The everlasting and arduous quest for Development in Africa continues relentlessly and in full speed, even if often elusive. Many of the policies, strategies and actions executed have not always succeed but many others have, or hold promise, propelling the continent progressively forward, even if slowly, toward desired Development goals. To many, the age old saying ‘experience is the best teacher’ is a resounding truism. Innovation is only to be strongly encouraged: however, knowledge and learning from experience, although not always relevant and helpful, remain equally important, in evaluating accomplishments, setting the action agenda for the future, and to inform the design, direction and focus of continuing and new initiatives.
The records, reports, and various publications documenting Development, in effect, encapsulate the aggregate personal experiences of the individuals engaged at the different levels of the documented Development needs, actions and results. However, the rich details, nuances, and insights of, and in individual experiences, are not featured and are lost in those documents. Often, this loss underlies the tendency to repeat past undocumented mistakes. Official documentation is, obviously, extremely important and can only be demanded but the personal experience of key individuals making Development possible should also be encouraged.
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I may not have been a ‘key individual making Development possible’. Nevertheless, I want to join others who have taken the action to disseminate experience and learning in the search for effective action and results and impact. My experience started in 1973 as Program Specialist in the Health, Population and Nutrition office of the United States Agency for International Development Mission to Ghana. In the search for Development results and impact, I went on to serve and learn in various national, Africa regional, and global health Development organizations and projects, working with governmental and non-governmental donor and implementing organizations in 21 African countries during a 40-year career that eventually focused on organizational capacity development for sexual and reproductive health (SRH).
My book There is Only One Peak (the 31st August 2020 version published online by Black Tower Publishers), is a dissemination of my experience as well as a review and reflection on SRH Development. It is a story of my effort and experience in understanding Development, developing myself, and contributing to the development of others in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially Nigeria. But did I understand well-enough what African Development means in its multiple complexities and what it requires in terms of the equally complex and diverse policies, decisions, strategies, and actions to engender and advance it?This is the question for readers to answer in affirming or transforming their engagement with African Development.
There is Only One Peak is a vivid and practical illustration of some of the levels of understanding (objectives, processes, desired results) as well as the demands and actions involved in the pursuit of African Development. I strongly believe that while not all individuals in the various levels can produce epical results for Development, all of them, when conscious, organized, and proactive, and with different capabilities, make contributions that move sustainable Development forward. My book shows how. Particularly, young people can learn from the experience to transform or plan their contribution to Development, to make it more purposeful, strategic, and effective.
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