Monday, May 26, 2014

Reviving DiasporaCamp with an #AfricaDayAgric online panel discussion

The +GhanaThink Foundation was born through the activity of Ghanaians in the Diaspora. Since the +Barcamp Ghana movement took off in earnest in Ghana, most of GhanaThink's engagement has been in Ghana. The very second Barcamp done by our group was Barcamp Diaspora in DC in July 2009. +Diaspora Camp DC followed in July 2010 and that has been the last one. We're seeking to reignite Diaspora based activity. Yesterday's +Diaspora Camp Africa Day Google Hangout about Agriculture and Youth is a step. It proved to be quite successful too.

The #AfricaDayAgric chat was organized to celebrate Africa Day which falls on May 25, the day the African Union (formerly the Organization of African Unity) was born in 1963. The theme for this AU celebration is around Agriculture as 2014 has been declared the Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa. This Google Hangout on Air (broadcast on Youtube) was the first of the new online engagement series aimed at encouraging conversations and collaboration between African youth home and abroad.

The panelists (some of which were on a Google Hangout for the first time) were various thought leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals in the agriculture industry. The panel discussion was streamed live on YouTube. You can watch the full broadcast here. The panel discussion, moderated by +Jemila Abdulai & +Kirstie Kwarteng, went very well. You can see some of the social media posts captured via this Storify story. I've highlighted the participating panelists below.

+Worlali Senyo is a trained agriculturist, development researcher and consultant with over 7 years experience. He's currently the Director of Business Development at Farmerline. I've known Worlali for about 4 years now and he's also a member of GhanaThink's +Barcamp Accra team. The Farmerline co-founder, +Alloysius Attah, was also a panelist. Farmerline is a mobile venture offering improved information access and communication pathways to over 2000 small-scale farmers and agricultural stakeholders. The +Barcamp Kumasi member and KNUST graduate has won many (social) entrepreneur awards and spoken extensively.

Representing +Esoko was +David Aduama, their Communications Officer. David is a trained journalist from the Ghana Institute of Journalism who also has a great interest in technology, writing and reading. Esoko is an agricultural profiling and messaging service. It is a response to the explosive growth of cellular services in Africa. Dr. Joy Odimegwu Ifunanya aka +Alegria Okeke shared her insights and knowledge on the panel as well. She's with the Department of Pharmacognosy at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. She was the sole female panelist and the only one not from Ghana. We'd be sure to have more non-Ghanaian representation at the next Diaspora Camp Online Chat.

While checking yet another email about the Yale African Scholars program coming to Ghana, I found an email from +Acheampong Atta-Boateng. I realised he was a graduate student at the Yale Forestry School and his research was really relevant to our agriculture discussion. Acheampong is also a KNUST graduate.  +Sidney Rockson, a fellow Odadee, is a Biochemist by profession and an entrepreneur. He's the CEO of Cedirock group of companies, of which Plus Distributions is his first business. This business has provided many places and events with Blue Skies Juice, like +Barcamp Tema. They've also started the production of fresh yoghurt.

I've known +Edison Gbenga for a couple of years now and I remember when AgriPro was born at +Startup Weekend Accra 2012. AgriPro spearheads agricultural excellence in Africa by providing access to markets, seed financing, technology and knowledge in best farm practices and encouraging young people to embrace agriculture. Edison has also organized the first Green market in Ghana. Today, AgriPro was a partner for the first Ghana Youth Agrifair which was organized mainly by GCEEI, lead by a fellow +Global Shapers Accra member +John Armah.

Kudos to the team that put all of this together. Kirstie, Jemila, +yorm ackuaku+Gameli Adzaho+kweku amoah+hephzia tagoe, +Teresa Lemaire and +Richard Gonp-Maehca+Thelma Boamah+Henry Barnor. Looking forward to next online chat.

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