Democracy, media, data and all things in between
End of Week 1: Day 5
July 12, 2019 marked the end of my first week here at CDD-Ghana. I have been kept busy with several interesting assignments.
My day on Monday started in the CDD-Ghana Resource Center. Before being given a task in the morning, Dr. Kojo Asante, Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement, gave us time to browse through the materials, and begin some light reading to familiarize ourselves with the Center’s areas of interest. Several volumes peaked my interest, but I ended up selecting “Ghana: Governance in the Fourth Republic”, a CDD-Ghana publication that explores issues relating to Ghana’s developing democracy. Reading a section on political processes, I learned about the challenge to constitutionalism in the Ghanaian context, and the roles of various entities in promoting and safeguarding constitutionalism. Particularly fascinating to me was a section on the role of the media in democracy, which explored how agencies of mass media can develop a culture of accountability and responsibility.
I was therefore, eager to begin my morning assignment: preparing the Daily Media Report to be sent out to the staff of CDD-Ghana. Efua Idan Atadja, the Center’s Communication Specialist kindly and patiently explained how I was to consolidate summaries of current news stories that would be of interest to the organization. CDD-Ghana’s awareness of current affairs – both local and international – is essential for them to engage with various issues. To me, this seemed a perfect example of how different entities in society – the media and public policy oriented organizations, in this case – engage with each other to uphold constitutionalist ideals.
The activity of preparing the media report was also interesting for me because it had me sifting through newspapers and news websites, coming across stories that I might not have otherwise seen. Although my task was merely to provide headlines and summaries, I tried to engage with the texts, and think about some of the issues I was reading about. After completing the task, I resolved to continue regularly going through news stories, to heighten my awareness of current affairs.
Wednesday and Thursday were a bit less exciting than Tuesday. Our task was to help the communications team update the Stakeholder List, which contains the contact information of various persons and entities that have an interest in the actions, policies and objectives of CDD-Ghana. In other words, our job was to go through books of business cards, and enter names, phone numbers and emails into an excel spread sheet. This was not a particularly glamorous task, and was in fact quite tedious. On the plus side, I now have a much greater appreciation of the work that goes into manual data entry.
On Friday, aside from finishing up the stakeholder list, my colleague, Adwoa and I took a couple of hours to visit the National Archives, in order to obtain forms for ‘searchers’ tickets’ that we will later use to access materials. I am interested in going through newspapers from the late 1980s and early 1990s to better understand what prompted Ghana’s democratic transition to the Fourth Republic. I think this will make for an interesting research project.
To conclude, my second week was a wonderful period of learning for me. From just memorizing the names of CDD-Ghana staff to becoming more familiar with current affairs, I have gained a lot of knowledge. It has been a fascinating new experience to be in a workplace environment, and I already feel much more confident as a young person moving towards eventual employment.
Efia Awuah is a secondary school student at SOS Herman Gmeiner International College, Tema and a participant in CDD-Ghana’s High School Internship Program.