Friday, March 28, 2014

Creating exposure and furthering education at Barcamps and Junior Camps

While getting breakfast at the Best Western Island Hotel this morning in Lagos, a guy called my name and called me over. He was wearing suit with 2 other guys also wearing suits. The face looked familiar but I couldn't remember where I knew him from. Then he mentioned "Barcamp!" Anthony Fesu. Oh yeah, you are +David Nikoi's friend from Ecobank. "E-Process", he said. 

I remembered that he mentored at Barcamp Sunyani 2013. Anthony was in Sunyani then attending the anniversary for Catholic University College in Fiapre. He's part of the class of 2006 and an alumni like +Kofi Kafui Kornu & +Yaw Adu-Gyamfi. He'd been invited to +Barcamp Sunyani as a speed mentor. told his Ecobank colleagues, "you need to know this guy, he's doing an awesome job". He gets peopleto mentor others. His colleagues were impressed.

Anthony went on.

"There were a lot of junior high school students there". We had over 70 students from Dumasua JHS at the event. "One of the students who talked to me said he wanted to be a pilot and how could he go about it". "I realised that he couldn't really understand English well. So he asked me to speak in a local language to him". "If this child can't understand the language of instruction in becoming a pilot, how can he become one?" "I had to let him know that he needed to get the basics right and understand this language more"

This is something that this child would not get in the classroom. They would get some form of education but little to no exposure. This is part of what we are doing with Barcamps. Anthony thought about what had happened and his perspective changed. He's become a huge fan of Barcamps since.

Today, we are currently having Junior Camp Dumasua. We've gotten some mentors to go to their high school to continue what started at +Barcamp Sunyani last year. We encouraged the students to become cleaner and help keep their surroundings clean. Sunyani has long been known as the cleanest town in Ghana and it's losing that. The school is organizing a cleanliness competition and the winning class would get tshirts with "Keep Dumasua clean" at the back. 

You can check #jcdumasua for some updates at the +Junior Camp Ghana event in Dumasua now. Check out this tweet from the event via +Joachim Danbo.

Big ups to the Barcamp Sunyani team - Kofi, Joachim, +Jean-Baptiste Mantey+rose meda donkor, Esther and Francis and then the Junior Camp Ghana team - +Nathaniel Alpha +Pedel Oppong +francis kumadoh & Priscilla Yevu.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vote for me, @mightyafrican & @ghanathink in the Blogging & Social Media Awards

Many thanks for all the support you have all given my blog over the years, especially last year. I set a goal to write 233 blog posts and I met it, even though it was extremely hard. I have set the same goal for myself this year and though I am behind schedule I shall meet it again. I hope you enjoy the ride, get inspired, learn a few things, have a number of laughs and become an avid reader, and commenter, and sharer :-)

I have been nominated for the Blogging and Social Media Awards organized by +BloggingGhana. This is happening as part of their +BlogCamp Ghana event. I am nominated for best male blogger - (Ato Ulzen-Appiah), best blog ( + +Mighty African) and best Google+ profile (+AtoUlzenAppiah). Kindly go to and vote massively for me to win. It's a fairly easy process to do so. 

It's interesting to see how I have almost 3 times the number of followers on Google+ as on Twitter. I find Google+ easy to use as a Google user, especially with my blog. As for the Vim Views & Versions, I told a friend the other day I am writing my autobiography, on it. I think I'd take some of my most loved blog posts (by you) and put it in a book. Vote for me o!

The +GhanaThink Foundation, which I co-founded and have written about many things on this blog, has also been nominated in the Social Media Awards organized by our friends at Blogging Ghana. We've been nominated in the Organisation with the Best Social Media Presence category. Together with our +Barcamp Ghana accounts, we've continue to inform, inspire, inculcate, and innovate things to build a patriotic, passionate, positive, proactive, progressive, and productive people. On Google+, on Twitter and on Facebook, etc.Please vote for us massively so we can win this.

Check #blogcamp14 on social media to be updated on all of this.

Social media rocks!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ire of a football fan in Northern Ireland

I don't know much about Northern Ireland. I do know that they have their own 'national' football team that's not really good and they've not been to the World Cup before. That said, why do they have their own national football team? Because the British invented soccer. It's true. As in, that's the reason. Anyway, Northern Ireland could have benefited from playing from a British soccer team cos I don't see them going to the World Cup anytime soon. It is the home of George Best and also where the great Jonny Evans who plays for +Manchester United hails from. I expected Northern Ireland to be crazy about football but it was not really meant to be.
I am a huge fan of sports, especially watching, and studying soccer aka football and basketball. +SuperSport is my kind of channel because it's heavy on football, which I'd take over +ESPN which shows many sports I could care less about. Super Sport is from South Africa too, it would be awesome to see it go truly global.
It was the evening of February 19 and I wanted to see +Arsenal play +Bayern Munchen. I kept flipping channels in the hotel room and the game wasn't showing. I couldn't believe my eyes. I jumped to various conclusions but my favorite ones were the ones I tweeted above. Does the Europa Hotel not show +UEFA Champions League games because it is called Europa? Or is it because Northern Ireland teams suck and never qualify to play in this tournament? I was livid.
No champions league but women's wrestling made the cut. No, it couldn't be a more popular sport. Or Northern Irish TV channels couldn't get Champions League rights? That would have been the truth if I didn't catch the last 7 minutes of the Arsenal-Bayern game in a sports bar. Tweeaa.
After what happened the day before, this particular occurrence was extremely amusing. The Europa Hotel shows games that bear its name - Europa league. That's the league in which Northern Ireland plays. Tweeaa. Not co-equals.
I found out from a Facebook acquaintance that Manchester was quite close to Belfast. It made me want to go pay David Moyes a visit. No, not Sir Alex Ferguson, who I respect too much. But Moyes. That's how pissed I am as a ManUtd fan these days. I no bore enough :-) cc +Kofi Ulzen-Appiah +Seyram Freddy Ahiabor +Nehemiah Attigah +Kofi Appiah +Qwophi Cedi +Eyram Deede Ayayee +Eugene Adogla +Nana Menya Ayensu.

These football episodes make me wonder whether Northern Ireland is really in the same country as England? Or wait, they are two separate countries? Are you sure? Am confused. As confused the things that happened that made this blog post also happen. Ah well.... fare thee well.

Recommending Air BnB, I used it in Belfast

While in Belfast last month, I stayed at the Europa Hotel. When the taxi driver was dropping off my boss Ehi and I at the hotel from the airport, he said "this hotel is the second most-bombed in the whole world". It didn't look it. The hotel was a little expensive though and I was going to have to cough up a little extra to stay there 3 nights. So I decided that after the 2nd night, I'd check out and find a cheaper place to stay. Enter +Airbnb aka Air Bed & Breakfast. I went to and started looking for a place for a night in Belfast. Knew friends who'd used the service, nothing to be scared off. It would give me a story to tell anyway :-)
Okay, this scared me. I knew I had to pay for the accommodation, thank you GT Bank Visa Card. But I didn't think that I would have to verify my identity after giving out the money. What if that went wrong?
Because Air BnB is such an excellent service, they tweeted back at me when I finally verified my account and confirmed my booking. This was tres cool. I had to let them (and the whole world) know.
Was excited to stay with a complete stranger for 26 pounds sterling that night. My friend & +GhanaThink Foundation colleague +Kafui Anson-Yevu hosts various people in Accra and I was able to convince +Irene Nyavor to try the service out next time.
My host, Mary, had many great reviews on Air BnB from people she's hosted. I like how she slowed down while talking to me because the Irish accent can be tough to grasp. When I had dinner with Ehi and 2 Intel employees on that Wednesday, I couldn't hear half of what our waitress said. In fact, Ehi and I thought her accent was so cool, we made her speak for like a minute so I could record what she was saying.
Turns out Mary was hosting 2 other guys that night. I only found out when I had to rush to the airport. I enjoyed using AirBnB. +Ericka Engel can also testify, she used it in Croatia. Can't imagine when I would go to Croatia but if I do go to a place like Belfast where I don't know anyone and am alone, I'd very likely use AirBnB again.

MIghTy African visiting Belfast, Northern Ireland

Last month, I traveled to the UK for the first time in over 10 years for work. The particular place I went to was Belfast, in Northern Ireland. Belfast is quite the interesting name. Makes me say things like "Belfast. Make I bell you fast before I go lef Belfast." It took a while to hit me that I was actually in the same country that has London. If some other events had gone a certain way, I'd have been in Dublin, Ireland instead. It turns out they are really different countries, they even have different currencies. In this blog post, I'd share some memories. I couldn't get any phone network to roam on, but who needs that, when you have wi-fi :-)
Been working on this project for over 9 months. Intel Explore & Learn. Explore & Learn.
At least in Dublin, I knew of +NUBI Kay and +Essien Essien who live there these days, alongside many other Nigerians. Belfast? Nobody.
Since I flew out of Ghana on a Tuesday, I had really considered buying waakye the day before and arriving on Wednesday in Belfast with it to do a #WaakyeWednesday. I shall do it one day, I promise you.
I almost forgot this is what winter feels like. But this is not about winter, there are literally very few trees on the streets of Belfast, period. Deforestation much?
Sorry I meant to say Great Northern Mall. This was a very funny story. The two 'malls' I visited in Belfast were all very small, and smaller than the Accra mall. Tweeaa! Belfast is not Accra's co-equal.
On the other hand, Accra is not Belfast's co-equal when it comes to infrastructure. The story of our lives.
My friend +Karen Sagoe asked about the many churches in Belfast. I saw this cool banner. See the photo in this post.
Like I said, who needs phone network when you have wi-fi? The wi-fi in Belfast is very fast. Download speeds were awesome.
Okay, I exaggerated a bit. It actually cost 40 GHC. That's still a lot. The cedi doesn't lend itself well as a currency to travel with. At all.

Stay tuned for more Belfast related posts, they are coming at you faster than you can ring a bell. Git it? :-)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Come be more excellent via Barcamp Tema 2014 on March 22 #bctema

The very first +Barcamp Ghana event of this year is +Barcamp Tema on Saturday, March 22. Come and learn how to get rid of mediocre habits and pick up excellent ones. Press release below.

BarCamp Tema 2014 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Tema, Ghana and beyond. It takes place on March 22, 2014 at the Rotary Centre (Club House) in Tema. The theme is Building People of Excellence. This Barcamp will be the 29th organized by the GhanaThink Foundation as it builds a network of young change makers, doers and entrepreneurs in Ghana. It's being organized in conjunction with the Rotaract Club of Tema.

There will be a
speed mentoring session where mentors will give insights and answers to questions from attendees. Confirmed speed mentors include +Victoria Okoye (Relief International), +Edem Kumodzi of QuickBets, +Kow Essuman (Lawyer), +MANASSEH AZURE Awuni (Joy FM), +sara nana yeboah (Nurse & Entrepreneur), +Emmanuel Nyame (Ghana Startup Cup), +Tonyi Senayah (Horseman Shoes), etc.

This Barcamp will focus on sharing and educating on many tips and ways of excellence. Various presentations on this topic would be done by +Enyo Kumahor 
of ThoughtWorks, as well as +Emmanuel A. Gamor of Global Media Alliance. As usual, the Barcamp will feature multiple user-generated breakout sessions about business, social entrepreneurship, technology and development, alongside topics relevant to the Greater Accra Region and beyond.
Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Tema eventbrite website ( or text "Barcamp Tema [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network.. You may also contact the BarCamp Tema 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 Tema 2014 is sponsored by +GhanaThink Foundation, Google, Rotaract Club of Tema, Nandimobile, etc. Our media partners are CITI FM, Adom TV, +Mpwr Show on +Yfm Ghana. Join us to move the Greater Accra Region and Ghana forward.
Stay tuned via our social media.

The team of +Ali Maiga +Felix Nartey Maxwell Seshie +Edem Kporha +Eunice Mintah Young +Senam Aseye Bridget +kofi yeboah +Kobe Subramaniam +Leonard Hagan and +Kojo Akoto Boateng is working very hard to make this a successful event.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The woman I was talking about

It's still Women's Day here in Yankee in the Eastern Time Zone. So, I can say a few things about the woman who was keeping me up last night. Let's say that one of my goals to finding a wife this year is on course. God forbid anything that derails that lol.

Sometimes, a woman comes along who inspires change. She makes you want to be a better you because you can't stand to disappoint her or yourself in the grand scheme of things. When they say behind every successful man, there is a woman, the man sometimes becomes more successful because of the things the woman makes the man do. People have told me countless times, you need to find a woman. I understand that more now.

So sometime last year, I tweeted.
I meant it.

She's the woman I sang about in the infamous Amanone video taken during my birthday celebration.

So I also tweeted this today about 'Nana A'.
T. E. N. A. N. A.

This is not the place to tell who she is. It's the day to tell you say she dey. I wish for you all to find someone like this. Women who inspire positive change.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Honouring women I know who contribute to Inspiring Change on #womensday

It's in the early hours of International Women's Day. A woman is keeping me up. :-) But I figured I should write this blog post before it's 2:33am and then I will finally go to bed. I want to honour some great young women I know on the occasion of women's day. Before I get to women I know who lead, I'd like to give a special mention to my first girlfriend +Phelele Fakudze. She leads too, don't get me wrong. She was and still pretty much is a female version of me. We connected on so many levels and shared many passions. I've not seen her since she moved to Swaziland after 2008, and she's continued to inspire many young women. I will never forget this blog post she wrote. She has some of the best advice any woman can give women, and really, men as well.

Last weekend at the African Business Conference at Harvard Business School, I attended the women in leadership panel. One of the panelists wrongly attributed this following quote to Kofi Annan or someone who wasn't James Kwegyir Aggrey - "If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation". This doesn't belabour the point, it's the truth. Men have to go out and influence, women have people come up to their bosoms for influence. Maybe the fact that men go out to do so many times has given birth to the many men who've led in years past. More women need to lead.

After the panel, I asked one of my role models, +Ory Okolloh, about an issue which has been heavy on my heart. Through the many +Barcamp Ghana events, the +GhanaThink Foundation has failed to attract a good number of women to participate in our networking forums. It could be that we are using wrong channels - ie social media - but I see many women using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram greatly, even if a lot of the posts are pictures. I asked Ory, how can we attract more women to participate in Barcamps and forward thinking events in general? She said that we should work with those who have already shown an interest and taken the initiative. These should in turn influence others, invite others and impact their attitudes towards the ideals of leading, doing, entreprising and being active in their communities.

It made sense. I had thought that one way to go would be to encourage more events like what +Afua Osei is doing with the Savvy Madam, what +Benjamin Gregory Aggrey is doing with the +WOMAN 2.1 Summit, what +Heather Cochran is doing with Next Wave Africa, +Yawa Hansen-Quao with the Leading Ladies network, etc. There are many other women's groups out there. These would be great ways to get more women into the pool of passionate, proactive, progressive, patriotic, positive and productive people, from which more would attend male-dominated events and participate in male-dominated projects. We've increasingly changed around our Barcamps and various decisions made to ensure that more women participate. It's been working.

At Google Ghana, I worked mostly with women, led by the awesome +Estelle Akofio-Sowah who I'd be cheering on to become Ghana's first female president, +Awo Addo+Jeminatu Alabi-Isama+Nana Amoah+Antoinette Benneh, amongst others. Through GhanaThink, I've worked with many young women like +Doris Anson-Yevu, +Christine Yieleh-Chireh, Seyram Avle, +Nana Yaa Dodi+Jemila Abdulai+Senam Aseye Bridget, +Ela Asare+Florence Abena Toffa, +Kuukuwa Manful+Teresa Lemaire just to name a few. I'm working more closely with +Esi Cleland-Yankson+regina agyare+Deborah Ahenkorah+Nadia Zeine and +Yawa Hansen-Quao more closely now. I have a great ton of respect for others like +Farida Bedwei+Mabel Simpson+Hannah Acquah+Ayorkor Korsah, etc.

I tell people privately that I am routinely disappointed by the collective drive of Ghanaian women. I don't want to bring up Beijing. The theme for International Women's Day in 2014 is "Inspiring Change". A better theme could not have been chosen. Today, I salute all these women on the occasion of this day. More vim for all your endeavours. May you inspire change amongst women, touch men and through you, may our nations be exponentially better.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

#Ghana57 - Our net worth is strongly correlated to our network

Happy independence day to all Ghanaians! I'm on vacation, albeit working a bit. I'd have a written a new long post but in the interest of vacationing :-) and time, I'd reproduce an old long post. The messages in here are very dear to me and in my opinion, critical towards achieving the kind of Ghana we need. It's my very first blog post written for the +Global Shapers Accra blog - Sesamu. Read it below.

I am passionate about Africa. Many times, people joke saying that the African dream is to get out of Africa. Many times, I would say my dream for Africa is for Africans to be able to achieve their goals and dreams without having to really leave Africa. I’ve heard Patrick Awuah of +Ashesi University and +Ory Okolloh, two of my biggest role models, say the same.
At the very first +Barcamp Koforidua, one of the mentors mentioned something that really struck me. “The most successful people would be those who build connections”. There were many great things about attending MIT ( +Mighty African ) and Stanford for my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, but one huge differentiator in the favour of these two institutions was the diversity of the network that existed there and the connections people in those communities could build. These connections cause people to think outside the box, have enough information to pursue goals, success stories to build upon, exposure to solve different types of problems and reach for what things they might get into.
I have a strong passion in connecting people. When I got together with some friends (at the +GhanaThink Foundation) to organize the first +Barcamp Ghana, we wanted to show the business and tech renaissance. There were pockets of excellence happening in different Ghanaian corners, home and abroad. We wanted to ensure these stories were known to more people and that people would collaborate to achieve more. Today, we have cases of excellence in many Ghanaian circles, which have ties home and abroad.
Our very next Barcamp was one in Washington DC, where I felt a strong urge to connect young Ghanaians in the US with each other. We had all-white and all-black parties for Ghanaian communities with little to no knowledge of the colourful achievements and ventures of Ghanaians. When I have the opportunity to speak at an event, I mostly choose to tell stories of Ghanaians who are being innovative, inventive and inspirational. I constantly look for new stories to tell. I love to do this on my blog too –
I always like to say that I built arguably the biggest and most diverse African music website, +Museke, out of my room. I made use of the internet and my connections or network. I made smart decisions based on the users whose needs I wanted to solve, what was important and would give quick wins. 4 years ago, I didn’t know about ‘low hanging fruits’ but I actually did work on low hanging fruits for Museke and other things I was doing. Being able to share stories of how I did more with less and made more money with no money is something I have grown to appreciate and want to share with as many people as possible in my cultural neighbourhood, Ghana and beyond.

A lot of people know me for various reasons and for a variety of things I’ve done. But I also know a lot of people similarly. My net worth is strongly supported by my network. We have many people shaping spaces around here and everywhere. Making sure you meet each other, know where to turn for help and where the success stories are is part of my job. There should be no shortage of local motivation and horizontal inspiration as we pursue vertical excellence and global relevance.

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