RSM Fellowships Program

February 4, 2009
The Robert S. McNamara Fellowships Program provides support to young researchers working in academic and research institutions from eligible countries preparing a doctoral thesis. Research grants cover residence costs for a 5 to 10 month period in a renowned university or research center. Fellows are expected to advance their research work mainly by using the facilities and resources provided by the host institution and by interacting with peers.

Who Can Apply?

Only lecturers and researchers from eligible countries working on their doctoral thesis can apply for the fellowship. Candidates should be under 45 years, and have completed any course work or exams required for their doctoral program.

What Does the Program Support?

The purpose of the grant is to help fellows advance their doctoral research work through a residency period of five to ten months in a host institution in a country other than their home country or country of residence. During the research period at the host institution, the fellows are expected to have access to essential resources such as reference books and research publications, databases, and software; attend seminars and eventually courses; and to benefit by interacting with peers.

Host Institution

Candidates should be accepted or invited by a host institution which would designate an academic advisor to assist the fellow during his research period. Host institutions should also commit to provide the fellow with basic amenities such as office space and access to a computer, and to facilitate his/her research activities.

Fields of Research

Candidate’s field of research should be related to development at the master’s level, in fields such as economics, health, education, agriculture, environment, natural resource management, or other development‑related subject.

Fellowships Award

Eligible candidates are evaluated by external reviewers based on three criteria: academic performance, teaching and research experience, and relevance of the proposed research program. The top candidates are submitted to the Selection Committee, which includes World Bank senior experts and Donors representatives, for final selection. In addition to the merit criteria, the Selection Committee takes into account other factors such as availability of budget, geographical diversity and gender balance.

Grants

Candidates are requested to submit a budget for their fellowship covering the costs related to their research program: travel; insurance and living expenses; fees for courses and participation to seminars; and a books and software allowance. The grant amount to be awarded to each fellow will be decided by the Selection Committee. The maximum amount of the grant is US$ 25,000.

Fellow’s Commitment

Fellows are required to issue two reports, a mid-term report during the fellowship period and a final report containing the results of the research. The results of the McNamara fellows research work may be considered for publication by the World Bank. Fellows are expected to return to their home countries and resume their academic or research position upon completion of the fellowship. They are also expected to mention the McNamara fellowship award in any publication related to their doctoral research work, including their thesis, and to provide the Program with a copy of their thesis upon graduation.

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My InterFace Expeventure

January 3, 2009

I’m not sure if I saw it coming, but I can tell you it hit so hard I was wondering if I was going to get out of it with anything less than a “a broken jaw”.  Now this is not like a confession but I am not very good at showing emotions and I easily overlook danger even if it hit just two steps away. To me – and one of my egbons rightly agree, “whatever will go wrong will go wrong” and I add to that by saying that once it has happened, there is no need to look back just clean up and move on. Might not sound so easy for some of you but moving on is about the easiest thing for me – guess that’s why I never lose weight, even in the midst of plenty issues J

She came on like someone who was just hurt by a couple of people that I share the same heritage with, not like a complain:: rather she felt I was a solution in the making (which I have always been). She also spoke nicely and when I sit back and look at the whole scenario it looks to me like my role in the movie was that of Tiger Wood’s favourite pet, kicked all through distance and angle but always hoping it falls into the right hole. I’m not sure what kind of hole I fell into though, but I can tell you it stinks – even with the entire superman attitude. Then comes the invisible romance – now a brother is careful with soft words, she keeps referring to me as special, mean the world to me and all sorts of interesting things but that careless spirit ignores all those believing that I was helping a broken spirit recover. Now suddenly things take the next step, she wants to meet me, it was either I move my things to CA and make love to her every Tuesday and Thursday or we make two sets of visit within the year, but I innocently not wanting to be rude explain that I have made a vow to see my baby (www.ajegunle.org) through before considering any major move besides not for flimsy reasons like living with someone I haven’t even met before.

The big one, she wants phone sex,… First I am angry that someone woke me at 4am when I just got offline at 3:20am and was catching the first set of sleep. Reaction: Switch on the light, look for the phone turn off button and switch it off. From then I knew I had to stop this fire before it gets to the barn. But I didn’t, please don’t ask me why. She then starts the most absurd thing that my head wants to take, questions, control; who is this, who was that, why this note, then I suddenly wake up from a mid afternoon dream and tap myself in the most scaring manner – what am I doing? I haven’t even said I am in, and I have to explain how many minutes I spend in then gents and how long it takes me to finish a bowl of Eba (na plate I dey use O!). I start the retreat formation, issue order to my body headquarters and then our troops start to withdraw, as soon as we cross the bridge, the worst hit is here, she writes the first ever rotten shit on my FB wall, not just claiming that I have scammed her but that I also run a fake campaign against cybercrime. Have you heard of the phrase, “emotionally scammed” well I learnt it for the first time though I’m yet to confirm its real meaning.

You really don’t know how much you have to protect until there is fire in the next room and closing in. This lady claims to Love Nigeria so much and will do anything to save Nigeria (Naija don suffer, even seeming mad people wan save us), she also claims “god” told her that a Nigerian man is holding her heart (haba! No be me O!) I have decided not to mention her name in this note since as much as I can remember the name is almost not real and has a lot of well meaning people all over the world with the same name. She has no significant presence online, so your guess is as good as mine – SCAM!! or maybe a modified state of mental imbalance. How do you explain that four different individuals use the same email id, where has privacy gone to? And different versions of physical attack stories directed to Nigerians who according to this same person have not left the shore of Nigeria. Her acclaimed daughter claimed she feel into a ditch thinking about her lover who has deserted her but according to her version, she was threatened by some men who made her choose between falling off the cliff and being shot and she chose falling off. In the midst of the integrity challenge heat though, some of my friends in the Industry; many thanks to Ohimai, Oga Victor, Pita,  for their quick advice and intervention. But then I am so happy I have a brother for a boss, who believes in me, and we had some heart to heart talk, very tense though but life is back to normal. Necessary steps have been taken to ignore but monitor this mysterious love and sex seeking lady while precautions are in place to check future fire mouth-breaks (Ohimai in-charge 🙂

Brosses and Sisses, next time you get some sweet talk from someone you are not sure about beware, cos you might soon be hunted with a new definition or type of scam.

Watch out for the T.R. Revelation!

Geo Challenge Grants

November 12, 2008

Google.org recently announced a new challenge that will help organizations improve their visibility and planning through mapping processes. According to the challenge website…

At Google.org, we believe maps are a powerful tool for non-profits of all kinds to communicate issues, understand needs, and create more effective implementation plans. Many of you have come to us with compelling ways that maps can help you and your organization increase impact, and we want to help you make your mapping ideas a reality. We’re offering a pilot program of Geo Challenge Grants to organizations working in areas related to our core initiatives.

Through this program, we’ll be offering grants valued between US$5,000 and US$100,000, either directly from Google.org, or through grant recommendations from the Google.org Fund of Tides Foundation. These grants will be issued through an open application process – legally qualified, public charitable organizations with a compelling idea about how maps can help them work more effectively are eligible. Smaller mapping applications requiring only static data might receive US$5,000 in funding, while development of tools that enable many organizations to create maps might receive US$100,000. We’re partnering with Google Earth Outreach on this program to help evaluate proposals from a technical standpoint and to help us ensure the grants are successful.

Please see challenge details at http://www.google.org/geochallenge.html

Local Strangers

October 10, 2008

Tomorrow, Lagos will go to the polls once again. This time not a national poll but the election into the local councils which officially has conflicting numbers along party lines – Action Congress (AC) is counting 50 while the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) wants to count 20. Meanwhile the political posters have once again placed church activity posters and there is a tremendous increase in the number of female contestants, women liberation I guess – but that will be a topic for another day. As usual the battle line is drawn between the ruling PDP and AC; campaigns have been intense; from council secretariats, to community leaders, and of course house to house call in carnival-like entourages. Need I also mention that a lot of young politicians are interested, in my adopted local council (Ajeromi Ifelodun) a poster reads: “The Banker is our Sure Banker” with a rider, “He is Young and has Vision” but one thing is sure, a politician will always be one.

Enough of the politics, to the real reasons I am writing this; I have been wondering if the local governments are truly serving their purpose? Are they just an extension of the state secretariat? A lot of people will agree withy me on the second thought, for instance; I was discussing with two broses (if you no know the meaning ask me) a few moments ago and when the issue of this elections was brought up one of simply asked, “who is even contesting?” now that’s a possible view of over 50% of the people living in this city with a population of over 15 million residents. The question is, who are the voters? I recently attended a lecture on Cooperate Social Responsibility (CSR) where the convener pointed out that one of their major challenges is the fact that government have refused to take ownership of project established in their localities for their people, I also have a situation where I am having to do the extra mile just to make sure I am working with the council leadership on our project.

A few questions; Does it mean they are suspecting everyone coming to them? Is it sheer insensitivity to the needs of the people? Is it greed? Can it be incompetence? Or is it a case of feeling important in office? Whatever the case maybe, we should start to realize that the local councils are the only real way we can directly affect the so called less privileged and kick start meaningful development. The fact that tenure of elected council members are always truncated and takes a long time for the next elected group to come has also worsened the situation – the Administrator sent by the state secretariat in most cases do not live in the area and is just coming to make sure that available staff are managed properly as well as deliver the message of his/her boss. Even the elected ones are not too different but as the saying goes, “if palm wine sees who it knows, it bends to his side”. The situation might seem helpless but we also need to start asking for our own in the craziest appropriate manner. When will you start?

NYSC Infotech Corps Zonal Workshops kicks Off With Agege Zone

July 2, 2008

The National Youth Service Corps Infotech Community Development Group’s Zonal ICT awareness workshops commenced amidst the industrial action by teachers in secondary and elementary schools in Nigeria. It was a well planned and timed series of workshops through selected under served communities in Lagos considering the four major Zones of the NYSC in Lagos (Somolu, Epe, Agege and Ikeja). Agege was our first port of call and we have planned to hold similar workshops in Ajeromi Ifelodun and Mushin in bi-weekly order. I would like to specially express my gratitude to the NYSC State Coordinator Mr. Anthony C. Ani, for approving these workshops and the NYSC Agege Zonal Inspector – Mrs. N. Ufochukwu for accepting to host us.

Infotech Corps Community Development group started in 2001after a group of young Nigerians passionate about the use of ICTs, while serving their mandatory one year national service decided to equip other young people who otherwise may not have the opportunity to encounter the incredible world of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). Since inception, Infotech Corps whose main focus is creating Information and Communications Technology (ICT) awareness among under served communities with a special focus on secondary schools in Lagos State, have carried out various ICT awareness programs in form of trainings and seminars and recently research. As part of our efforts to expand our schools training project – which is ongoing in Eight (8)schools with Infotech clubs created in Four (4) of the schools, have planned a series of workshops around Lagos State The workshops will bring over one hundred (100) secondary school students and their ICT teachers from over ten (10) schools in each of these zones. Participants will be brought up to date with happenings in the ICT world as well as gain expert advice on choosing a career in ICT.

The event at Agege was a successful one in terms of content, implementation, and feedback from the participants. In spite of the strike embarked upon my school teachers, the workshop was graced by secondary school students accompanied by their teachers as well as the NYSC officials in Agege Zone led by the Zonal Inspector – Mrs. N. Ufochukwu.  Mr Afe – the Infotech Corps supervisor, gave a welcome remark to kick start the day, while the Infotech PRO (Obinna Ajuruchi) presented a short profile of Infotech Corps. During the career talk session, Ugochukwu Nwosu – President NYSC Infotech Corps made a presentation on the road map to a career in IT. A highlight of which was a speed geek interactive session between the Infotech Corps members and the secondary school students. This was really an eye opener as we get to know what these young ones really think about Computers and IT in general as well as what they feel they should do towards a rewarding career.

We will implement the other two locations alongside the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) – http://www.nig.org.ng and Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) – http://www.pin.org.ng

Ajegunle.org Alumni Train Over 100 Peers As Another 25 Graduate And More Firms Support Initiative

April 9, 2008

Lagos, March 30, 2008 – On Thursday, March 27, 2008, a new set of twenty-five young people graduated from the Ajegunle.org project, a train-the-trainer capacity building initiative by Paradigm Initiative Nigeria that uses a positive peer pressure concept to transform Ajegunle. Building on the success of the first set of graduates, who have successful trained one hundred and six (106) peers in basic ICT knowledge, the training modules (as well as training process) were modified to accommodate an additional week of ICT training as well as more support towards the development of a realistic business plan. Three of the project’s graduates have successfully interned with the United Kingdom Trade and Investment Unit (UKTI) of the British Deputy High Commission, Lagos, where they were exposed to work ethics, international trade, networking opportunities as well as an opportunity to apply the skills they acquired during the Ajegunle.org capacity building program. Two of them have jointly started a Forex Academy in Ajegunle, after receiving a free Forex training at Hands on Institute of Information Technology (HiiT) Lagos.

In line with our desire to increase the number of available internship positions, a breakfast meeting was hosted for the project by the UKTI on February 14, 2008, where eight (8) firms signed up to provide internship opportunities for Ajegunle.org graduates. The meeting had in attendance, His Excellency, Bob Dewar, British High Commissioner to Nigeria; Peter Stephenson, Director of Trade and Investment, British Deputy High Commission, Lagos and convener of the meeting; Piyush Nair, MD Lornamead Africa; Richard Myerscough, MD Virgin Atlantic Airways; Micheal McTighe, MD, Arik Air; Ike Chioke, DMD, Afrinvest WA; Lebari Ukpong, Director, London Metropolitan University Nigeria Office; Richard Seaver, MD, DHL International Nigeria; Christopher Knight, MD, Standard Chattered Bank Nigeria Limited; ‘Gbenga Sesan, ED, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria and Ugochukwu Nwosu, Program Manager, Ajegunle.org. Following the breakfast meeting, one intern has resumed at UKTI, four (4) interns will resume at Afrinvest WA this month, two (2) others will resume internship at Lornamead Africa, two (2) will resume at Virgin Atlantic and four (4) will also resume at DHL Nigeria. The UK High Commissioner was very impressed with the project and he posted a blog on the day he met with the PIN team. A new intern also resumed at the UKTI on Friday, March 14, 2008.

Ajegunle.org has received tremendous media coverage and has been presented in various for a across the world (Uganda, Ethiopia, Egypt, United Kingdom and Switzerland) as a case study on how ICTs can be used to aid development in underserved communities. The project has also been accepted as one of the projects that will compete in the British Council/Youngstar Foundation Top 12 Youth Works competition. Ajegunle.org is currently accepting applications for a new set of twenty-five trainees, whose training will commence on May 12, 2008. Paradigm Initiative Nigeria is a social enterprise seeking to help deliver ICT for socio-economic opportunities in Nigeria. PIN staff recently consulted for Harvard University, International Telecommunications Union, Computer Aid International and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, among others. PIN’s other bottom-up result-oriented programs, delivered in partnership with various institutions and communities, include the Non-Profit Employee Management Program (NEMP), Creating Local Connections West Africa (CLCWA, a TakingITGlobal collaboration), NIGHT Force (an anti-cybercrime initiative) and CaneVillage.com (a planned social enterprise for artisans).

Contact:
Ugo Nwosu
Program Manager, Ajegunle.org
ugo.nwosu[at]ajegunle.org
http://www.ajegunle.org
http://www.pin.org.ng
+234 803 74 74 312

Passion an Statistics

February 1, 2008

At AJegunle

I had started writing this piece about five (5) times but I just haven’t been able go on, maybe because at the middle I always tell myself its of no  use but events in the last few days have actually prompted me to always visit this uncompleted document – please don’t ask me where I started J In the last few days I have been able to mix the grill in the manner of the legendary great of duke of York (though I can’t say if he is real or myth) who marched his men to the top of the hill and marched them down again, and when they were up they were up… for those of us that finished kindergarten we know the rest. But in this case the march is taking place in the brain of a lot of young people probably in or fresh out of college with so much passion and supposed will to conquer. Now I am not talking about the usual guy/lady who leaves college without a plan or career focus, I am talking about a person, maybe not clearly but who has a vivid imagination of what he wants to do.

As I review the CVs of some Ajegunle.org graduates who have been offered an opportunity to intern in one of (from own judgment) the best equipped and standard investment outfits in West Africa. Yes, these young people are equipped with basic management skills and are eager to learn but I can’t help wondering if they will feel the way I feel each time I walk into this kind of posh and organised environment, make a few serious decisions but have to get back to face the real issues – the statistics. Your passion will always fire you up and you will keep going because of your resolve but then how about those close and friendly strangers, who of course have understood your dream because of your adept communication skills but fail to understand your real statistics as an individual. They judge you by your; looking good policy – even though you have only two (presentable shirts), the number of international travels you made– even though you plan each trip on debit, they judge you by the calibre of people you meet everyday – even though all you are sure of is goodwill. They will always tell you they understand and support  your dreams but right at the bottom of their minds, they don’t understand jack – They are just hanging in there running out of patience and hoping you will live up to what you said you will do.

Now the big question is, how long are they supposed to wait? Help you with transport fare? Feed you? Pay the rent? Etc. In some cases they simply face you and tell it to your face, while some will keep hanging in just to make sure you do not give any excuse. If your case is in the first bracket, then I consider you lucky because in no time you will “need air so much and push the old man away” but if you fall into the second phase then you might need extra strength to break off. There is also another very interesting group – your professional associates. They quite well understand your situations and they seem to know where you are headed to, but their own statistics also do not permit them to do so much to help you, yet you are supposed to deliver based on the assumption that you have a backbone. It is the scare of being caught in this trap that has led most young people to taking up low pay jobs or businesses that will give daily bread instead of creating sustainable solutions.

One can therefore say that, in order to live our passions and stay true to the career of our choice as well as live in our desired world without feeling like a burden at any point in our lives, we should plan and strive towards a basic sustainable income generator as soon as one can reason. This should be cultivated into young people as soon as they leave elementary school. The plan is not to make money, but to generate sustainability even when you suddenly have to switch lanes. It is my clear belief that if this is in place, then a lot of businesses will not suddenly fail, there will be little or no gestation periods for new businesses and young people will move from survival to sustainability. Unfortunately some people are already caught in the web and I think a way out is to create a survival mechanism that will not derail you from the main picture. Hoping I have told the story of so many people and that we will be looking at more businesses with steady growth as well as comfortable career chasers.

Oh! Nigeria Oh! Our Football

January 26, 2008

 Mali

Football, in the view of the common man on the street, is unarguably the only real issue of national interest, since our leaders have decided that governance and planning is their sole right. Football has also proved to be a unifying factor among the many tribes in Nigeria. It is only in our national teams that we do not have quota system (I hear someone saying are you sure?), but it is evident. As part of the huge human resources bestowed on us, Nigeria is blessed with abundant talents that can only be compared with the number in Brazil. These players are also playing in various big leagues all over the world delivering results. But when ever they come to play for home country there is always one issue or the other; in most cases match bonus and air ticket refunds. We have also changed coaches as soon as the NFA officials feel its due without consulting Nigerians.

I was really sad the whole of yesterday evening after we could not secure the much needed win over the Eagles of Mali who incidentally packed up their defence to hold back a combination of Obinna Nsofor, Obafemi Martins, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, John Utaka and Osaze Odewingie with constant support from Mickel Obi and Taiye Taiwo. After we lost the first match to a determined Ivorian team, I felt we could come back against Mali but that dream was dashed by the fact that Mr. Vogts could not put together all the talents at his disposal to score at least one goal at the MTN African Cup of Nations. I wonder why he keeps bringing in Makinwa who as long as I am concerned is not better than my humble self in the act of scoring goals. Of course all our TV and radio stations are agog with the reasons and unreason why Nigeria should have won and why we lost; there will be a lot of analysis paralysis as the day goes by.

As it stands, the super Eagles should be on their way back to their respective clubs, because I actually do not see the miracle that will happen (even though I am optimistic) to make Drogba’s team win Mali and Nigeria wining our neighbours from Benin with a large margin. Personally, I do think Berti Vogts is not the coach we are looking for; he seems to enjoy a lot of presence in the News with his ready voice – Emeka Ezeala always making lames excuses on his behalf when ever anything goes wrong. I think those who are close to Mr. Vogts should please advise him to keep quiet and do his job. At this moment, our national team really needs a real midfielders in the likes of JJ Okocha (I’m not asking him to come back O!) or Etim Esin, the whole role seems to be too much for Mickel while Olofinjana is more defence minded. Maybe we have found a new Uche Okechukwu in Shittu but our defence also needs serious attention.

For me and some of my friends, the nations cup has ended and we look forward to a favourable performance in 2010.

Rubbin Minds

January 7, 2008

I was just having a little chat with a friend after we all came back from the same type of weekend. As if we bargained for the same thing, our weekend is yet to end especially for mine which of course will stretch for a few more days. We were trying to make projections for 2008 and try to articulate our dreams and where we are currently standing.

 When we met sometime in December discussing the same issue, we were all glad 2007 was ending and things looked good for the coming year. Then the Nuhu Ribadu’s study leave came on, we also lost a very close pal on December 30 after a prolonged illness. As if that wasn’t all the Violence in Kenya; then I realized what it felt like to have someone on the other side when things are really hot there. We prayed, sent messages and put across phone calls hoping the violence gets curtailed before it is too much. Mediations by Nobel laureates; Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Koffi Annan helped douse the flame and the Safari land was calm again. Suddenly we also lost a very promising young friend after a little illness; he was an entrepreneur of repute and already had a wife and children.

 The once hopefully prosperous year has of course started with a lot of hassles, confusions and losses. As my folks from the southeast keep trooping back top Lagos after the Christmas break – I’m looking forward to the entire hot gist from the various re-unions that held across the extended families. A couple of my colleagues at the National Service scheme are also not settled, some without a place of primary assignment others do not have their salaries reflected in their accounts and a whole lot service issues. But last night I sat up late trying to figure out the sudden confusion (I thought I new where mine came from) but na lie!, I don’t know. I then fell into a small dream, instead of my usual dreams (a world leader solving problems), I was sitting with someone that really looked like me who refused to tell me his name, and he said to me, “this year will continue to confuse “us” until we can win the first quarter”. Now I am confused at the “us” because I really do not know him.

 My conclusion is simply that the year will spring a lot of surprises, like a cloudy morning in early March.

 Smudge

African Politics of War

January 2, 2008

East

What a way to start the New Year. But I will of course acknowledge the emergence of this wonderful year. But it has not been so for our brothers and sisters in Kenya, who incidentally have been watching their sides since the results of the Kenyan National elections were announced. As I stayed up late last night, concluding New year propositions and projections for Ajegunle.org, Myself and PIN, the news just came on air. I was paralyzed, couldn’t think straight and I kept wondering why our differences cannot be resolved with dialogue and why we have to hold on to power at all means. I am also confused at the fact that we cannot conduct – seemingly credible elections. Over the last few months the Nigeria national elections has been under heavy criticism even though there was no break down of law and order.

The Situation in Kenya is out of hand, according to

Davis Wendi ;

In Uganda, the immediate help needed is for the Kenyan refugee children and women who are now resident on the streets of Mbale, Tororo, Malaba and BusiaTowns of Uganda. The families, who could afford, have taken over all the hotels in these towns. Those who could not afford have to struggle on the streets and by the day, it is becoming harder.
This situation caught the Ugandan Immigration authorities by surprise and the there is no definite number of refugees known, yet they continue crossing into the country from Western Kenya. A Member of Parliament (known to me) from Tororo expressed fears that this situation of the refugees could get worse.
Those who have relatives and friends in Uganda have also gotten some accommodation but given the dire situation in which Uganda’s economy has been hit by scarcity of fuel (petrol and diesel) as a result of the close of Kenyan roads on which this fuel is ferried to Uganda, it is not know how
long the current hospitality will last. Scarcity is now creating some chaos to the transport system in Uganda. Fuel prices shot up by over 500% in some parts of Uganda’s capital. Consequently very many vehicles have been grounded. Uganda currently has no national reserves of fuel, what was there a few months ago had been sold to Shell and Hared oil companies. But these companies claim the reserve tanks had been emptied before Christmas time and they never thought there would have been chaos in Kenya.
We hope the fuel situation does not lead to closure of some Mobile telecom base stations that are powered using diesel.

There have also been reports that people in towns outside Nairobi have been starving as a result of closing down of shops and an estimated 75,000 people have nowhere to stay as a result of their homes being demolished as ethnic violence went on the rise.

We do not know how long this will last but I think neighbouring east African countries really need to be equiped to cope with the surge of migrants as a result of the chaos in Kenya.