Afara Academic Publishing (AAP) is an innovative social entrepreneurship initiative that is aiming at publishing empirical research papers from university graduates from Africa/MENA region (i. e. BA, MA and PhD students) on an online platform, that will be hosted in Berlin, Germany. Official partner is the Free University of Berlin (FU Berlin).
Interested researchers on the region, e. g. universities, international organizations, libraries, research networks etc. can browse the data base of AAP and download the papers for a fee, that will directly benefit the author of the paper. The process of identification, quality check, publication and financial handling will be organized by a team in both, Berlin, Germany and the institution in the partner country.
The impact expected is multi-dimensional:
On one hand AAP will give graduates a chance to receive a compensation/income for their work as well as empower them to continue their academic carrier. Therefore AAP's long-term goal is to make research a vehicle for income generation, give graduates a professional perspective by fostering their academic creativity, activity and knowledge and helping them see the benefits of the time, energy and financial resources they and their families had invested in their education. It is expected that the option of being rewarded by gaining a positive image through official publication of the own research and by receiving financial incentives will eventually strengthen the belief and engagement in their countries' development. Furthermore increased research activity will improve the academic landscape altogether for example by enhancing the quality and quantity of papers as well as by creating networks and think tanks among students. As a consequence the university will become more attractive not only to students but also to teaching staff, international researches and the like. Therefore AAP is an initiative that combines academic research with economic and social development.
On the other hand AAP will offer researchers outside Africa/MENA a chance to enrich their knowledge on the region through genuine first-hand information. Currently the predominant approach to researching Africa/MENA is influenced by a "white" research culture that still neglects the regional perspective. The problem is that such a research cultures frequently construct, deconstruct and perpetuate images of the region based on a limited and presumptuous instead of taking into regard authentic empiric data from indigenous research. AAP's long-term goal is to "decolonize" research and to boost the relevance and visibility of research from Africa/MENA internationally.
AAP connects research within and across continents. "Afara" means "bridge" in the Yoruba language!
is an international consultant, facilitator and trainer with more than 15 years experience in international development cooperation. She holds an MA in Islamic Studies, and certificates in systemic coaching, peace studies, refugee law, gender mainstreaming and organisational development. The sectors she focuses on as international consultant are TVET, employment promotion and entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, good governance: conflict prevention and gender mainstreaming. Sonja has profound working experience in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, the Caucasus on different levels, from civil society strengthening to diplomacy. In addition to her consulting and training activities in international development, she is a social entrepreneur, who has founded a number of social innovation initiatives, among them Business Makse Sense – Society for Sustainable Global Development, intercultures public and Afara Academic Publishing, an award-winning social innovation initiative for the development of knowledge economies in Africa and the Middle East.
Sonja is a creative philantropist, an author of books, articles and research studies, who is passionate about creating lasting positive change in communities through the empowerment of individuals and through advocating for equality. She believes in diversity, intercultural cooperation and innovation.
Sonja is a mother of three and lives in Berlin, Germany.
Simon holds an MA in linguistics and Dutch studies. He has been working in international development for more than 7 years in the fields of TVET and employment promotion, among others for sequa and the ZWH (Central Agency for Continuing Vocational Education and Training in the Skilled Crafts). Since a couple of years he has been a freelance consultant. His area of expertise is project management and IT-based project management, project evaluations, as well as organizational capacity development for associations and NGOs.
Simon is a serial social entrepreneur. He is a founder of Business Makes Sense – Society for Sustainable Global Development, intercultures public, and of the social innovation enterprise Afara Academic Publishing. He has joined the RootsFactory Consulting Network and has developed it further. His motto „philantropy through digitalization“ mobilizes and motivates him, his partners and clients to use and be trained in open source technologies.
His long-standing experience in diverse fields of international development and his foreign language skills, as well as his open-minded, warm-hearted and curious personality are the basis for his extraordinary skill to create networks among people and engage them in cooperation with each other. Simon is a people-person. His tireless engagement in social impact initiatives proof that Simon focuses on creating lasting positive change in peoples‘ lifes.
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