Award for Cardiff Met Librarians

Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Library department has scooped a national award and trophy for the ‘I love DocDel’ initiative.

The prize was won thanks to the efforts of leading women at the university formerly called UWIC, namely Geraldine Houlihan, Marie Lancaster, Carol James, Ana Luengo-Martinez, who all form part of the Document Delivery Working Group.

The prize is welcomed news for the university in terms of improving equality of access, as it was recently found that as many as 41 students who disclosed a disability had been withdrawn from their course.

TOP WOMEN: Geraldine Houlihan, Marie Lancaster, Carol James, Ana Luengo-Martinez (Left-Right) accept a prize on behalf of the Document Delivery Working Group at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Courtesy: Obtained from a Cardiff Metropolitan University news release.
TOP WOMEN: Geraldine Houlihan, Marie Lancaster, Carol James, Ana Luengo-Martinez (Left-Right) accept a prize on behalf of the Document Delivery Working Group at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Courtesy: Obtained from a Cardiff Metropolitan University news release.

Emma Adamson is Head of Library Division at Cardiff Met. “We are delighted that Marie Lancaster and the Library Services document delivery group have been recognised and have won the higher education category at this year’s CyMAL Innovation Awards, for the ‘I love doc del’ campaign,” she said. “The campaign has made a real difference in terms of the Library document delivery offer and uptake within the University: in promoting the service of e-requesting from the British Library and direct to desktop delivery of research materials; all informed by staff and student feedback.
It is gratifying that this excellent work has been recognised both within and outside of the University; and is truly well deserved.

‘Serious failings’ at Dyfed Powys Police

MODEL CITIZEN: Model and Care Worker Graham Edwards whistleblew on poor treatment of care home tenants. Courtesy: Graham Edwards
MODEL CITIZEN: Model and Care Worker Graham Edwards whistleblew on poor treatment of care home tenants. Courtesy: Graham Edwards

Serious failings led to a Carmarthen man’s prosecution it has been found. Graham Edwards, 34, was convicted at Llanelli Magistrates Court following a series of blunders by Dyfed Powys Police and Hywel Dda Health Board.

Edwards had an unblemished career up until this point, working for Hwyel Dda NHS Trust in 2008 with a clear criminal records check. Things quickly deteriorated however, when Edwards reported wrongdoings at the trust, leading to his dismissal.

It is thought that the evidence of female janitor Hazel Hullock, which was dismissed by the court, was fabricated in order to frame Edwards because of his whistleblowing in the past about her colleagues.

Defending himself, Edwards said he felt let down by the authorities. “I feel they have completed failed to meet and address my emotional needs time and time again,” he said. “I went to see Ken Lloyd at the resource centre for help this one afternoon, but he wasn’t there.
Instead I was presented with Lyn Carter, whose superior I previously whistle-blew on, who kicked me in my testicles and man-handled me to the ground.

Edwards, already in a terrified state was then challenged by PC Stuart Mann 553 and PC Thomas, who is it thought both threatened Edwards. “Instead of helping me, the police sided with Lyn Carter, cracking my head open,” Edwards said. “I had prior dealings with PC Stuart Mann when I have needed help because of my disability, and each time PC Stuart Mann’s behaviour towards me has gone worse and worse.

Edwards remains defiant. “I did nothing wrong as all I wanted was help,” he said. “I feel victimised by the police and Hywel Dda Health Trust, just because I whistleblew on how they mistreated patients when I used to work for them.

Llanelli Magistrates Court were unable to comment.

Anti-bullying blanket makes stop at legislative building to mark pink shirt day

Working together and providing tools for parents, teachers and students are the keys to ending bullying, Education and Advanced Learning Minister James Allum said today at the Legislative Building, where he welcomed a group of Brandon students who displayed a bus-sized anti-bullying blanket in recognition of national Pink Shirt Day.

“We all share a responsibility to create safe schools where students feel respected and able to reach their full potential,” said Minister Allum. “The Manitoba government is pleased to support this community initiative to raise awareness of anti-bullying efforts, which is in keeping with our commitment to protect students and ensure safe environments that foster understanding and inclusion.”

Brandon University’s Anti-Bullying Society has been gathering signatures on the blanket for over a year. Since then, more than 7,000 people have signed it and the blanket is big enough to wrap around a school bus. The blanket, which took over 70 hours to create, measures 32 by 42 feet and uses approximately 14,000 ft. of thread.

“The goal of the anti-bullying blanket is to bring awareness of the need for more effective anti-bullying programming in schools for children under the age of 12,” said Krystal Kane, chair of the Brandon University Anti-Bullying Society. “It signifies security and comfort, and that’s what we want for all children. It’s also an opportunity for people to offer words of encouragement to those being bullied so they know they’re not alone.”

Recognition of Pink Shirt Day is happening all across the country and the idea came from two Nova Scotia teens who saw another student being bullied because he was wearing a pink shirt. They encouraged their classmates to wear pink shirts to take a stand against bullying and their idea has since spread across the country.

“Pink Shirt Day reminds us that bystanders can make a difference,” said Minister Allum. “I congratulate everyone taking part in this day for taking a stand against bullying.”

Manitoba’s anti-bullying action plan includes:

introducing a new provincial code of conduct with clear and appropriate disciplinary consequences for bullying incidents;
providing new resources and supports to educate parents, teachers and students to help them identify, prevent and deal with bullying;
continuing to support the Safe Schools Advisory Council, which is a unique partnership between the provincial government, schools, law enforcement, social service agencies, parent councils, professional associations and community agencies; and
hosting the second annual Safe and Caring Schools Provincial Leadership Forum with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to bring together students, teachers, administrators and experts to share strategies on preventing and addressing cyberbullying.

For further information please visit: http://news.gov.mb.ca

South Wales Visiting Professor awarded OBE

A Visiting Professor of the University of South Wales has been awarded an OBE for services to nursing and nursing research.

HONOURED: Professor Sue Bale awarded OBE from the Queen.
HONOURED: Professor Sue Bale awarded OBE from the Queen.

Professor Sue Bale, director of research and development at Aneurin Bevan Health Board, was awarded the accolade in the New Year Honours list. As part of her role, Professor Bale leads, co-ordinates and oversees research in the health board, and has a career in wound healing research spanning almost 30 years.

A founding member of the Wound Healing Research Unit in Cardiff, she helped establish the European Wound Management Association, and the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. She has also worked for the Welsh Government on clinical academic career pathways, and developed policy for building research capacity and career paths for nurses and allied health professionals.

Professor Bale said: “I’m absolutely thrilled and delighted to receive an OBE. I’ve had a fantastic career in nursing over the past 38 years. It has been a privilege to be a nurse and to contribute to nursing research, practice and education.”

‘Deep concern’ over continuing fall in part-time student numbers

The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) has expressed deep concern over figures published by the Government’s Higher Education Statistics Agency showing a 26 per cent drop in part-time student enrolments in the 2012-13 academic year. This continues a downwards trend over the past few years.

Professor Les Ebdon is Director of Fair Access to Higher Education. “I am deeply concerned by the continuing decline in part-time enrolments,” he said. “Part-time students are more likely to come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
They’re also more likely to be mature students already in work, upskilling to improve their current and future employability.
Any downturn in their numbers is therefore likely to have serious repercussions on the competitiveness of our economy. Confirmation of the continued downwards trend is all the more worrying in the light of continued media speculation over the future of the Student Opportunity allocation distributed on behalf of the Government by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
This funding helps to support the very universities that do the most for social mobility and for part-time and mature students.
OFFA is encouraging universities and colleges to promote part-time study in their outreach work in disadvantaged communities, to give clear information about the financial help that’s available for part-time students, and to explain the many different ways to get onto a course even if you don’t have formal qualifications.
We’re also asking them to ensure they offer courses that are flexible enough to fit in with students’ other responsibilities.
Employers can help in this by partnering with universities to design courses and by being flexible enough to enable staff to study.
Higher education can be a life-changing opportunity, and no one who has the ability to go to university should be excluded from doing so because they have a job or a family to look after.
I hope all universities, colleges and other higher education organisations will join me in putting the needs of part-time students at the heart of their thinking.

Two Welsh Computer Games Design Graduates named in Develop’s 30 Under 30 List

Two Computer Games Design graduates of the University of South Wales, Daniel Da Rocha and Luke Williams have been listed in this year’s 30 Under 30 list compiled by Develop, the games development magazine and website.

Beating competition from both sides of the Atlantic, the graduates were named in the annual round up of ‘ones to watch’ in games development. Develop handpicked a selection of programmers, entrepreneurial leaders and indie stars to acknowledge the finest in young games development talent.

Luke Williams, a graduate from USW’s Computer Games Design degree in 2008, now works for BOSSA Studios UK as one of their many talented Games Designers.  He co-designed the company’s flagship game, Surgeon Simulator which has sold almost half a million copies.

Daniel Da Rocha, who graduated from USW in 2010, is now the Managing Director of the hugely successful Mudvark, which produces HTML5 games for mobile and the web. Daniel started Toxic Games straight out of University in 2010 with the help of a US based Indie Fund and released his first game calledQUBE. He set up Mudvark in 2012 and its debut game, Mortar Melon has already received over 800,000 downloads.

Daniel commented, “It is an honour to be listed in the sixth annual 30 under 30 list and it’s great to be receiving recognition for what I have achieved. I have a passion for designing and developing computer games and am truly grateful for the skills and knowledge I gained at the University of South Wales. It gave me the platform needed to be successful in the games design industry.”

To find out more about Animation, Games and Visual Effects at the University of South Wales go to www.southwales.ac.uk/animation

African academics in conference call

The equitable participation of women in government and politics is essential to building and sustaining genuine democracy. That was a message to students at the first ever African focused Women in Government and Politics conference entitled “Increasing the Numbers: Access and Progress.” This was the maiden edition of the Women in Government & Politics Conference took place at the Central Hall Westminster, between12-13 November 2013.

The conference began with an opening ceremony at the House of Commons on Day 1. Students and other delegates were encouraged to seize the opportunity as change drivers in Sub-saharan West Africa. Conference convenor, Mrs Winihin Ayuli-Jemide, welcomed the diverse attendees to the centre of UK policy making and debate. “Importantly, we have students, young girls. And one young man,” she told the conference. “This is particularly important to me, because we cannot have this conversation without succession planning.

ALL ACADEMIC: Students inspired by maiden conference. Courtesy: Women in Government and Politics Conference
ALL ACADEMIC: Students inspired by maiden conference. Courtesy: Women in Government and Politics Conference

The students who attended the conference walked away filled with new enthusiasm for a better world. Doctoral student and conference facilitator, Zainab Usman, is reading International Development in the Department of International Development, at the University of Oxford. “I had the privilege of facilitating one of the group discussions which involved some of the policy makers, academics and activists in attendance,” she said. “The practical recommendations proposed included the need for constitutional safeguards and quotas, value re-orientation among both men and women using the media, building support networks among women, supporting existing civil society initiatives and building a resource base, such as the African Women’s Development Fund.” A manifesto document is being prepared based on the agreed outputs from the delegates of the conference. Another key outcome is the campaign to generate 1 Million Signatures online, to advocate for more women in government and politics. The campaign is well underway. Every woman, from every country and from every walk of life is invited to sign up for this history making drive that will see better socio-economic outcomes for many nations of the world through the appointment or election of more women.

More information on the Women in Government and Politics Conference can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/wigpconferences

Students ignite progress

While the men in suits surround Parliament in defence of its traditions, a new generation of students were in Parliament to put forward the case for more women in politics and government. Westminster Cathedral was taken by storm with the maiden Winihin Jemide Series conference, which brought together women from about 22 countries. The conference, “Women in Government and Politics 2013 – Africa Edition,” had its opening ceremony take place in the House of Commons.

One of the attendees was Zainab Ushman, who is a DPhil student in International Development at the University of Oxford. “African women have made remarkable strides in positions of leadership and authority across the continent,” she said. “This has been especially evident with the wave of democratization over the past two decades.
Women now occupy presidential seats in Liberia and Malawi, foreign ministry portfolios in Rwanda, Kenya and Somalia, the leadership of the African Union and many other positions hitherto regarded as the exclusive domain of men.

African women in dialogue in Westminster. Courtesy: Women in Government and Politics Conference.
DIRECT DEMOCRACY: African women in dialogue in Westminster. Courtesy: Women in Government and Politics Conference.

There is still more to be done, however. Mrs Winihin Ayuli-Jemide is founder of The Winihin Jemide Series and the Women in Government and Politics conference organiser. She says this is only the first of many conferences. “The Women in Government and Politics conference will boldly explore issues and concepts surrounding women’s increased involvement in Africa’s political arena with consideration given to succession planning and the next generation,” she said. “This will be an annual conference aimed at raising the global profile of the growing role women play in the heart of African public life.

Another speaker at the conference, Mr Simon Wooley, a self-described activist and Director of the UK-based Operation Black Vote, sought to rally the conference behind its cause. “We are not asking for justice, we are not asking for race equality, we are demanding it,” he said. “And we will use our electoral clout, to decide whether you win or whether you lose.” The conference was left inspired by the Honorable Proscovia Alengot, who is the Ugandan Member of Parliament for Usuk County Katakwi District. “When I was a child I always wanted to become one of the most important people in the country,” she told delegates. “I said I would be someone important in this country, but I was really so ambitious that it was a dream, but a dream that became true.
My dad died, and I took over from him, and who of you could take on being in politics one week after your dad or mother’s death?” she asked. “If your dad was a politician, you could still have that pain in you, as I had a pain in me, but I said no. “I looked at the young children we had – we had eight in the family and I was the second one. But I had to take the courage, and I told my mum, ‘I don’t want you to cry, everything is okay, because I am going to stand as a Member of Parliament.” One might argue that the only question young people could ask is; “What type of activist should I become, and when can I next stand for my national parliament?

A manifesto document is being prepared based on the key agreed outputs from the delegates of the conference. Another key outcome is the campaign to generate 1 Million Signatures online, to advocate for more women in government and politics. The campaign is well underway. Every woman, from every country and from every walk of life is invited to sign up for this history making drive that will see better socio-economic outcomes for many nations of the world through the appointment or election of more women.

More information on the Women in Government and Politics Conference can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/wigpconferences

Supporting African women

More than 20 countries in the world today have a woman holding office as the head of a national government. But as delegates at a recent conference at the House of Commons in London discovered, whilst the global participation rate of women in national-level parliaments is gradually improving, there is still a lot to be done.

The Winihin Jemide Series conference sees its role as a change driver in Sub-saharan West Africa. It drew together about 22 countries in Africa to what was described as an “extremely significant gathering.” The conference brought together academics, students and others in the field in order to help inspire better public policy and to capture their views in a participant-led manifesto taken from those views expressed at the maiden edition of the Women in Government & Politics Conference series.

Women in Government and Politics Conference - African Delegates
DELEGATED POWERS: Some of the attendees of the Women in Government and Politics conference. Courtesy: Women in Government and Politics Conference.

The aim of the two-day conference was to articulate steps and concepts that will make government leaders, law makers and academics, who jointly influence policy, to support an increase in female numbers and to begin succession planning for young African women. “We need to pull up as many women as possible up the ladder and put aside petty grievances and nuances” was the message of Dr. Diezani Alison Madueke, the Nigerian Minister for Petroleum Resources, who delivered her message to the conference delegates. “We must educate, empower and mentor more of our women, it goes without saying, to ensure that they have the compelling attributes and capabilities that make us as good as anyone else that may be considered to occupy any job or any office,” she stated.

Sponsors of the conference included the Onboarding Impact Consultancy, a Nigerian owned public sector and soft-skills training firm. “As a sponsor of the first Women in Government and Politics Conference we are honoured to have had the opportunity to support the efforts of the Winihin Jemide Series in their drive to Increase the Numbers through Access and Progress for women participation at all levels of Government and Politics,” a spokesperson said. “We look forward to playing a bigger role in the next edition of the WIGP Conference.
We believe through our collective participation we can make a significant difference for this and future generations.

Also attending the conference was Jessica Jemila Kawra, otherwise known as Miss Tourism Ghana 2013. Forming a key part of the conference’s breakout sessions, Miss Kawra explains why taking part in the conference was so essential. “Part of my mission as Miss Tourism 2013 is to encourage Ghanaian girls to aspire to be leaders, no matter the area of endeavour they find themselves in,” she said.

The conference left women inspired and motivated, all knowing that sex equality is not something that could happen in the future, but something that can only happen in the present. “You cannot really achieve anything unless you have gender equality, because gender equality and progress, and the eradication of poverty are inextricably linked,” was how the anchor for the BBC World News service, Zeinab Badawi, put it.

More information on the Women in Government and Politics Conference can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/wigpconferences

African women at the heart of government and politics

It only takes a thought, it only takes a vision, it only takes a moment says Mrs. Winihin Ayuli-Jemide. Courtesy: Women in Government and Politics Conference.
POSITIVE THINKING: It only takes a thought, it only takes a vision, it only takes a moment says Mrs. Winihin Ayuli-Jemide. Courtesy: Women in Government and Politics Conference.

Congresses across the world have made efforts to increase female participation in government and politics. It is often thought to be more challenging for women to access and exercise these rights, particularly in the African Continent. But one recent conference in London has sought to challenge this perspective.

The African edition of the Women in Government and Politics Conference was held in the House of Commons in November 2013, running with the theme, “Increasing the Numbers: Access and Progress.

Its convener, Mrs Winihin Jemide, shared her vision with the conference that was made up of a convergence of women drawn from the 5 Regions of Africa, who were already active in public politics. The conference objective was to agree on the core themes and resolutions that will be adopted into a manifesto document. Mrs Winihin Jemide, whom this series of conferences is named after, believes that the time to start thinking about change is now. “It is time, therefore, for us to bring our strengths together, and it only takes a thought, it only takes a vision, it only takes a moment,” she told the conference delegates at the opening ceremony in the House of Commons. “It is time for us to begin to articulate, in a cohesive fashion or manner, the sorts of stories we’ll be handing over to leaders of government, to allow them to sit up and listen.

The conference has the full support of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of Nigeria. “The subject matter in question is one that is close to my heart,” he said. “I have persistently driven to advance the cause of women, in all levels throughout my time in government. As part of my transformation agenda, and as a deliberate policy move, I have ensured that over 30 per cent of positions in my government have been given to women.
My administration has also seen the highest office being held for the first time by a woman.
As I stated in January 2013, I personally view the appointment of these women as the beginning of a very positive era of politics in our country.

POSITIVE POLITICS: 30% of government positions in the Nigerian Government are held by women says President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Courtesy: Women in Government and Politics Conference.
POSITIVE POLITICS: 30% of government positions in the Nigerian Government are held by women says President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Courtesy: Women in Government and Politics Conference.

The conference’s manifesto document, which is delegate led, is being put together by Dr Nic Cheeseman of Jesus College at the University of Oxford with the collaboration of School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. The manifesto will be based on 25 key points agreed by conference delegates, and will be directed to Heads of Government.

The conference has already won plaudits from African governments. Malawi’s President Joyce Banda, stated that more women need to take front row seats in Government and Politics. “I believe this Conference is taking place at such a time where more women are needed than ever before in elected and appointed offices,” she said.

Another key outcome of the conference is the campaign to generate 1 Million Signatures online, to advocate for more women in government and politics. The campaign is well underway. Every woman, from every country and from every walk of life is invited to sign up for this history making drive that will see better socio-economic outcomes for many nations of the world through the appointment or election of more women.