolling at CSPS has been an amazing journey. Completing the M.RPP programme gave me the chance to secure a scholarship to study for a second master’s in development policy at KDI School of Public Policy and Management in South Korea. The programme complemented the knowledge acquired from CSPS and hence my knowledge about research and policy with respect to social and development issues gained a good standing. Upon returning to Ghana, I gained employment immediately at SEND Ghana to serve as a Programmes Officer for Strategic Projects where I handled projects related to social protection and agriculture. Through this, I was able to lead my team in undertaking research on diverse issues confronting these sectors. I must say that through the advocacy work I was involved in, I had the opportunity to engage with duty bearers at the highest level to influence policy to change the status quo. I must say It was exciting to work with donor partners such as GIZ, UNICEF, USAID, IBP, OXFAM and other civil society organisations in the policy space. All these professional experiences helped me to secure an international job at RT Automation Company Limited in South Korea.
Networks: I believe that my relationship with the exceptional faculty at CSPS cannot be overlooked. I am mostly in touch with some of the faculty members to share knowledge and receive further counsel on the professional front. My colleagues who are working in diverse fields have also been wonderful. The class WhatsApp page is still active and interactions amongst ourselves have been great after completion. The future keeps getting better with the networks built.
To prospective students: Any student interested in gaining knowledge within the policy space should know that CSPS is the place to be. No one should miss the opportunity of being part of a great faculty and student body that understands research and policy issues confronting Ghana and Africa at large. Indeed, being able to draw lessons from other contexts and juxtaposing these lessons in our terrain is something few lecturers and researchers are able to do but at CSPS, the experienced faculty hands imparting knowledge are second to none. I invite all to join the family and secure a basket of knowledge that will change your professional life and enable you to make an impact in society.