Biography 3

Kofi Akodwaa Boadi

Kofi Akodwaa BoadiKofi is our third interviewee and works at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana.

Q “Hello Kofi, can you start by telling me what you do?”

“I work as the manager of SNOWS.  The consortium has its secretariat in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana and I am involved there in the day to day management of the consortium.”

Q “What did you do before you began working at KNUST?”

I was a student taking an MSc in Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation also at KNUST.  Right after my research I was given the opportunity to work with SNOWS for which I am blessed.”

Q “How do you apply your role as SNOWS Manager within the university?”

When I started with SNOWS I made sure that I had information on all of the departments who worked with the programme plus those that had been invited to SNOWS activities during the past year.  I contacted Professor Addy in the Department of Health to find out how well she was doing with SNOWS and how the consortium can further engage with her department in terms of training and activities.  Professor Addy also tutored me at the Master’s level.

After that I made contact with lecturers in my department to understand SNOWS and try to bring them on board .  I paid visits to the lecturers who taught me as well so it was easier to reach out to them and tell them what our plans were.  That set an environment that I could go to them.  When we need to give them information it was easier for me to go to the people I knew to be able to share.

Using this network in KNUST worked very well when we were selecting the students for the science conference.  The lecturers gave a lot of time to screen the candidates and to interview them after their presentations.  The staff even went further and then helped the students with their study designs and fine tuning their work.  The students came from different departments (Agricultural, Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering) so apart from finding the best students, they wanted to give them their expertise to improve their work, so even the students who were not selected were happy because they got new ideas as to how to carry out that work.”

Q “What difference is the SNOWS work experience making for you personally?”

“SNOWS has given me the opportunity to be able to reason with people in the academic field to such an extent that they feel proud that someone they raised has been able to grow and take on this role.  Even before we arrived back in Ghana from the science conference, everyone had heard that I had won an award and they were all excited.  Everyone congratulated me, including the administrators, which was very nice.  The news spread so fast; it was very exciting.  When the news reached the Head of Department he wrote a letter to us to praise us and wished other projects will also bring similar laurels to the department and the University.  During the last graduation ceremony in July, the news was also in the Vice Chancellor’s speech and some colleagues of mine who were also graduating were so impressed.

I was very happy because one SNOWS activity had been used to challenge graduating students. The Vice Chancellor said that the young scientists should be challenged to try and work harder to achieve like Kofi and Bennetta.  I owe it all to SNOWS.”

Q “Congratulations that is a fantastic achievement.  Can you tell me what difference the SNOWS training has made to others in the university?”

“I would say that after the research management training received by my year group,  we were one of the best batches of students as we all got so much experience from that training and our research came out well.  We all graduated in time and our lecturers were happy that we were able to make the mark.  I didn’t really know about the relationship between SNOWS and the lecturers at that time so that was what I experienced as a student. 

Nana, who was the previous SNOWS project manager, was helped by his activities in the consortium and the exposure inspired him to push harder and do a PhD.  If you take a good look at our department our lecturers are doing well.  They have a research retreat at the end of each year and they vote for the best research.  Last year my supervisor won the vote and I believe the snows activities in part helped to shape them.”

Q “What other things happen because of SNOWS presence in the university?”

“In my department people are beginning to understand what SNOWS stands for and to buy into the programme more.  Especially since the internal call for research proposals, things are happening with SNOWS.  People are coming to me asking about the other partners in SNOWS so that they can respond to them.  They expect other partners to want to work with them now.  They have also often asked for feedback from their taking part in the activities such as the call.  Some of the staff now know Prof Julius Ndambuki, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa though they have not met him before, and others in SNOWS as they have worked together on this SNOWS activity.”

Q “There is a lot going on for you right now.  What other interests and aims do you have?”

“My research interests are in water quality and waste management but I would also love to go into environmental policy.  I intend to do a PhD to gain more experience in research and then probably integrate into KNUST as a full time researcher. 

I am involved in Church activities and I visit my parents and siblings in Accra. I always like to have that quiet moment for myself and to sit and think deeply about what I want to do and how best I can do something.

Q “Do you have any other comments you would like to make?” 

“SNOWS has given me the platform to grow and I know that as I stay longer in the consortium I will develop to such a great extent that SNOWS will always be proud to have given me the opportunity and people should watch out at what snows has yet to produce.”

Q “Thank you very much Kofi and good luck with all your future plans.”

Kofi Akodwaa Boadi with cub

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