Over the past year, The Education Collaborative’s West African Hub has grown steadily, with the establishment of the strategic and technical committees drawn from nine anchor higher education institutions across Ghana, Nigeria, Togo and Ivory Coast. In this post, the Hub’s Coordinator, Rita Dugbenu, shares her experience working closely with institutional heads and stakeholders in spreading the institution’s impact.

What got you interested in the role of West Africa Hub Coordinator?

Positive change is one thing that mo­tivates me. Thus, I was highly driven by the role as it places me in a posi­tion to work to improve the outcomes of students across West Africa and the continent at large. Given my varied experience in the development space spanning social development, sustainable livelihoods, and commu­nity development, this role suits my aspiration to become a development consultant.

How have you found value in the role and working with university leaders across the subregion?

In my role as the WA Hub Coordi­nator, I have found great value in working with university leaders and stakeholders in the higher education space. Coordinating the WA Hub and working with diverse leaders across the sub-region has put my project management skills to the test over the past year. Working with The Collaborative’s Executive Director and WA Hub Director, Ms. Rose Dodd, and my other colleagues has challenged me to be a more effective team member.

The value of my role is manifesting in the key results being chalked in the hub. There’s evidence of cross-in­stitutional learning and mentorship where institutional leaders harmonize ideas and benefit from each other’s gains/learnings, which is the very essence of The Collaborative and the WA Hub at large. Institutional leaders within the hub have shown commit­ment to our shared goals by showing immense commitment to programs, projects, and activities geared to­wards sustainability.

How do you see this role contrib­uting to your professional career development?

My role as a WA Hub Coordinator contributes immensely to making my global development experience more holistic. It is preparing me to become a more effective leader where strate­gic engagement and thinking, com­munications, negotiations, diplomacy, collaboration, and team building are concerned. These skills, which are critical to the future of international development, are of great relevance to me because of my long-term ambition of being a consultant in that field.

What are you proud of in what you’ve accomplished over the last year?

Working with Ms. Rose Dodd over the past year has culminated in several success stories. Currently, 26 key institutions from 7 countries in the sub-region are actively engaged in The Collaborative’s initiatives, pro­jects, and programs. Out of these, 21 are implementing 20 projects that are geared toward the hub’s sustainability.

These institutions demonstrate own­ership and are key in driving various initiatives. Institutions in the hub are freely sharing and offering mentor­ships to those with identified gaps across the Collaborative’s focal areas. The West Africa Hub boasts of over 60 of its institutional leaders participating in the 2023 June Convening. Two WA institutions are co-organiz­ers of the 2023 June Convening with several WA institutional stakeholders leading sessions.

These successes align with the hub’s strategic goals, and I look forward to what this new year holds as the hub develops its strategic plan, a road map for the hub’s activities and preparations towards our first convening.