In 2018, the first year of our GainingEdge Scholar programme, we offered the internship opportunity to not one, but two, young and deserving scholars from Africa. Mercy Cherono Too is from Nairobi, while Stalin Tawanda Mau Mau is currently based in Bangkok, Thailand.
Scholar: Mercy Cherono Too, BSc. Events and Convention Management, Technical University of Kenya
Scholar’s Project: AfSAE (African Society of Association Executives)-GainingEdge-Greg Talley Management Research Project “Scoping out African Associations’ Potential.”
This project is divided into two phases which focus on:
- Phase 1: Building the current AfSAE database in terms of new membership and updating information on existing members.
- Phase 2: A research study on the current capacity of African associations and identifying impactful solutions with a focus on using training as a means to enhance the growth of the associations.
Mercy explains: “The project’s Vision is to provide African associations with a way to harness their potential and map out a channel for their evolution. The project aims to find out the current capacity of African associations and what factors (if any) are limiting their success. And more importantly, what can be done to further build their capacities.”
Mercy was recently elected as the Congresswoman/School Representative for the School of Hospitality and Tourism in her school. She has diverse interests but the advancement of women in Africa is a course she is very passionate about. Last year, Mercy developed a card game to be used as a facilitation tool for sexuality education in high schools across Kenya.
“I am excited about the fact that I get to do a research study that could shape the association landscape in Africa, which will go a long way in impacting the professional and economic development of people in Africa. I am happy I get to work alongside a great team at GainingEdge, in building the only current database on African associations, which makes me part of a great contribution to MICE (business events) in Africa and especially because we are connecting the African community.”
Scholar: Stalin Tawanda Mau Mau, Master of Business Administration (General Management), Stamford International University Bangkok, Thailand
This research project is a joint effort by BestCities Global Alliance, Rehabilitation International and GainingEdge for meetings organizers and the supplier community on how to remove barriers in meetings and conventions for delegates with special needs, and make these business events more inclusive. The Report will include Best Practices, Case Studies with References and Guidelines for meeting planners.
Stalin explains: “This Project aims to assist in better planning for and addressing the needs of convention visitors with disability and access issues. The research can assist policy and planning agencies in understanding the various elements that contribute to positive visitor experiences for participants with access issues and contribute to improved capacity building in the meetings industry.”
Stalin studied Hospitality in South Africa and Turkey, up to Diploma level, and then moved to Thailand where he pursued a Bachelor’s in International Business majoring in Airline & Hospitality Management and subsequently a Masters in General Management. Stalin was a winner of the IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum University Challenge in Thailand in 2014 and credits his first-ever experience at IMEX Frankfurt in 2015 for igniting his interest in the meetings industry.
“It is such a huge honor to be GainingEdge’s first Scholar, and I am very excited to be learning from and working with such industry veterans. The project is intended to be an eye opener, and indeed it has, even for me as I carry out the research. It has opened my eyes to see how we too often take for granted some of the blessings we have. By creating these guidelines, it is our hope that it will help eradicate such anomalies, as well as to bring to light the huge market potential and entrepreneurial ideas, that could benefit SME’s in many cities across the globe.”