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.

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