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.
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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.

Kreating Kumasi Konnect

Sometime last year, +kofi yeboah had an idea for a monthly meetup. He had returned from Kenya where he attended the Amani Institute and was brimming with ideas. I admired Kofi, he reminded me of myself when I was younger. To a great extent, that's probably only because he is younger than me. I've known him since +Barcamp Cape Coast 2011 and he's grown into being more awesome, aspirational and inspirational. I wasn't surprised when he sought to organize a monthly event for social entrepreneurs in Accra. Today, that idea has given birth to Kumasi Konnect and a lot more like it are about to follow. Watch this space.

Kofi ended up moving to Kumasi late last year to start his national service with +Clean Team Ghana. Today, he's traveling to Singapore to represent Clean Team at the BOP Convention Expo. I've heard many great things about Singapore from friends like +Curtis Vanderpuije and I know Kofi will come back and share a lot of great experiences. Last year, he was selected to attend the Preparing Global Leader Academy. Via the +GhanaThink Foundation, we supported him to raise the money he needed to go to Jordan as well. I was impressed with how he took charge of the process and drove the campaign to raise the money. He's a very driven young man.

Earlier this year, I was thinking about the lack of networking amongst the entrepreneurial community in Oseikrom. Again. I remembered Kofi's meetup idea and told him we should pilot this in Kumasi. I've been part of the +Global Shapers Accra Hub's Accra Discourse and I was itching to see something similar happen in Kumasi, and in fact, around the country. I'd also seen the +mFriday group at Tech grow quieter with their regular meetings also absent. We needed to fill the void in between +Barcamp Kumasi events. So we came up with the meetup idea and eventually called it Kumasi Konnect.

We spoke with the Kumasi team for GhanaThink and selected a couple of volunteers. Soon enough, the team was formed. Kofi, +Rasheeda Yehuza+Prince Boadu+priscilla sarfo-frimpong and myself. We approached +mFriday Ghana to host the first event at the Tech Hub in KNUST and they agreed. Prince brought on Frank Boateng as the very first speaker. We were able to secure pre- and post event interviews with Ultimate Radio in Kumasi, who had supported +Barcamp Kumasi 2013 through +kojo akoto boateng's work. We had a press release and sold (free) tickets via Ego Tickets, using a Ghanaian made answer to Eventbrite, built by +Alfred Rowe.

The first event went really well. We hosted about 60 people on June 25, 2014. The budget was GHC 350. We can surely do more of these meetups for an even smaller amount. Frank Boateng gave a great speech and set the tone for more conversations. You can see a Storify story capturing Frank's soundbites, etc. Planning for the next is underway with Valerie Okudzeto (nee Labi), the CEO of Clean Team Ghana and a Mandela Washington Fellow speaking next on September 4, 2014. You can get tickets for this one at Ego Tickets as well. As usual, the hashtag is #KumasiKonnect. This is where I should say that similar events are coming to Cape Coast and Koforidua soon (already being planned) and also to Tamale after discussions at +Barcamp Tamale.

I was really proud of the team that put this together. Priscilla was getting involved in something of this nature for the first time and acquitted herself well. Rasheeda has been involved in +Tech Needs Girls Gh & already runs her own Nasara Mobile firm which supported Kumasi Konnect with SMS communication. Prince is the convenor of TEDx KNUST at which I spoke once. And you know about Kofi Yeboah already. He's taken over leadership of the +Barcamp Ghana program from me alongside +Kobe Subramaniam+Senam Aseye Bridget  +Leonard Hagan and +Rachel Hormeku. He's growing in stature just like the people I've mentioned in this blog and am excited to see them become more influential and excellent. The critical mass is growing and it has multiple champions. And we're konnecting as well. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Excited about Barcamp Tamale on August 23, 2014

bctamalelink.png
The first time I went to Tamale was for +Barcamp Tamale 2011. Ever since then, I always look forward to visiting again. When there is the opportunity to meet the young movers and shakers, the young changemakers, doers and entrepreneurs there, it is a huge added bonus. That's what Barcamp Tamale is about. If you are in or around Tamale, you can't miss this event on August 23rd. If you can't be there, tell someone who can. Stay tuned to the hashtag #bctamale. Kudos to the organizing team of +Mohammed Muntasir Nashiru +Yakubu H.Yakubu +Kwaching Jessica +maccarthy lomotey +Enoch Robot Boy Appiah Junior +Peter Awin with the able support of +Leonard Hagan +kofi yeboah +Kobe Subramaniam and the +Barcamp Ghana team of the +GhanaThink Foundation.
Barcamp Tamale 2014 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Tamale, Ghana and beyond. It will take place on August 23, 2014 in Tamale. The theme for this year is Harnessing the development potential in Northern Ghana through entrepreneurship and innovation.This Barcamp hopes to assemble stakeholders to network, build a supportive enterprising community and partner to build together.

The GhanaThink Foundation has successfully organized 31 BarCamps in Ghana as part of its Barcamp Ghana program since 2008. BarCamp Tamale 2014 will be a showcase of entrepreneurs and innovators in the Northern region. Discussions will center on developing various business and industry sectors in Tamale and the Northern region. It will be an event for many people who live and are interested in Tamale 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 Northern 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 Rabi Salifu (ProNet), Naana Fatima Mohammed (FarmCare), +Chris Daniels (Development News Africa), Abdul Washeed (Northern Scope), +Mash Codjoe (Writer & Social Media), Rashida Aduni Ganiyu & +Hikmat baba dua (MILEAD Fellows), +Shani Mahama (Driinic), +Senyo Kpelly (SEKAF Ghana), etc

Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Tamale eventbrite website (barcamptamale14.eventbrite.com) or text "Barcamp Tamale [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network.. You may also contact the BarCamp Tamale 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 Tamale 2014 is sponsored by GhanaThink Foundation, Google, mPedigree, Nandimobile, etc. Our media partners are Spy Ghana, Northern Scope. Join us to move the Northern Region and Ghana forward.
Stay tuned via our social media. Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Monday, August 11, 2014

Appliquer Pour la Tech Camp Ouest Africaine avant son échéance imminente

I haven't released my Togolese alter-ego. My friend Thelma gave me some helpful material to learn French but my fluency is nowhere close to what it could be. So allow me to start off this blog post with some more English. Or you can skip it all to the French part. I have already given you great info with the title of this blog post :-)
It's very exciting for us at the GhanaThink Foundation to partner with the US Embassy in Ghana to organize TechCamp West Africa. Sounds a lot like Barcamp right? Yeah. You can learn more about multiple Tech Camps done all over the world at this website and at this wiki. Tech Camp West Africa will bring together some of the most influential, innovative and impactful young people in West Africa for a weekend of ideas, actions and projects.
GhanaThink and the US Embassy in Ghana look forward to all the cool things that will happen this weekend of November 14-16.

We're looking for applicants, as this is open to citizens of Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin, Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia. If you meet the criteria, go ahead and apply today. The deadline is this Friday! This TechCamp promises to be full of action, with great value to all the participants and the various initiatives they are involved in. Read the press release below.
CampTech Régionale
Vous avez entre 25 - 35 ans et vous croyez-vous que votre génération peut servir de catalyseur pour la création d'emplois. Vous avez aussi réalisé des changements positifs dans votre quartier ou dans votre communauté et vous êtes prêts à faire partie d'une grande communauté. Vous êtes du Bénin, du Burkina Faso, du Ghana, de la Côte-d'Ivoire, du Libéria, du Nigeria, et du Togo, nous aimerions avoir de vos nouvelles.

GhanaThink en collaboration avec l’Ambassade des États unis au Ghana organise un Camping de la Technologie (TechCamp West Africa) pour l’Áfrique de l’Ouest, à Accra, Ghana. Ce camping, qui aura lieu du 14 au 16 novembre 2014, vise à répondre aux inquiétudes majeures de la jeunesse dans la sous-région – « Le Chômage et la Créa tion d’Emploi ».

Notre objectif en tant que chercheurs de solutions est de créer et de développer un réseau permanent d’agents de changement en vue d’augmenter la communication et la coordination régionale, et surtout le commerce à travers l’Afrique de l’Ouest.

Ensemble avec des experts du secteur privé, les 100 participants sélectionnés exploreront les obstacles à la croissance de petites entreprises et partager les bonnes pratiques pour les entrepreneurs privés et sociaux à fin de résoudre les défis régionaux à travers le partage des idées, la collaboration, le partenariat et l’apprentissage. Curieux(se)? Vous n’avez qu’à vous inscrire sur notre site www.techcampwestafrica.org avant le 15 août 2014 pour participer au TechCamp West Africa.

Venez partager, explorer, et construire avec nous au TechCamp West Africa. Pour plus d’information, aller sur www.techcaampwestafrica.org ou contacter GhanaThink via Twitter @GhanaThink ou l’Ambassade des États-Unis, Ghana @USEmbassyGhana. 

Informations générales: Des dizaines de TechCamp de par le monde entier ont réuni des représentants du secteur privé et de la société civile pour trouver des solutions aux défis communautaires. Ils sont uniques en ce qu’à la fin de l'événement, les voix de la société civile sont reliées à des réseaux internationaux de technologues, de parrains et de bénévoles numériques intéressés à aider à mettre en œuvre des solutions retrouvées.

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