Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Global Handwashing Day today - prevention is better than cure

The first time I heard about the LifeBuoy Global Handwashing Day was through +Vanessa Kavi, a +Unilever employee contacted me about getting volunteers. We were neck deep in planning the second edition of the yearly National Volunteer Day. Unilever was interested in supporting and wanted the +Ghana Volunteer Program to help them meet a goal. Connecting volunteers to volunteer activities is GVP’s mandate so this partnership was set. A couple of weeks later, on October 15th to be precise, on Global Handwashing Day, over 233 Ghanaians will be contributing their time and effort to help a child reach 5. Kudos to +Felix Nartey +Ela Asare +Gerald Sowah +William Osilaja Boampong +Enock Seth Nyamador and +krystabel vorsah for leading this charge.
A couple of people have successfully made me feel guilty every time I visit the loo to do the do and leave it without washing my hands. It’s become second nature for me to wash my hands as often as possible. Even if I am in the cleanest of places. Ghana isn’t the cleanest of places. In fact, the city which Ghana is emptying into and which those attracted to Ghana end up in, is amongst the dirtiest. Accra is so filthy that this narrative is overpowering its competition on Google. If we get into the habit of keeping clean, we can wash our hands off this bad reputation Ghana is gaining. We can buoy more life into our Ghana brand.

The first time I returned to Ghana after being abroad, one thing that clearly struck me was the dust. In effect, the dirt. Many people are unhappy with the cholera situation in Accra but a lot of people are not surprised. The cholera situation is losing a lost cause versus ebola, because it hasn’t really left and is as preventable as ebola is uncurable. A few young Ghanaians took initiative in the midst of the Ebola jokes and chatter, and took to the streets with #NoChoBo (No cholera & Ebola). What else do you expect from people who are committed to telling our own stories - +BloggingGhana. When we realised we were getting lost in the Ice Bucket Challenge hype, +Joselyn Dumas launched and continues to push an X-cholera campaign, fighting cholera.

Clean up exercises have became a rave that President John Mahama is bringing back good memories of Jerry John Rawlings. They were popular with National Volunteer Day activity organizers as well. Lifebuoy was there with us, cleaning up in these sanitation drives. Hand sanitizers are expensive, living a healthy lifestyle can cut cost. Beach clean-ups happened in Cape Coast, Ada, etc. The La Beach’s situation is far gone that it needs some mobilization to clean up. In preparation for this, NShoreNa led some sensitization on the issue. The same kind of mobilization is happening for Lifebuoy Global Handwashing Day - #LifeBuoyGHD. The fulfillment in volunteering will fill the void of responsibility in meeting the goals of the #Helpachildreach5 campaign.

Today, you can take charge like those mentioned above. I’ve always believed in “prevention is better than cure”. Leaders prevent, leaders act. Volunteers accept the challenge on their own will. And will will solutions to problems. Volunteer to help us get rid of preventable diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia. These diseases are the top 2 killers of children under 5. Go tweet #Helpachildreach5. Now. Does that feel fulfilling? Doing it together and at the same time with many others is powerful. This is Global Handwashing Day. Let’s help our children (and communities) live and grow. +GhanaThink Foundation’s motto is “Less Talk, More Action”. Act today and at the end of the day, you can say “I Made Globe Better Today#IMGBT.

Watch this video. YouTube Link (Tree of Life).

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The first Barcamp Bolga is here! #BcBolga

Barcamp Bolga is happening because a number of people attended Barcamps around Ghana and want Bolgatanga to be a part of building this network”. People like +Frank Bruce has been asking to be part of the team that organizes this event since last year. +Barcamp Tema team member +Leonard Hagan moved to the Upper East region for his national service and has grown into handling more responsibility with the +Barcamp Ghana team. He's really spearheading this due to his drive and knowledge of the area. +Enoch Robot Boy Appiah Junior attended UDS in Navrongo and has supported this from day one. +Joachim Danbo has great passion for the Northern parts of Ghana and he brought on +Yussuf Bouda into the team. Once the ball was rolling, +Jon Mydaz & +Daniel Yakuba joined after attending +Barcamp Tamale this year. A few more calls for team members brought us Razak Dimbie. Unfortunately, there is no lady in the team. But that's not to wait for. I am sure after Barcamp Bolga happens this Saturday, +GhanaThink Foundation will be able to recruit some ladies. We're getting close to 50-50 gender splits at Barcamps now. Yay!  I will be there this Saturday too, spreading the mission of the +GhanaThink FoundationJoin us. Check the press release below for info and registration. I'm really excited to go to Bolga for the first time! I shared these tweets.
+Barcamp Bolga 2014 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Bolgatanga, Ghana and beyond. It takes place on October 11, 2014 at the SSNIT Conference Hall in Bolga. The theme for this year is “Igniting passion to achieve excellence”.This Barcamp hopes to assemble stakeholders in Bolga to network, build a supportive enterprising community and partner to build together.

The GhanaThink Foundation has successfully organized 34 BarCamps in Ghana as part of its Barcamp Ghana program since 2008. BarCamp Bolga 2014 will be the 1st of its kind and it will showcase of entrepreneurs and innovators in the Upper East region. Discussions will center on developing various business and industry sectors in Bolgatanga and the Upper East region. It will be an event for many people who live and are interested in Bolgatanga to learn, share and network with.

The Barcamp will feature multiple user-generated breakout sessions about business, social entrepreneurship, technology and development, alongside topics relevant to the Upper East Region and beyond. There will be a speed mentoring session where mentors will give insights and answers to questions from attendees. Confirmed resource personnel include +Agana Bawa (Media man), Dr. Rockibel Adature (Motivational speaker), Kancha Joseph (Entrepreneur), Chris Akoba (Proprietor), George Afari (1st National Bank), +Albert Azongo (Journalist), +Hassan Hamadu, etc.
Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Bolga eventbrite website (barcampbolga14.eventbrite.com) or text "Barcamp Bolga [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network. BarCamp Bolga 2014 is sponsored by +Inform Ghana +BloggingGhana Nandimobile, Upright Consult, etc. Our media partners are Word FM, Ura Radio & Spy Ghana. Stay tuned via our social media. Twitter |Facebook |Google+

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The 2nd Barcamp Koforidua is here! Check #bckdua for upates

This weekend I will be in Koforidua for the 2nd +Barcamp Koforidua. It took us a while to build this team. It started with the lone ranger +Nkansah Rexford who I knew as the main brain behind +Planning Wikimedia Ghana who was joined by +Samuel Tinagyei while leveraging Facebook. +Billy James Dega supported us by introducing us to the +All Nations University College NSBE leaders. +Eric Amonoo and +Samuel Mari Twum emerged out of that. While we were promoting the National Volunteer Day on Facebook, +duncan qwame and later +Jemima Abochie joined us, repping +koforidua polytechnic. This year, another mighty lady has joined the team, +Selorm Djaba.

Last year, we focused on growing a community of change makers, This year, we focus on helping people engage their passions and monetize their opportunities. A side note for me, I'll be trying to find out in Koftown proper what the word Abocco means. But let me not digress. Barcamp Koforidua - October 4th, 2014. If you are not going to be there, #bckdua on social media is your friend. Check out the press release below.

BarCamp Koforidua 2014 is a free networking event to bring people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue about Koforidua, Ghana and beyond. The event will happen at the Engineering School at All Nations University in Koforidua on October 4, 2014. The theme is "Engaging your passions, monetizing opportunities". Barcamp Koforidua is organized primarily by the +GhanaThink Foundation, an NGO based both in Ghana and the USA, which has successfully organized 33 BarCamps in Ghana

Barcamp Koforidua 2014 is the 2nd of its kind and it aims at creating a platform for young people to share ideas on how to identify, clarify and convert opportunities into business ventures by learning to engage and leverage their passions. it also seeks to promote partnerships that are directed towards providing a support base for young entrepreneurs and innovators. We would also discuss how Koforidua and its surrounding areas can be positively affected by youth.

Barcamp Koforidua aims to assemble Koforidua stakeholders to network, build a supportive enterprising community and give birth to lasting professional partnerships. It will feature many young inspirational people based in and outside Koforidua. Confirmed mentors are Francis Torgbor Richtor (RLG)Mr Omari Koranteng (Unibank)Maxwell Borkotey Mensh (AceLife Consult)BridgetYayra Kpodo (PMAG)Godfred Kini (Capital View Hotel)Sylvanus Gatorwu (Vision Fm), etc.

Register at Barcamp Koforidua eventbrite website You can also register by sending “[Barcamp Koforidua] [Your Name] [Your Email Address] to 1945 on all mobile networks. See you there! BarCamp Koforidua 2014 is sponsored by the +All Nations University College, NSBE-Ghana, Google Ghana, +Saazaa Shoes+Inform Ghana+BloggingGhana, BlaqSheep, and Nandimobile. Media partner are +Spy Ghana and Vision 90.9 FM.

Stay tuned via our social media.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The 4th Barcamp Cape Coast is here! Check #bccapecoast for upates

Tomorrow, I will be in Cape Coast for the 4th +Barcamp Cape Coast. In 2010, +Kobe Subramaniam attended +Barcamp Takoradi. He was so inspired and motivated by the event that he led a team to organize the first Barcamp Cape Coast in November 2011. Since then, Barcamp Cape Coast has been a fixture where it happens a week after the Fetu Afahye festival in Oguaa - the local name for Cape Coast. Kobe's been supported by the likes of +kofi yeboah who he's on the +Barcamp Ghana team with. This includes +Rachel Hormeku who attended multiple Barcamps last year and is growing into more responsibility. Other leaders that have arisen out of this 4 year growth include +Papa Baffoe Aikins +Kwesi Quagraine and +William Osilaja Boampong who is now part of the +GhanaThink Foundation's +Ghana Volunteer Program team. The theme here is growth but one important theme is also that of branding. That's what Barcamp Cape Coast on September 13th, 2014 will be about. Check out the press release below.

Barcamp Cape Coast 2014 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Cape Coast, Ghana and beyond. It will take place on September 13, 2014 at the University of Cape Coast, Faculty of Education Lecture Theatre 9. The theme for this year is Enhancing development  through Corporate and Personal Branding. This event will be the 4th BarCamp in Cape Coast as it builds a network of young change makers, doers and entrepreneurs in Ghana.
The GhanaThink Foundation has successfully organized 32 BarCamps in Ghana. Barcamp Cape Coast 2014 will focus on how Ghana's youth can brand themselve as well as their corporate image. Barcamp Cape Coast will showcase how Corporate and Personal Branding would enhance the total development of the youth. There will be a focus on channeling the present energies around social media into positive developments and progress for Cape Coast and surrounding areas as well. It will be an insightful, informational and inspirational event that young people in and around Cape Coast should not miss.

The Barcamp will feature multiple user-generated breakout sessions about business, social entrepreneurship, technology and development, alongside topics relevant to the Central Region and beyond. There will be a speed mentoring session where mentors will give insights and answers to questions from attendees. Confirmed mentors include +Adwoa Adobea Owusu (Media), Patrick Agyei Nketsia (Utama GH), Richard Essuman (Digital Valley), Theodora Princella Obuam Ansah (Media Advocacy), Sarah +benewaa fosu  (Media), Patrick Acquah (Youth Advocacy), +Afua Prempeh (EPA & Mandela Washington Fellow), etc.
Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Cape Coast eventbrite website (barcampcapecoast14.eventbrite.com) or text "Barcamp Cape Coast [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network. You may also contact the BarCamp Cape Coast team through the eventbrite page for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.

BarCamp Cape Coast 2014 is sponsored by Google, +Saazaa Shoes, mPedigree, Nandimobile, etc. Our media partners are +Spy Ghana and ATL 100.5 FM. Join us to move the Central Region and Ghana forward.
Stay tuned via our social media. Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Participate in National Volunteer Day around September 21 #NVDay14

Press releases are long. I don't even know why. But you will read them if you are really interested. Or at least look for the bolded text and numbers. Otherwise, this message is pretty simple. National Volunteer Day - where many people in Ghana volunteer their skills, effort, time and money to make Ghana better around a day (or two or three) is here again. September 20-22. You can do something in your own small way. You should. You should also let us know before hand, so we promote, support, join you. Or you can join us. Interested? The details are in the press release below.
The +Ghana Volunteer Program (GVP) is a program being run by the GhanaThink Foundation, an NGO based both in Ghana and the USA. National Volunteer Day, which falls on the 21st of September is our major activity . It was instituted as part of GVP in 2013. The initiative is to get as many people as possible in Ghana to volunteer their time or do community service on the Founder’s Day Holiday. While volunteerism is not very popular and part of our society’s fabric, many individuals and organizations volunteer occasionally. National Volunteer Day is to increase these numbers and unify efforts in volunteerism in Ghana.

The mission of the +GhanaThink Foundation, a Ghana and US based NGO, is to mobilize talent and support idea generation to projects and ventures. Through our Barcamps, we have built a network of over 5500 Ghanaian change makers, doers and entrepreneurs through events in Ghana. We want to use this network and other channels to build a bigger network of volunteers in Ghana. We believe volunteerism is the heart of community development.

We want to encourage more people to do community service within Ghana. That’s the same spirit our founding fathers engendered within our citizenry. By having volunteer or community service activities around September 21, we would be cherishing the ideals of founding Ghana and joining a national effort to work for Ghana. Volunteering demonstrates initiative and hard work, two ideals that many organizations look for while hiring. We believe that by participating in NVDay, participants would be building their CVs.
We expect at least 233 different activities on the day. You can find info about these activities and more onbit.ly/nvday14. If you need more info on what to do or how to contribute to National Volunteer Day, visit the same link. Interested groups,organizations and individuals should register/RSVP at the National volunteer Day eventbrite website (nvday14.eventbrite.com). Different individuals and organizations have planned volunteer activities for September 21st. Go to http://bit.ly/nvday14 to find  about activities and  more.

You can see various photos from NVDay13 etc on the Ghana Volunteer Program Facebook & Google+ pages. Most of the promotion and adoption of Nvday13 was driven via online and social media channels with some radio and television support. 56 activities were registered on Eventbrite, mostly by individuals and groups that were organizing volunteering activities for the first time. For NVDay 2013, about 40 activities with about 300 volunteers involved happened. Their activities directly impacted the lives of thousands of people. These activities happened in +Accra, +Tema, Nsawam, +Kasoa, +Cape Coast, +Takoradi, +Kumasi, +Koforidua, Saltpond, +Tamale and +Wa. Activities ranged from skills training programs, clean up exercises, tutoring in a particular course, reading clinics for kids, blood donation drives, creating playing grounds for kids in the government schools to painting schools and faded zebra crossings. The impact on the volunteers and beneficiaries was massive and was captured on social media.

GVP has supported the volunteer work of many organizations in Ghana. It provided the recent Agribusiness bootcamp in Accra with volunteers. It also provided 23 volunteers for the Chale Wote Street Art Festival.It supported the Read Aloud Ghana campaign in March 2014 with media publicity as well. It has a calendar of volunteer activities in Ghana as well. Follow us on Twitter. Contact the team via volunteer at ghanathink dot org

How did you hear about THIS (Barcamp Ghana) event?

One of my favorite things to do at Barcamps and in fact, events in general that I attend or have a vested interest in, is how they heard about a particular event. As someone who is part of a team that organizes many events via the +GhanaThink Foundation, I want to know what's effective and efficient across every thing we do. Working hard is good, working smart is better.

At +Barcamp Tamale 2014, we asked a similar question. How many people heard about this event from Facebook? A good number of people raised their hand. "How many of you heard about this event from Twitter?" A smaller umber but still respectable number of people had their hands up. One of the participants shouted "Whatsapp". It is allowed. So we asked accordingly. A surprisingly good number of hands went up. Much fewer hands went up when we asked about radio. Even fewer for email or from a website. A good number of attendees heard about the event from their friends - for me, the most important and trusted source. TV? There are a lot of good things to gain from having the event promoted on TV, but not at the expense of the cost. No, thank you.

The Whatsapp bit is very intriguing. Since early 2013, Whatsapp has been the medium for organizing our +Barcamp Ghana events. Physical meetings have reduced to the barest minimum and things are still getting done. Similarly, we decided to create normal and colorful Whatsapp messages with which to market the Barcamps and get people to register and come. They are not the kinds of memes that spread like wildfire on Whatsapp but they move and are essentially effective. We expect to do the same for more Barcamps within the +Barcamp Ghana program to come.

Every year for Barcamp Tamale, the organizing team debates about marketing the Barcamp on radio. I am not a fan of paying the money for LPMs and interviews to promote an event. It's not shown the relevant results. So we always try to get these as part of a media partnership. There is ownership in this. We have had Barcamps with over 300 people in attendance without the benefit of traditional media. It is happening in Accra today, but it will also happen in Tamale soon.

You might be wondering why the focus on social media when a small percentage of Ghanaians are on it? Guess what - the most influential, innovative and inspirational young people in Ghana are on it. It's the best place to grow something that will be rooted and will last. We are building a network of young changemakers, doers and entrepreneurs in Ghana. It's important that it grows organically and from a point out. It must be driven by media that is social, sources that are familiar and people that are trusted. It is slow, but effective. It is small, but social. It is about publicity, but also who and where you heard it from. +Barcamp Cape Coast is this weekend. I'd be asking the same question. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Growing Kumasi Konnect (team, initiative and events)

The Kumasi Konnect initiative is growing. When we first promoted it, a gentleman called +joseph osei emailed us saying - "My name is joseph, i work with Ultimate Radio, and I will like to be involve in the Kumasi Konnect initiative". I knew of Joseph, because I had seen him email the +BloggingGhana mailing list and knew he lived in Kumasi. I was really happy that he approached us about getting involved in #KumasiKonnect. I knew what exactly we wanted him to do, since he was with Ultimate Radio and was a blogger he'd help us with marketing. After finally reaching him via Twitter, the team asked him to recap the first event. He came back with a post that talked about the first event which featured Frank Boateng and the second (upcoming event) featuring Valerie Okudzeto. Foresight. Get tickets for tickets for this one at Ego Tickets.

Below is the press release he wrote and circulated amongst many websites (albeit edited a bit). I love Joseph's vim, he's had this published in more places than I'm normally able to. He'll work well with +Rasheeda Yehuza+priscilla sarfo-frimpong and +Prince Boadu as +kofi yeboah and myself play more of a supportive role. We have a few other volunteers who will take on bigger roles as the initiative grows within the +GhanaThink Foundation. We have the locally based Butterfly Media on board for photos & videos as well as Nasara Mobile for SMS communication as well as +mFriday's Tech Hub as venue. Eager to sign up our very first cash sponsors.
A group of entrepreneurs and innovators will be converging again in Kumasi to connect at pience share and build together. If you missed out on the maiden edition of the Kumasi Konnect program at the KNUST Campus, then don’t miss out on this. You will have another opportunity to meet deep thinking and influential youth to interact, share ideas and motivate to propel you for the corporate world. The maiden edition held on 25th July 2014, had Mr. Frank Boateng, who spoke on "Turning Passion into Business". Mr. Frank Boateng is a Serial Entrepreneur, Executive VP for XP Resources LLC in Houston USA and Country MD for EquipXP Mining and Construction Ghana Ltd.

The networking was great with many proposing the meeting should be held every month. Participants said Kumasi Konnect created opportunities for skills development and application among the youth. The participants were inspired by Mr. Frank’s diligence towards his dreams and his utmost hard work in turning his ideas and passion into a business.

Interactions led to new opportunities for collaboration among attendees. We hope that the new social capital forged would spark projects that would be of benefit to communities. The participants contributed and shared their personal entrepreneurial experiences, challenges they face and how they are overcoming those challenges as well as asking thought provoking questions which culminated into meaningful discussions.

Valerie Okudzeto, CEO of Clean Team Ghana, will speak at the second edition of Kumasi Konnect on the topic "Leveraging Opportunities for Personal Development", and the event is slated for 4th September, 2014 at KNUST's Tech Hub. The Mandela Washington Fellow will draw from her personal and professional experiences; including key innovative interventions by Clean Team in addressing the problem of sanitation in Kumasi. She will also share experiences from the recent Mandela Washington Fellowship at the White House.

The overall objective of Kumasi Konnect is; to empower the youth to learn how to develop public policies to solve community problems, also, to learn how citizens can have power to monitor and influence public policy making in the community and develop intellectual and participatory skills that promote authentic research, critical thinking, effective communication and reflective thinking.
Kumasi Konnect is an initiative by the GhanaThink Foundation and sponsored by the TechHub in KNUST. This meet-up hosts about 40 young energetic and innovative mind in Kumasi each time. This event series will further commune the network built out of Barcamp Kumasi. Kumasi Konnect series will further commune the network built out of Barcamp Kumasi. The event will also bring together innovators and doers in Kumasi, to interact and share ideas that have the propensity for social and economic impact. Stay tuned via +Barcamp Kumasi on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ or the #KumasiKonnect hashtag.

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