The 4 success factors of the Norway – Uganda NORHED project

In 2013, partner institutions:  Uganda Christian University (UCU); NLA Gimlekollen University College in Norway and University of KwazuluNatal in South Africa recieved about 11 Million Norwegian Kroners from the NORHED/NORAD Program to undertake a 5-year capacity building project for UCU.

FACULTY LAUNCH: Some of the consortium members during the launch. From Left: Ottar, Terje, Liv Iren, Sara, Angella, Monica, Carol, Ruth, Lars, Bjørn, Chris, Solveig and Emilly. 
Norwegian Ambassador to Uganda Ms. Susan Eckey addressing the gathering at the Faculty launch.

As the 5th year winds, the project’s core objective attained include:

5 Phds and a running Masters course with several grads. We have had over 20 publications and more are in the pipeline. In addition, 8 exchange Masters students have been to Norway. A multimedia lab has also been established at UCU in addition to over 550 books installed in the library. We had three 3 (research/dissemination and network-building) conferences in the two main countries of the project in Norway and Uganda and much more. To culminate the project, the department of Journalism and Media studies has been elevated to a Faculty (of Journalism, Media and Communication) the first of its kind in the country. All these have been achieved several months before project end phase which is such a rewarding achievement.

4 success factors

As part of the academic staff, looking back, there has been some unique qualities (success factors) from the project that set it apart – that aligned to individually and collectively contributed to the success of this project that i take with me:

Role of Coordinators: The three coordinators from UCU, NLA and UKZN have known each other for over 20 years. A friendship they have nurtured over the years and that frendship, trust and mutual respect had direct consequences in the conception, implementation and conclusion of the project.

The teams: Secondly, the people hand-picked for the implementation were consciously and strategically selected for both their compentences in the form of what they could bring professionally omboard but also the strong supportive personalities of committment, hard work, professionality and humility. The convergence of these unique talents in one project were a cornerstone for the success of the project. 

Dedicated Students: To balance the equation, a crop of dedicated and hardworking students were recruited for the Masters and PhD courses. As a result, not only was the teaching enjoyable and engaging but also the output has been very impressive as a consequence. The Masters course in Journalism and Media studies was carefully crafted to capture contextual academic and industry demands while encapsulating the ever-changing global media trends and developments. We hope it can remain current through continued curriculum reviews.

Equal and inclusive partnership: Perhaps the most vital and often missing link in many North-South partnered projects is the power imbalances. This project, right from the begining, was based on equal partnership, transparency and mutual respect. This was manifested in the whole project circle from idea conception, implementation and transition – all of which were done in a timely and well-thought through manner. This, combined with the support from the ‘highest’ echelons of the respective Universities bred the fertile ground for the kind of success that the project has experienced. So the project thrived in this condusive environment and well-anchored support structures.

As Terje (front row dark blue shirt) said; capturing this moment at the Equator was a symbolic representation of our mutuallly respectful North-South partnership.

Thank you: The culmination of the project with the launch of the new Faculty  (November 23) proceeded with a safari to the Queen Elisabeth National park in the beautiful Pearl of Africa couldn’t have been a better closure to the project. It has been a personally, intellectually and spiritually rewarding experience for me and I am for ever grateful for the honour and priviledge of being part of it. Thanks to the 3-pillars – who brilliantly pulled it off – coordinators: Dr. Terje Skjerdal, Dr. Monica Chibita and Professor RuthTeer Tomaseli and to the entire family of colleagues, students, family, friends and well wishers in Uganda, South Africa, Norway and the United States.

Special thanks to NORAD and the NORHED PROGRAM for this direct, long term and durable gift towards education for my country. We really needed it. We now need to consolidate these wonderful gains. ‘Oliver Twist’ 😉😉😉

Related coverage (Norsk): NLA.no

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NEW BOOK: Media and Power in International Contexts – Perspectives on agency and Identity

Carol and Hilde (1)Chapter 7 of the New Book is titled: Manifestations and Contestations of Hegemony in Video Gaming by Immigrant Youth in Norway

By Carol A. Dralega and Corneliussen G. Hilde

The chapter reports from a qualitative study on how identity categories, including gender and ethnicity, are experienced and constructed through video gaming among immigrant youth in Norway. The aim here is to explore the manifestations and contestations of gendered power and hegemonic practices among the young immigrant girls and boys. This chapter builds on research about everyday media use especially video games, and our analysis is based on theories of hegemony, power, gender, and ethnicity. Three key findings are observed from the study: (a) video games acting as a bridge between ethnic minority boys (not so much with the girls) and ethnic Norwegians, (b) hegemonic gendered practices, emphasizing the “otherness,” in particular for girls adhering to the category of gamer, and finally, to a lesser degree, (c) marginalization within video games on the basis of being a non-Western youth in a Western context. As such the study simultaneously not only confirms but also challenges dominant discourses on video games by suggesting that, although some positive strides have been made, the claims of a post-gender neutral online world, or celebrations of an inclusive and democratic online media culture, especially video gaming, are still prematur

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Why the illiterates of the 21 Century are not those that cannot read and write

IN FOCUS: JOURNALISM IN THE DIGITAL ERA – CHANGES AND IMPLICATIONS

Toffler once stated: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Alvin Toffler, Futurist.

…And today’s global journalism masters course, we are delving into issues, trends and impact of ICTs on journalism practice. The students are media scholars with previous media experience and hail from all corners of the global. This offers diverse and interesting insights into different cultural interpretations/experiements, media systems and trajectories of change.

We have gained insights into the inner-workings of media convergence; exploring concepts and implication of such practices as ‘News cannibalization’, the dual experiences of information overload juxtaposed with knowledge gaps; multi-skilling a detriment to journalists who must now assume the various now ‘defunct’ roles (typesetter, copy editor), they must be the writer, the photographer, the Research librarian, the publisher across different platforms. The quantitative, qualitative and ethical ramifications are a natural detriment to the profesional.

Most interesting however are discussions on the political economy of the current media ecology – driven by the (near) demise of established business models as we knew them and the emergence of new models of media sustainability. The newspaper is dying, no doubt, but not without a fight in some economies. In such cases, a combination of hegemonic political and socio-economic values and creative technological experimentation has maintained the newspaper as the Financial ‘cash cow’ especially in media houses experimenting with ‘hybrid convergence’.

Fact sheet: 3 reasons the internet is a threat to newspapers:

  • Breaking news function and 24/7 breaking news culture
  • Declining readership dues to technology-based leisure activities
  • Decline in advertizing (New media users – especially Young People) just hate paying for things 🙂

The age and generational media habits has been well researched Obijiofor & Hanusch 2011; Flanagin& Metzger 2001; Coleman &McCombs 2007 ). A common denominator between youth and a good journalist in today’s media ecology is skill and tech-savvyness. Both predisposed to learn, unlearn and relearn on a continuous basis, the later by the demands of the job and the former because well, they are digital natives – it is their universe.

Internet picture: Children are starting to use Technologies early.

Internet Picture: Research shows youth prefer online News as opposed to traditional newspapers.

 

 

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And the winner of the ‘Best-Author Prize’ goes to…!

 

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Chapter 11 by Hilde and I  has been selected winner at the Fjordkonferansen2018 in Ålesund today. The editors unanimously selected ours out of the twenty chapters of the Fjordantology 2018 for its relevance and excellence.

This recognition underscores the importance of research on the role of technologies in helping us understand and solve today’s pertinent societal challenges – in this case immigration and integration.

This prize is dedicated to all individuals, groups and institutions who in their different capacities contribute to promoting: fellowship, humanity, friendship, diversity, understanding, coexistance, giving-voice to the voiceless and spreading joy in their communities. Good job. Keep it up!

Special thanks to Medietilsynet and Lotteritilsynet whose financial support made this Project possible!

The Prize in the News: Vestlandsforsking; HiM, Forskning.no, Medietilsynet, Sogn Avis, NRK. Key findings have also been reported here: Forskning.no.

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What has gender got to do with it: negotiating agency and resistance from within

 

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These amazing tiny sculptures are scattered arround the FOSSBYGGET at the Western Norway University of Applied Social Sciences located in Sogndal. If you are not attentive, you will miss them 🙂 I thought they capture well the essence of this blog!

As results are beginning to trickle in from ongoing research on women’s tec-driven career trajectories in peripheral regions, so are interesting insights into the driving forces and impediments that women face on their professional life journeys.
A thread from the data has to do with agency and self-inflicted resistance, which I find quite interesting. Agency in the sense that: yes, although other factors (especially socio-cultural factors) may influence one’s decision-making, to a large extent, one indeed has some autonomy to make life-changing decisions for oneself. Continue reading

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Team-building – the often forgotten key to unlocking optimal productivity

moomiIT has been a year since we started our 5-year Nordforsk funded project – The Nordic Center of Excellence – Beyond the Gender Paradox in Nordic countries. We have had multiple virtual meetings along the way but just a couple of F2F workshops. Since our F2F workshops occur atleast twice a year in rotation between the three primary partner countries (Norway, Finland and Sweden), they are usually highly anticipated, engaging and empowering. We get to meet each other, discuss very interesting research progress, eat good food, strategize for wayforward – all in a limited space of time.

This year, something extra happened. To spice up the year’s first F2F workshop, the hosts from University of Tampere organised the most secretive, highly anticipated team-building activity. In preparation for the trip, we were told to ‘bring comfortable walking shoes and a jacket that tolerates a light breeze or rain’ 🙂 Anticipation was rife among members and our repeated inquiries for details were met with adamant and ever-so-gentle rebuffs.

So, on D-day, day 2, after taking care of the day’s business – the 2-hour team building activities begun. We were split in 3 groups, each consisting of members from the different countries, the hosts were our guides. These are highlights from the activities: Continue reading

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The symbolism and functionality of networks for/on women in academia and research, in peripherial regions!

pippi

Be a rebel. Be a role model.

It was a short, cozy and massively inspirational HVL organized, women’s network meeting today.

The Challenge: the leaking pipeline (i.e. fewer women are to be found especially in the higher echelons of academia and research). (The reasons for this are as multiple as they are complex – for another blog post).

The Goal: to mobilize, inform, inspire and challenge female academics and researchers in the region through shared experiences. So, today, 4 fantastically accomplished academics in the region spoke to a room full of us. The message was simple, functional but also symbolic. Here is a summary of what i got from it. Continue reading

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