A new Africa is being developed in Milton Keynes

Bridget Nagomoro and The Hon Pia Philip Michael at The Open University in Milton Keynes

Bridget Nagomoro and The Hon Pia Philip Michael at The Open University in Milton Keynes

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Business boffins in Milton Keynes are working on developing a new model of management development in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Open University Business School has strong links with the continent which were further strengthened with the recent visit of a remarkable woman behind plans to open a girls’ school in South Sudan.

Bridget Nagomoro and The Hon Pia Philip Michael at The Open University in Milton Keynes

Bridget Nagomoro and The Hon Pia Philip Michael at The Open University in Milton Keynes

In South Sudan 90 per cent of women are illiterate, and most girls leave school very young because of pressure from family, household duties and early pregnancy.

Bridget Nagomoro was the only girl from her village to receive schooling after the age of 10, walking miles each day carrying and selling firewood.

She continued her education at a convent and dreamed of building a boarding school for girls aged 10 and up. Now an amazing £400,000 has been raised and building begun. The first intake of girls should be in February 2014.

Bridget is now the Government Commissioner for Ibba County, one of only two women out of 79 commissioners.

Some time ago she met John Benington, husband of Professor Jean Hartley, Professor in Public Leadership at the OUBS, and told her of her dream to build a boarding school in her village. Jean and John were in pre-independence South Sudan running workshops for the interim government, and agreed to help.

Bridget visited Milton Keynes with the South Sudan State Minister of Education, Western Equatorial State, The Hon Pia Philip Michael.

Meanwhile the Open University Business School is aiming to help leaders like Bridget by developing a programme to meet the needs of management development in Africa.

This involves working with public and private sector organisations to develop and trial various methods, said Francis Cattermole, Lecturer in Business Development (Africa).

He said: “The intention is to work closely with African trainers and academics in this programme and it will be backed up by evaluative research led by the OU and using researchers in Africa and the UK.

“The outcome is intended to be a new model of management development which is specifically fit for purpose in an African context.”

Professor Rob Paton is leading the research proposal and Francis Cattermole is the lecturer responsible for working with organisations in Africa to develop and trial possible programmes.