USIU-Africa triumphs as overall winner of Emerald Knowledge Ambassador Program 2023

By Fredrick Adika and Azenath Ateka
The USIU-Africa Library celebrates a significant milestone as they emerged victorious in the Emerald Knowledge Ambassador Program 2023. This promotional program, launched on June 19, 2023, was aimed at bolstering access, awareness, and utilization of Emerald research content, with the overarching goal of establishing Emerald Insight as the preferred academic research platform. Many countries from the region participated including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Mauritius, Ghana, Zambia, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Cote D'Ivoire, and Senegal.

The eligibility criteria required participating academic institutions to have current subscription access to Emerald resources. Each institution was only allowed one knowledge ambassador group, comprising of a maximum of four students, and one librarian to offer guidance.

Under the stewardship of librarians, Azenath Ateka and Fredrick Adika, a team of four students - Justin Kirembeka, Joyce Shabene, Jovia Nakkazi, and Jaili Abdalla, participated in the program. Asked what value they saw in the participation, here is what they said:

The librarians:
“It is good to compete, but this was a great opportunity to create awareness of a rich and valuable resource”.

The students:
“We decided to participate in the competition due to our strong belief in our capabilities and encouragement and assurance of support that we received from these two librarians”.
“Our overarching goal was not just self-improvement but also to raise awareness among fellow students about the wealth of easily accessible online resources provided by Emerald publishers. By participating in the competition, we hoped to gain expertise that would empower us to guide others in making the most of these valuable educational tools”.
“I am passionate about serving the society specially through education”.

To win, communication channels needed to be diversified and these entailed, a WhatsApp group which was managed collaboratively by the librarians and the knowledge ambassadors; active participation in the Emerald Knowledge Ambassador Facebook page, and an online newsletter from Emerald. The team also actively participated in webinars organized by Emerald. To engage the university community comprehensively, the team organized training sessions which were delivered in classes and in the library. Their activities extended beyond the campus as the team visited the Kenya National Library, Buruburu branch, contributing to their community outreach initiatives. To manage all these, there were sacrifices.

“I sacrificed time for rigorous preparation and engagement in EKA, balancing academic responsibilities and my other engagements”.
“I knew that to win I needed to put in time, effort, skills, knowledge, creative and critical thinking; also, I suspended other interests and financial pursuits”.

The students, driven by a shared belief in their capabilities and fueled by the encouragement from mentors and the university, embarked on this journey with determination to prove their potential. To be assured of the win they said that they invested in ‘team work and delegation, planning meetings and schedules, strict timelines, creativity and innovation’.

Jaili Abdalla is appreciative of students' support during the competition. They of course, faced challenges like time constraint which was top on the list. It was also not easy to get students to participate, to take pictures or be in the videos they created. Sometimes they missed the first few minutes of class. In their words ‘it was hard but worthy it’. Johvie, reflecting on the intense competition, highlighted the sacrifice of time and the strategic preparation, winning not only brought a sense of accomplishment but validated their efforts and instilled confidence in every member of the winning team.

Their tireless efforts garnered a well-deserved recognition, with the USIU-Africa team emerging as the overall winner of the EKA 2023 program. The judging criteria, which assessed activities promoting the Emerald brand, stakeholder engagement initiatives, and social media presence, underscored the team's exceptional performance. As a result of their outstanding achievement, the EKA team secured total funds of GBP800, going to the students and the librarian.

They had these words for fellow students:
“Always believe in yourself and never be afraid to try”.
“I am grateful and humbled for the support and cooperation that the students gave us during the period of the competition. Continue accessing materials from Emerald”.
“Indeed, perseverance, dedication, and the pursuit of knowledge are the keys to success”.

The success of the USIU-Africa Library and Information Center in the Emerald Knowledge Ambassador Program 2023 stands as a testament to the passion, dedication, and strategic planning of the EKA team. Heartfelt congratulations to the team for not only achieving this milestone but also leaving a lasting impression.

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