Australia Awards–Africa held three reintegration workshops, in September and October, for scholars in their final semester of study. The workshops provided scholars with an opportunity to reflect, review and modify their Reintegration Action Plans (RAPs) by identifying common reintegration challenges and discuss approaches to address these.
The workshops reinforced the importance of aligning their post scholarship expectations and opportunities with links and networks created in Australia. Takhona Khumalo from eSwatini found the workshop valuable, “it prepared me for my return back home. I learnt other more useful content on lifelong learning and how to impart the knowledge and skills gained during my study” she said.
As a result of the workshops, scholars were mindful of preparing their family’s adjustment, the management of supervisors’ and colleagues and possible reverse culture shock. The workshop was “educative, with a participatory learning approach. I found it well-tailored to prepare us to reintegrate our communities successfully”, said Phillip Kaingo from Malawi.
Mwendesha Makelemo Mkandya, from Tanzania found that the workshop unleashed inspiration, in him, to perform and achieve the intended objectives of his RAP, utilising the skills obtained through the Australia Awards.
A total of 47 females (51 per cent) including two females with disabilities and 46 males (49per cent participated. They all committed to leveraging their strengths and leadership potential to become change agents and champions of gender and social inclusion in their workplaces and communities.
The workshops, facilitated by Dr Tim Grice, Dr Joseph Hongo, and Dr Michael Spann from the University of Queensland, form an integral part of the Reintegration Journey. Nana Akua Sarpong Manu from Ghana noted the importance of pacing yourself on return. “You adjusted to being here in Australia, and it will take time for your colleagues and workplace to readjust to you coming back. Give people time to accept you back” she emphasised.