17. Networking and Research
YALDA is a network of students around Africa and abroad. As such, it is also a forum for students to have contact with professionals and other organizations. Each YALDA branch is expected to research and partner with professionals and organizations. Most branches have found this research very rewarding, since members look for contacts in the professional field/career they are interested in. As they establish great contacts for YALDA they establish great contacts for themselves as well.
Research is done primarily by the Partners and Professional Contacts Committee, though all members of the branch are encouraged to do some research when they can. We suggest that young branches with a small base of members have the board and interested members establish an initial group of professional contacts and organizations to work with.
NETWORKING WITH PROFESSIONALS
Each branch is expected to develop a database of professionals in all fields within their respective countries. These professional contacts should be asked to register on the YALDA network (via the website—www.yaldafrica.org) as Professional Affiliates. Basically, members of your branch choose the professional field/career they are interested in. Members then email these professionals in their own country, Africa or abroad, and ask them to please join YALDA and become professional affiliates. Each branch should also select a small number of professors and professionals to serve on its Advisory Board. (For letter templates, please see Appendix F (i)).
Some things to think about:
- Getting contacts in your general field(s). It is up to you how specific or broad you want to make it.
- Whether or not you use the templates provided by YALDA to guide you on what to write and say to your contacts. For example, some of the templates are too long for a concise first email, however, other templates can be used as a follow up email.
- In your emails remember to state that you are an official student group/society at your university.
- Ask your contacts if they are willing to offer YALDA members information on internship and job opportunities
- Ask your contacts if they are willing to become YALDA mentors or advisors.
- Ask your contacts if they would be willing to submit articles for the YALDA newsletter and magazine.
- Ask your contacts if they would be willing to be on your and/or the YALDA general email list.
- Ask your contacts if they would be willing to offer you and/ or YALDA financial support or recommend people who would.
- Ask your contacts if they are interested in being contacted to attend and participate at YALDA international conferences.
- Finally, ask your contacts if they have any other recommendations for helping YALDA network.
RESEARCH ON PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS
Research current programs and organizations in your country to find out:
- What is there?
- What can you learn from them?
- How can you partner with current programs?
Some things to think about:
- Tell them a bit about YALDA. (See Appendix F (ii) for letter templates).
- Ask them if they have any ideas on how we can collaborate with them and what kinds of resources they could offer our members.
- Ask them if they would be willing to partner with us.
- If they agree, ask them to add us to their website (this makes us a more likely hit on search engines such as Google).
SAMPLE REPORT ON ONE CONTACT
We encourage all YALDA researches to have orderly, organized research strategies. Though not required, we encourage all chairs to ask their team to submit research reports every two to four weeks as they deem fit.
Below is a sample report, feel free to follow this or write your own reports in a different style, but please include all relevant information as this example does, or as suggested by your Committee Chair. Please use the same style for both partner and professional contact information.
Working Group on Higher Education
WGHE works with the AAU and was formed by the Association for the Development of Education in Africa. Its main purpose is to act as an informal network of African university representatives, development partner representatives, and higher education specialists from Africa and elsewhere.
Contact: The Coordinator: Ms. Alice Sena LAMPTEY,
Association of African Universities (AAU), P.O. Box AN 5744, Accra-North, Ghana
Tel: +233 21 76 15 88 OR 77 44 95
Fax: 233 217 772 148 E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Reply: Ms. Lamptey is the coordinator for WGHE. Since WGHE is also related to the AAU (above), she referred me to the AAU website as well as theirs. The Steering Committee was supposed to have a meeting on September 6-7 at the University of Dar Es Salaam, and she said I should read about the committee. Additionally, WGHE will be holding a policy forum on private higher education in November