Harvard program hears from Sirleaf on putting education first

first_img Confronting Ebola Related Sirleaf wins Nobel Peace Prize Activists share success stories at Harvard Kennedy School Nonprofits with Harvard ties launch collaboration to fight epidemic When Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was elected Liberia’s president in 2005, she had a difficult decision to make: Where to begin?Ravaged by two civil wars that spanned 15 years, with a two-year interlude in the late 1990s, the country had seen its economy collapse, and worse. Schools and hospitals had been looted and destroyed, roads had deteriorated, and civil society was in disarray.In short, Liberia needed everything.But Sirleaf knew that she couldn’t deliver everything, she said Wednesday at Harvard’s Loeb House, and she also knew that to try would have robbed her of an opportunity to move her country forward in important ways. She chose education as her primary focus, reasoning that such a priority would both provide a foundation for her nation’s future and instill hope in a generation of youth who were already too familiar with war.But the situation was bleak. Government-run schools were in ruins, and many of the country’s remaining teachers were unqualified. Also, teacher colleges had been destroyed, so the nation had no means to train a new generation of educators.But Sirleaf persevered, building and repairing schools, getting kids back in classrooms, and working to improve teacher qualifications and quality of education. Special programs were developed for students with special needs, such as the child soldiers who were typically three times the age of classmates.After two years, Sirleaf said, 194 schools had been built, and over 10 years the government-supported student population increased from just a few thousand to 1.5 million. There’s still a long way to go, but her administration — which ended when she left office in January — provided an important start, she said.Sirleaf spoke during the closing session of the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program. The program has two sessions each year, one for finance ministers and the second for health and education ministers. The focus is on leadership, priority-setting, and other skills that are key to getting things done, such as collaboration, analysis of delivery systems, and developing budgets.Awa Marie Coll-Seck, minister of state in Senegal’s Office of the President, is a former participant and member of the program’s advisory board. She attended four years ago when she was Senegal’s minister of health, at a time when she knew her goals but wasn’t sure how to achieve them. The program provides concrete ways to produce results, she said.“I think if it was possible, it would be something every minister would do,” Coll-Seck said. “All the ministers are saying that, on Monday, when I will be back in my office, I will to start to implement what I have learned here.”This year’s session, sponsored by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Harvard Kennedy School, was held June 10‒13 at Loeb House. Sixteen ministers from nine nations participated in discussions guided by faculty members at Harvard and former ministers, including University of Miami President Julio Frenk, past dean of the Harvard Chan School and Mexico’s health minister during its rollout of universal health care in the early 2000s. Sirleaf, an alumna of the Kennedy School, sat for a conversation with Harvard Chan School Dean Michelle Williams and Big Win Philanthropy president Jamie Cooper.While post-war recovery was her early focus, the Liberian leader also faced the devastating 2013‒2016 Ebola epidemic, which was a blow to progress already made.Government measures to limit movement, in an effort to keep the disease from spreading, were met with resistance from citizens who saw fleeing the country as life-saving action, Sirleaf noted, adding that leaders faced a “crisis of confidence.”When the World Health Organization projected that the epidemic would claim 1 million lives if not curtailed, Sirleaf pushed for a new strategy. She and other national leaders realized that they couldn’t defeat the epidemic by fighting against their own people, and began to seek help at the community level.Sirleaf also appealed for international help, which was slow in coming, and made a point of touring hospitals and clinics in an effort to rebuild faith in the government.The epidemic, which wound up infecting nearly 11,000 Liberians and killing nearly 5,000, highlighted weaknesses in the nation’s health system, Sirleaf said, but it also spurred the development of vaccines that are now being used against an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.Sicily Kariuki, who took office as Kenya’s minister of health four months ago after serving as minister of youth, public service, and gender for three years, said that citizens expect immediate results from ministers who in some cases are still getting acquainted with their new responsibilities. When she heard about the Harvard program just a few days into her new job, it sounded like just what she needed.Among Kenya’s challenges, Kariuki said, is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s promise of universal health coverage by 2022. The size of that challenge is illustrated by current coverage rates — just 17 percent of those employed in the “formal” business sector, and perhaps 2 percent among the majority of workers, who are employed in small business and as sole proprietors in the “informal sector.”The chance to hear from other ministers made the Harvard event particularly valuable, she said, along with networking opportunities and access to expert views.“It was worthwhile, every moment of it,” Kariuki said. “I go back with a higher confidence level. I go back with new tools to manage.” Women as peacemakers Liberian president, an HKS alumna, shares top award last_img read more


Even high wage earners want mobile pay discounts

first_img 19SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr A recent study found the number of North American consumers who know they can use their phones as payments devices rose nearly 10 percentage points to 52 percent in 2015. Despite this jump, actual mobile-payment usage grew by just 1 percent in the same time period.According to the study, sluggish retail implementation of mobile-ready point-of-sale (POS) terminals and the familiarity of plastic are two contributing factors to the pace of adoption. However, a missing loyalty component may be another reason the majority of consumers continue to choose swipe over tap.The “2015 North America Consumer Digital Payments Survey,” which polled 4,000 smartphone users in the U.S. and Canada, found higher wage earners are the most-avid adopters of mobile payments technology. Thirty-eight percent of smartphone owners with a minimum household income of $150,000 use their phones to make payments at merchant locations at least weekly. This consumer group’s tendency to patronize establishments that are ahead of the payments-evolution curve may contribute to their frequent mobile payment usage.Even for high wage earners, discounts are a powerful incentive. In fact, more than 75 percent of those consumers currently making mobile payments would use the services even more regularly if they were offered discounted pricing, coupons or reward points. Additionally, more than half of non-users would be encouraged to adopt mobile payments if they were offered the same benefits. A similar survey found 47 percent of those polled would use a mobile payment app if it were offered by their FI. continue reading »last_img read more


Ghana’s provisional squad for U-20 World Cup

first_imgThe head coach of the Ghana national U-20 team, the Black Satellites, Sellas Tetteh on Wednesday morning pruned down the 29-man squad which has been in camp in recent weeks as the team readies to leave Ghana for Novara, Italy to continue preparations for the Turkey World Cup set to commence on June 21Arsenal’s Zak Ansah, Tema Youth midfielder Derrick Mensah, Medeama SC’s Jacop Apau Asiedu, Anthony Manison and Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey have also been dropped from the initial 24-man provisional squad.According to our sources, the Black Satellites are waiting to receive Swiss visas for the players by 2pm and the team will leave for Italy later in the evening for Italy via Turkish Airlines.Three foreign-based players would later join the squad later. Inter Milan’s Alfred Duncan will be in Novara to welcome the team while Black Stars duo Richmond Boakye-Yiadom and Baba Abdul Rahman will join the team after the 2014 World Cup qualifiers on June 16 to increase the squad number to 27 .The Black Satellites will spend four days in Novara before leaving for Switzerland where they will play a series of friendlies against Kosovo, and one of Brazil and Egypt. Ghana’s final 21-man squad will then be announced before the team emplanes to Instanbul, Turkey on June 17.Below is the full 27-man provisional squad intercepted by footy-Ghana.com Goalkeepers:Eric Ofori Antwi (Amidaus Professionals), Michael Sai (Chelsea), Richard Ofori (Wa All Stars)Defenders:Kofi Koomson (Amidaus Professionals), Richmond Nketia (Medeama), Jeremiah Arkorful and Joseph Attamah (Tema Youth) Ebenezer Ofori (New Edubiase), Lawrence Lartey (AshantiGold), Princebell Addico (Bechem), Daniel Pappoe (Chelsea, England), Baba MensahMidfielders:Moses Odjer ( Tema Youth), Seidu Salifu and Emmanuel Gyamfi (Wa All Stars), Ollenu Ashittey (Hearts of Oak) Michael Anaba (Asante Kotoko), Clifford Aboagye (Inter Allies)Strikers:Francis Narh (Tema Youth), Kennedy Ashia, Ebenezer Assifuah and Kwame Boahene (Liberty), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium), Michael Mensah (Wa All Stars)Foreign-based players to join later: Alfred Duncan (Inter Milan, Italy), Richmond Boakye Yiadom (Sassuolo, Italy) Baba Rahman (Greuther Fürth, Germany)last_img read more


Emmanuel Mudiay believes he could be No. 1 pick in NBA Draft

first_img“My shooting, that’s been the biggest knock in me. But I’ve always been confident,” Mudiay said. “Getting more reps up makes you more comfortable. When I get a rhythm, I’m really, really comfortable with my shot.”Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak downplayed any concerns regarding the shooting accuracy of Okafor, Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell and Mudiay.“I don’t think that’s a concern, ” Kupchak said. “I don’t have a concern that three or four years down the road they won’t be excellent shooters.”Mudiay argued his strong playmaking and athleticism will already make a significant difference after modeling his game after former Lakers point guard Magic Johnson, who won five NBA championships in the Showtime Era.“Everybody loved playing with him because he made everybody better,” Mudiay said. “As a point guard, that’s your goal, to elevate everybody’s game. You never saw anybody complaining when they were with Magic.”Mudiay admitted he still has plenty to learn about running an offense.When he met with Knicks coach and former Lakers guard Derek Fisher for dinner, some of the conversation centered on the triangle offense.“It’s challenging. But the more you get into it, the more you understand it,” Mudiay said. “I can adjust and adapt to any system or any style of play.”Mudiay also believes he could thrive under the Princeton-based offense that Lakers coach Byron Scott runs. Both systems put less emphasis on pick-and-rolls and more emphasis on dribble handoffs, spacing and shared ballhandling duties.“If I were to go there,” Mudiay said of the Lakers, “I would be in the film room with (Scott) and whoever it is to teach me how the run their stuff.”It sounded like he already started.Scott shared with Mudiay the similarities and differences among the star point guards he coached in Jason Kidd, Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving.“Coach Scott helped me with a lot of things,” said Mudiay, who respectfully declined to share specifics. “He gave me some good advice for my career, whether it’s with him or not.”Mudiay spent plenty of his dinner in New York peppering Fisher with questions on how he thrived in the triangle offense as a key role player for a Lakers team that won five NBA championships.“He’s a real good person. Him just coming out of the NBA, I feel like he will teach me a lot whether I go to that team or not,” Mudiay said. “Why wouldn’t you want to learn? He’s a winner. He’s a proven winner.”Mudiay believes he will soon become one too. “I’m a competitor,” he said. “Regardless of who I’m playing, if I’m playing a 5-year-old or a grown man, I always want to win.” Mudiay believed he has made a few teams comfortable.He worked out last week for the Lakers and on Tuesday with the New York Knicks. Mudiay will work out in Philadelphia on Tuesday and Minnesota on June 20. He also held a private workout on Thursday at an athletic club in Reseda before members of his agency, Rival Sports Group, and a handful of reporters. There, Mudiay completed full-court and halfcourt drills that showed off his ballhandling, finishing and athleticism.“I’m good in that area,” Mudiay said. “But it’s not something you can show as much. They really want to see how you fit in the system and your shooting.”He appeared streaky in that area during Thursday’s workout, which included 3-pointers, mid-range jumpers and free throws.Mudiay shot only 37.4 percent from 3-point range and 57.4 percent from the foul line last year with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. That somewhat soiled the rest of Mudiay’s production, which included averaging 17.7 points on 54.5 percent shooting from the field, while averaging 6.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Their storied championship history suggests the Lakers will use their No. 2 draft pick on a big man. But the Lakers are wrestling with that idea, aware that the NBA has morphed into something else.“If you look at every team, they have a pretty good point guard,” Emmanuel Mudiay said after playing professionally last season in China. “It’s a point guard’s league.”Mudiay admitted he would “love to get drafted high” and that “I feel like I can be No. 1.” But Mudiay stressed he is not arguing an NBA team should select him ahead of Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns or Duke center Jahlil Okafor. Minnesota appears likely to take Towns with its No. 1 pick, while the Lakers will likely pick Okafor, who worked out with the team on Tuesday.“There’s nothing I can say about that. I’m not going to go to a GM’s office,” Mudiay said. “Whatever the team wants to go with, they’ll go with where they are most comfortable.”last_img read more