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Management meets Joy Owango

In celebration of our summer award ceremonies, we talk to recent MaHEIM graduate, Joy Owango, about her fight for fair visibility of African research. 

Joy wearing a black dress with a dark background. Hand on her hip, looking into the camera confidently
Joy Owango, Masters in Higher Education and International Management, class of 2023

What drew me to Bath was the diversity of the students, alumni and lecturers - with many from Africa and the Global South, who have gone on to do great things.

Throughout my career, I've found that early-career academics in Africa struggle when it comes to finding ways to aid their research. This is due to limited access to resources, funding and inadequate government policy. With a passion for innovation, this problem drove me to set up non-profit organisation, Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa).

Although all higher education institutions store their research, this doesn’t necessarily make it accessible to the outside world. Which is a problem particularly in Africa.  

The Masters in Higher Education and International Management course at Bath helped me understand the business dynamics of a university and the decisions academics make, particularly in terms of research. It was also a great opportunity to understand Africa's contribution to higher education globally. 

'What drew me to Bath was the diversity.'

Joy in a graduation gown and mortarboard, with an academic in graduation dress smiling, at the camera
Joy at her graduation ceremony, summer 2023

At TCC Africa, we support researchers, research institutes and governments on improving their research output and increasing their visibility. Our flagship project, the Africa PID Alliance, sits under our subsidiary tech company, Helix Analytics Africa.

The project works to produce Persistent Identifiers (PIDs). PIDs are a long-lasting reference to a document, file, web page, or other digital object. Most PIDs have a unique identifier which is linked to the current address of the metadata or content.

Currently, research output from the Southern Hemisphere tends to be less visible than research from the Northern Hemisphere. PIDs will allow equal opportunity between big and small institutions. Meaning we are going to see a lot more research output coming from Africa, which is a big win for social justice. 

'We're going to see more research output from Africa, which is a big win for social justice.'

I’ve been presenting the project, on behalf of Helix Analytics Africa, all over the world. At the start of this year, I spoke at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and have been presenting worldwide every other month since. 

Juggling the MAHEIM course and running a business, whilst being a mother to a young child wasn’t easy. It took a lot of commitment, planning and help from the people around me, but everyone at Bath was so understanding of personal situations. 

Now I’ve graduated, I can focus on the Africa PID alliance full-time, we aim to have our prototype running by the end of the year.  It’s an ambitious job but thinking ambitious is about rattling the status quo. Creating discomfort allows you to challenge the norm and let change come through. 

The Management meets series