Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bringing Tema together and building industries for its communities

The first +Barcamp Tema at Central University College (CUC) in Miotso near Tema went very well and created impact in many lives. Especially the 31 or so Ketasco students who attended and where their interest and the impact the event had on them created what is now the +Junior Camp Ghana program. People wondered aloud why Barcamp Tema had to be organized in Prampram or a place outside Tema. +Felix Nartey and +Leonard Hagan, after attending +Barcamp Ghana 2011, were very interested in bringing a +Barcamp Ghana event to their school (CUC). There had already been calls to have a Barcamp Tema, to cater for those who lived in Tema and especially for those living in Accra who couldn't wait till December for the next +Barcamp Accra. A lot of Tema conversations ensued at the Barcamp, just the way it was meant to be.

I felt that the next Barcamp Tema had to be held in Tema proper so when the Rotary Centre was mentioned as a potential venue by team member +Senam Aseye Bridget (who's coincidentally celebrating a birthday today), we had a good opportunity. We were able to have Barcamp Tema hosted at the Rotary Centre in Tema on August 10, 2013 thanks to a partnership with the Rotaract Club of Tema. Maxwell Seshie, the club president, joined the team with Felix (who is a Tema native), Leonard and Senam, as well as the returning +ELOM ALFONSO and +Sophia Amenyah. It also helped to have Tema residents +Donald Ward +Nehemiah Attigah also on the +GhanaThink Foundation team, ably supported by folks like +Seyram Freddy Ahiabor and +Ali Bukari Maiga.

We had a surprise waiting for us at the Rotary Centre that morning. Some friend of a Rotary member had 'overtaken' us and had taken our place as the rightful 'owner' of that August 10 slot. Clear case of an old person overstepping order and using seniorism and 'authority' to take over a venue we had booked. They were going to have a wedding at the venue at 2pm while our event would start at 9am. We re-strategized and used another part of the venue. Maxwell, the Rotaract Club President, showed a lot of resourcefulness with this tough situation. We managed to get some canopies mounted and some chairs and tables to organize the event. After the Barcamp, seeing how impactful, great and resourceful the event was, the Rotary Centre leads apologized for the mixup and said to ensure this didn't happen again. Now, we have a ready venue for Barcamp Tema for ensuing years.

During the event, I checked to see the number of attendees based in Tema, and they were well over 50%. Many Rotaracters attended, and it was cool to hear them sing some of their club songs and proclaim some club chants. There aren't a lot of established tertiary institutions in Tema unlike other Ghanaian towns, there isn't a polytechnic for instance. Furthermore, it seems many young residents of Tema school elsewhere in other popular senior high schools or universities. Many young professionals who live in Tema also work in Accra. It's a very interesting dynamic. Barcamp Tema was able to gather a lot of Tema-based youth which will ensure that they commune together and network more now and in the future.

The theme for the event was 'Building industries for our communities'. Many know that Tema is synonymous with living communities; community 1, 2, 3 and up to about 25 now. Many also know that Tema is home to many top musicians in Ghana like +Sarkodie Obidi +R2Bees +chemphe and +Elom Adablah (EL). However, there are many other communities of interest in Tema - be it techonlogy (IT), fashion, literature, engineering, education, etc. Through the success of the aforementioned musicians, a music industry has been built in Tema with many key cogs oiling this engine and many young people in Tema wanting to enter the music business. By bringing a lot of young people who are leading in communities other than music to the Barcamp, it was a great start towards building more industries. And the rest of Ghana could learn from Tema when it comes to communities and why they work well. Whether they be communities of living or communities of interest.
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