Three big projects dominated my time at IMANI Ghana, running me through the gauntlet of research, report writing, keynote presentation and interviews with major TV and Radio networks. The first of these was IMANI’s Fiscal Recklessness Index, a report detailing financial irregularities within public boards and ministries, or monies handled against protocol or federal law. I started the assignment assisting in data analysis, but ended up after 3 weeks on the project co-writing the full report and delivering the majority of the keynote presentation. This led to a write-up in the country’s largest newspaper and interviews in multiple TV and radio stations. In addition, I assisted with a major analysis on the feasibility of nearly 250 political promises made during the 2016 election season, eventually co-delivering the keynote presentation and getting my face on the front page of the country’s largest newspaper (a newspaper I currently have framed in my home). Finally, echoing my interest in Education, I assisted in data collection and report writing on a major education quality project, assessing the government’s progress on the Ministry of Education’s medium term strategic plan. In addition to these major projects, I also assisted in the development of the assessment framework for IMANI’s Public Service Leadership Awards (IPSLA), the assessment of the NDC’s social sector promises, and worked for a short while examining the process of port auctioning in Tema.
Before going into my experience, I was reasonably certain I wouldn’t want to put down roots and live in Ghana long-term. The people I loved, work I wanted to do, and things I really wanted in life were all back in the US, and it would take a lot for me to move abroad permanently. This trip, while extremely influential and enjoyable for me personally, didn’t change that. It did, however, make me keenly aware of the political process, and how think tanks work day to day. It’s made me cognizant of how powerful the process of globalization has been, and how relevant it is to the policy process wherever one might live. Though I still expect to work on policies at the state or regional level, I will make sure to keep in mind the international policies and political goings on that might affect policies stateside. To that end, I definitely hope to do more international travel, and perhaps take a few more international policy classes as well.