[In simple words; we accept to host (FREE) all theses, dissertations or projects from African tertiary institutions to promote our students and their ideas globally]
Africans delight on their oral tradition of folklores. In many African villages, boys and girls gather around their elders to listen to stories of hope, imagination, bravery and justice. These students of culture are expected to pass that tradition to newer generations. For many centuries, Africans have lived that life- a life of ‘more talking, no writing’. It helped shaped family values and embedded the spirit of service and honor.
For generations, except Ethiopians, no African culture or nation was able to develop an indigenous way of writing. Contracts were executed with words, marriages were concluded with words, lands were sold with words, and indeed all was about the memory of the human species. When neighbors disagree over land, an arbiter would come in to settle the disputes by telling stories his own parents or elders had passed to him.
Typically, Africans talk a lot. That was the tradition. It has remained like that and will be the same for many generations to come. While the western world works hard to document on black and white or in modern times on bytes and bits, we still do not bother. Many African universities have no organized way of processing massive data or ideas that emanate from their students theses/projects/dissertations. Last year, while visiting Nigeria, we were unlucky to witness more than 800 student dissertations being burnt.
We wanted to know what motivated that decision. We were told that it was a tradition; space has to be made for the next academic documents. Few of those documents made it to the university library. Years after years, we are burning ideas that can unlock the future of better harvest, and curing diseases that corporations think make no economic sense to invest resources. (In this world, if a disease is not suffered by the Westerners, the big Pharma corporations see no major benefit to invest on their R&D since it will not generate lots of profit. Why make drugs for people that cannot afford them? So for the cholera or TB, not many thoughts get into them in the big Pharma meetings).
Strange as it may seem, but that is the reality of many African schools where we run round in cycles wasting time without making progress. When you destroy your progress, you have to repeat it. Instead of preserving legacies which can be built upon, we have students solving a problem someone that graduated a year before had solved. With no means of sharing data or documenting these works, innovation suffers.
Besides, it hurts the students because they spend money to recreate processes which had been validated a few years ago. It brings a tradition of constantly managing crises without a process to envision bold world changing ideas. They deprive the schools opportunities to attract funding because no one knows what they do. They are rarely published because local conferences are not common.
Now a portal is ready for this, courtesy of Fasmicro and AFRIT. We are launching it in coming days. We have launched it in the past but killed it because of capacity issues. Now, it is for real.