Azia Herve (2020 MPP) and Kah Brenda (2020 MPM) are two inspiring public policy students who took the opportunity to address an information gap by creating a YouTube channel which they aptly named ‘Scholarkonied’. Through this channel, they seek to inform and advise public officials about scholarship opportunities in Asia, particularly the ones offered by KDI School. In this conversation, Azia and Brenda share how they came up with the idea of creating this channel and the challenges they encountered as they embarked on this passion project.
Could you briefly introduce yourselves?
Azia: My name is Azia Herve, a 2020 Fall MPP student from Cote d’Ivoire. It’s a great pleasure to be here and share my story. I hope everyone can listen to our vision and, hopefully, get into KDI School. Before coming to KDI School, I was a student in Ghana. I learned about KDI School through friends. They told me about a lot of things concerning KDI and its role in Korea’s development. I became very interested as I have always wanted to involve myself in the development of African countries.
Brenda: I am Kah Brenda from Cameroon, and I work at the Prime Minister’s office. In particular, under the Secretary-General in the Human Resources department. I graduated with Master’s degree in Applied Geology. Prior to my current position, I was a Geologist at the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Technological Development for 6 years. Under the Infrastructural department, I was in charge of water and energy issues. Later on, I worked at the Department of Educational Science before being appointed to the HR department.
How did you come up with the idea of creating a YouTube channel?
Brenda: It was Azia who brought up the idea of creating a YouTube channel. There are many people in his country who have shown interest in scholarships, particularly government workers, students, and those in the private sector. Personally, I thought it was a good target group. We are aware of the reach that social media can provide. We thought that it would not be efficient if we answered each query one by one. Hence, we wanted a platform where we can answer people’s questions all at once. My reaction was very positive. I think it serves as a good opportunity to reach the African government, particularly those who hold the position of Director. They are the ones who channel policy recommendations. Thus, if they have access to information and are able to come to Korea, they can become better parliamentarians.
Azia: It’s a dream that I came up with, and Brenda was the first person I talked to about what I wanted to do. She was very happy with the idea.
Creating videos for a YouTube channel is no easy feat. What are the issues or challenges you faced while carrying out your plan?
Azia: Our first problem was implementation. Honestly, Brenda and I do not have much experience with YouTube or advertising. We looked for people to help us shoot and edit videos. Although we were able to find capable contributors, they were looking for financial incentives. Another challenge is getting information. Our ideas were already there. However, we needed evidence and statistical data in order to be precise. Initially, we thought of advertising schools in Korea. However, we decided to start where we are. We wanted to start with KDI School.
KDI is heavily involved with policy development. When Korea started its development journey, they created this institution. We wanted to tell people about how they could actively take part in development.
In Africa, people see Asia as a continent where not much can be learned, and, so, they look toward the US or Europe. I firmly believe that this is a misconception, as there are a lot of things they can learn from Asian countries. The US and Europe are already developed, whereas Asia is still in the developing stage. The message we want to impart is that there is a lot of practical knowledge that Africa can learn from Asia. We want to reach more people and inspire them to divert their attention toward Asia.
Tell us more about your YouTube channel and what you hope to achieve with this endeavor.
Azia: Our channel is called Scholarkonied, coined from the scholarships we have received—KOICA and NIIED. Currently, we have 40 subscribers and 2 videos. When we make our videos, we go through books, articles, and other materials to make sure our content is backed by evidence. After launching, we received a lot of calls from Nigeria, Kenya, and all over Africa. Through our channel, we hope to create a network for people to come to KDI School for build on their potential.
Brenda: In our ministries, there are very few experts when it comes to policy development. A lot of the policies are not well-designed and are often implemented without consulting the public first. If these directors and junior workers, who are at the forefront of proposing policies to the hierarchy can learn how to critically design policies and use participatory governance techniques, they can forward better ideas to the decision-makers. It would be great if they could come study at KDI School. The main motivation is to acquire knowledge and give back to one’s country.
Azia: We realized there is a growing interest in scholarships. Though it is part of our vision to feature scholarships that are available in South Korea, it is not our main purpose. Our vision is to help students get into KDI School and foster an interest in development. We want more people to get involved in the development process and know how they can contribute to their own countries.
How can the KDIS community help you realize your vision?
We wish to collaborate with the KDIS community, especially the students and the alumni. Also, it would be great if the community would subscribe to the channel and help by sharing links to our videos. We are worried as to how we can elevate the platform. Hopefully, we can also secure a high-quality camera and a video editor. There is a saying, “A vision comes true by implementation.” We hope that the community can help us grow and reach out to more people.