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GhanaThink Foundation Profile
The GhanaThink Foundation is a youth-led NGO based in Ghana & the US. Its primary goal is to harness the diverse talents of Ghanaians in Ghana and the diaspora for the benefit of Ghana, and by extension Africa and the world. In effect, it seeks to mobilize and organize talent and resources for the service of Ghana. With the idea generations and discussions that come out of this, it seeks to support these ideas into projects, programs and ventures.
GhanaThink's landmark initiative now is Barcamp Ghana. These Barcamps provide a platform for youth to network, discuss important issues, and develop new partnerships. With 31 events and counting since December 2008, Barcamp Ghana has been the launchpad for business start-ups (such as Afrochic), Google Developer Groups, Junior Camp Ghana, and new career opportunities. The events have reached over 3300 young leaders. Activities such as speed mentoring, panel discussions, and user-generated breakout sessions all harness the energy, drive, and entrepreneurial spirit of participants to bring about positive action.
Junior Camp Ghana was started due to the impact Barcamp Ho and Barcamp Tema 2012 made in the lives of a couple of Keta SHS students. It is now a career mentoring & guidance event series for senior high school students. It has started in earnest with 4 events in 2013 across the country and 5 so far in 2014. The program has expanded to cover junior high schools.
Another GhanaThink program is the Ghana Volunteer Program, this was created out of the success of the first National Volunteer Day (NVDay) which falls on Founder's Day. On September 21, 2013, over 40 volunteer activities with over 300 people involved happened around Ghana as part of the NVDay initiative.
GhanaThink supports many Ghanaian initiatives through promotion, online engagement and resourcing. In 2013, it has engaged people on sexual health issues through the #FiestaDebate which is sponsored by its partner, Fiesta Condoms GH. GhanaThink also partners and supports many forward-thinking initiatives and events in Ghana, including the launch of UNESCO EFA-GMR report, Springboard's Speed Mentoring Program, TEDxCapeCoastED, TechNeedsGirls GH, Vim Series, etc.
National Volunteer Day is being instituted by the GhanaThink Foundation to come off every September 21st in Ghana. 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 3000 Ghanaian change makers, doers and entrepreneurs through 20 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 on 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.
Different individuals and organizations have planned volunteer activities for September 21st. Utopia Wishlist is organizing a kids career fair in Omanjor near Accra. Some others are greening a school in Madina while others paint schools in East Legon, also in Accra. Some friends are gathering other friends to donate blood on NVDay while others gather to clean up a taxi rank in Ashaiman. Young people are coming together to mentor SHS students in Kumasi while others organize a reading clinic for orphanage kids in Kasoa.
We expect at least 233 different activities on the day. You can find info about these activities and more on nvday13.eventbrite.com. 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 (nvday13.eventbrite.com). National Volunteer Day 2013 is sponsored by The Diva Show on TV3, Focus 94.3 FM and MPWR Show on Y 107.9 FM. Our media partners are the Ghana News Agency. Join us to Ghana forward.
Stay tuned via our social media. Twitter
National Volunteer Day is to encourage as many volunteer activities on September 21, 2013 which is Founder’s Day. We want to see more people in Ghana use the holiday to create, support and join volunteer activities. September 21 or Founder’s Day has been chosen as it's one that doesn’t have specific activities. It is to honour the birth of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Ghana’s founders. Ghana’s founders served Ghana so the call on September 21 will be for Ghanaians to serve as well.
How you can participate
Join a volunteer group or create one on your own.
Gather the youth of your community or friends and think of a volunteering opportunity i.e.
Tutoring in a subject
Teaching a particular skill or talent
Blood donation drives
Orphanage visits + donation
Improving school infrastructure
Health screenings & talk
Any other type of activity
Check out the #NVDay hashtag on Google+, Facebook and Twitter for more info.
On September 21, please shares pictures or posts on social media with the hashtag NVDay. We will be promoting all these volunteer events on social media and in some traditional media too.
If you have particular questions, please email us at info at ghanathink dot org.
The BarCamp Ghana team has successfully organized six BarCamps in Ghana. Barcamp Ghana is a project being run by the GhanaThink Foundation, an NGO based both in Ghana and the USA. A BarCamp is a user-generated conference (or unconference). Barcamp Kumasi 2010 was organized at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology on September 18, 2010 with the theme - ‘Collaboration: The key for opportunity and development’. It brought together about 80 residents with major discussions around “Fostering Entrepreneurship through collaboration and technology”, “Women Issues and the effects it has on Ghana's development”, and “Herbal medicine usage and adoption in Ghana: Success and failures” to name a few.
Register/RSVP today at the BarCamp Kumasi eventbrite website. You may also contact the BarCamp Kumasi team through this website for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.
BarCamp Kumasi 2010 is sponsored by Royal Lamerta Hotel, National Service Personnel of Ghana, National Society of Black Engineers (KNUST chapter), GhanaThink Foundation, Fienipa Group, etc. Our media partners are Kapital 97.1 FM, Focus 94.3 FM and ModernGhana.com.
Register at http://barcampkumasi11.eventbrite.com/
See you there!
http://kumasi.barcampghana.org/contact or barcampkumasi at gmail dot com
Accra, Feb. 19, GNA - The managing team of BarCamp Ghana, a branch of an international informal gathering to generate ideas for development through partnerships and networking, on Saturday announced its programme of events for the year 2011.
Mr Kweku D. Anane-Appiah, Communications Chair, BarCamp Ghana, at a press conference in Accra, announced that the events, starting from March 26 at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, would be under the principal theme; "Fostering Partnerships and Entrepreneurial Engagements towards African Socio-Economic Independence," for all its activities. He said notwithstanding the principal theme, regional BarCamp events would concentrate on their own sub-themes reflecting the current issues thriving in the respective metropolis.
Mr Anane-Appiah said the regional BarCamps are scheduled for April 23 at the Ho Polytechnic, May 28 at the University of Development Studies, Tamale, July 23 at the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons in Accra, September 24 at the Takoradi Polytechnic, October 29 at the Sunyani Polytechnic and November 26 at the University of Cape Coast. He said the year's events would be climaxed on December 17 with the BarCamp Ghana at the Kofi Annan ICT Centre in Accra.
Mr Anane-Appiah explained that the BarCamp Ghana project was an open participatory workshop which aims at helping the Ghanaian youth to learn and share ideas about issues that affected them, and generate ideas and form partnerships with those who had similar interests to improve or start businesses and projects.
He said the programme also sought to inspire and engage the social consciousness of the Ghanaian youth in discovering and managing the countless possibilities inherent in their undeveloped yet fertile geographical space. He stressed that imbibing these sense of believing in Ghana was critical in the nation's attempt to brand itself as a state of socio-cultural and economic prominence.
Mr Anane-Appiah said the Ghana project had been running since 2008 and was currently being coordinated by the GhanaThink Foundation, a voluntary Africa-focused think-tank of young African leaders based in Ghana and the United States of America.
He said the programmes had recorded numerous feedback and post-event comments which bore testimonies of rousing enterprise and industries and also facilitated several entrepreneurial programmes including the birth of the Google Technology User Groups in Ghana. It had also given the opportunity for different firms to gain feedback on their products and services, he added.
Anane-Appiah stressed that in the feverish attempts towards the resolve of the Millennium Development Agenda and enhancing socio-economic advancement, it was important that Ghana prescribed targets that were geared towards improving national and international economic development.
He said Ghana should also advance the human capacity and condition in an increasingly connected global village through strategic cooperative partnerships and engagements.
"We believe that fostering partnerships and engagements between passionate and talented young change makers who believe in the intrinsic wealth of the seemingly underdeveloped geological scope, follows the right order in the continuum towards national socio-economic independence," he said.
After the successes of Barcamp Kumasi, Barcamp Accra and Barcamp Takoradi, the national event Barcamp Ghana 2010 was held on the 18th of December, 2010 at the Ashesi University campus.. Barcamp Ghana was under the theme ‘’Create dreams, work smart and shape the future” and it attracted a lot of entrepreneurs, businessmen, students, amongst others. The event was supported by Ashesi University, the World Bank, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), Mobile Web Ghana, Google Ghana, Vodafone Ghana, GhanaThink Foundation, NandiMobile, Busy Internet, Fienipa, TAGH Media, iROKKO Concepts, Imagineers, MyfashionAfrica, etc. The media partners were Citi 97.3 FM, Radio Universe, ModernGhana, GhanaBlogging and Skyy Digital.
Over 150 participants gathered at the Ashesi University premises to exchange ideas and learn from each other. The event unofficially started at 9:00am with the Start-up Bazaar and registration of participants running concurrently. Start-up Bazaar was premiered at Barcamp Accra held at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) campus and was popular with attendees there. This was a platform for start-ups to exhibit their products/service to the participants as well as network with other participating start-ups. The start-ups that took part in this session were TAGH Media, etc. There were also stands for Mozilla Firefox and Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST). Breakfast, provided by Imagineers Limited, was served.
At 10:00am, Barcamp Ghana officially commenced with opening remarks given by the Barcamp Ghana organizing team. The emcee was Kweku Anane-Appiah, a team member. Ato Ulzen-Appiah then spoke about the origins of Barcamp and the a brief history, mission and vision for Barcamp Ghana. For Barcamp Ghana 2010, there were no keynote speakers or panels and only breakout sessions. Patrick Awuah, the founder and president of Ashesi University, then gave a welcome address. Some of his soundbites included “There should come a time that citizens in Africa will not desire to migrate to Europe or the USA”. An agenda building session to map out the breakout sessions for the day followed.
The first set of breakout sessions were organized for 90 minutes from 11am. Citizen journalism versus Traditional Journalism was led by Bernard Avle - award-winning host of the CITI FM Breakfast show, Mac-Jordan Degadjor and Oluniyi David Ajao - popular bloggers based in Ghana. Issues discussed included Citizen journalism in its purest form is blogging, community radio as citizen journalism, regulation of blogging, 75% of Ghanaians having radios versus reading the newspapers and being online, local content and bloggers building their credibility, etc. Sherrie Thompson of Solutions Africa and Golda Addo of Energy Solutions Ghana led a session on green power and alternative energy. Biodiesel and biodigestion facilities were discussed as well as various forms of alternative energy.
Farida Bedwei of G-Life Financial Services, Afua Ankomah of Esoko and Daisy Amma Baffoe of MEST led the Women in ICT breakout session. Challenges with getting Ghanaian women to build applications and be in ICT were discussed. Attendees in the session decided to create a a “Women In ICT” Facebook page to take advantage of the many Ghanaian women on Facebook. Patrick Awuah, one of the most respected leaders in Ghana, also organized an impromptu session on leadership. Lunch followed, the food was provided by Imagineers Limited, which also provides food at Ashesi University’s Building 1. During lunch, Nana Manu of Vodafone Ghana gave a speech on e-commerce and building an accepted payment system for Ghana. He also talked about http://theideascout.com/.
The second set of panel sessions started after lunch. Leila Djansi, director of award-winning movies I Sing Of A Well and Sinking Sands, Deborah Ahenkorah of Golden Baobab, and Obed Sarpong of the Writers Project of Ghana led a session called ‘Telling African Stories’ on movies and writing in Ghana. Nana Awere Damoah, writer of Excursions in My Mind, also came by the session. Among issues discussed were defining the African story, animating Ananse stories, amongst others. It was decided upon to start a blog where African stories would be told.
There was a World Bank sponsored session about the Apps For Development Challenge. Richard Murby who is part of the organizers, did a Skype video conference with Barcamp Ghana attendees from Washington, DC. He did a presentation on the competition and attendees asked him questions. DK Osseo-Asare of AnamCity spoke about the Anam New City sustainable building/development project in Nigeria. Anam City is a new model for sustainable development in Africa. Kweku Anane-Appiah led a breakout session on fashion and wear in Africa. Ronke Ampiah and Farida Alabo of Smiles for Christmas led a session on volunteerism. Attendees decided to start a website for finding volunteer opportunities in Ghana.
The third set of breakout sessions rounded out the day at Barcamp Ghana 2010. Oluniyi David Ajao led a breakout session on blogging. Challenges facing bloggers like poor internet connectivity, creativity (presentation) and work schedule were discussed. Charles Odonkor, a medical student at Yale University, organized a breakout session on brain power called “Declaring the decade of the brain”. Farida Bedwei who has cerebral palsy but is a renowned software programmer in Ghana shared her story with participants in this session. Florence Toffa of Mobile Web Ghana and Kwamena Appiah-Kubi of Mozilla Firefox led a session on Mobile Web applications.
The event run smoothly and the attendees relished the Barcamp experience. They praised the good turn out, brainstorming involved and relevance of information shared. It was important for the discussions to be documented. A list of relevant tweets from the Barcamp will be online soon. Various action items and plans were discussed at the Barcamp and as they are implemented, will be publicized. More info from and about Barcamp Ghana 2010 will be available on the Barcamp Ghana website http://barcampghana.org.
Recap of Barcamp Takoradi 2010
After the successes of Barcamp Kumasi and Barcamp Accra, Barcamp Takoradi came off at the Takoradi Technical Institute on the 27th of November, 2010. This was the first ever Barcamp in the Western Region of Ghana and it was themed “Leading & Entreprising in an Oil & Technology Fuelled Economy”. It attracted a lot of students, businessmen, entrepreneurs and others based in Takoradi and some others from Accra. BarCamp Takoradi 2010 was sponsored by the Takoradi Technical Institute (TTI), Google Ghana, GhanaThink Foundation, Fie.nipa, Worldwide Web Foundation, NandiMobile, AudioCraft and CTSL - Certified Technology Services Limited. Our media partners were Melody FM, ModernGhana, GhanaBlogging and Skyy Digital.
Over 80 participants gathered at the Takoradi Technical Institute (TTI) to share ideas, learn from each other and discuss opportunities in the Sekondi-Takoradi, especially with the potential growth of the area with the attendant commercial oil production in the Western Region. TTI offered to host the Barcamp for free and this major gesture by TTI allowed for Barcamp Takoradi to be free for all participants, which was a new phenomenon in Takoradi.
The event unofficially started at 9:00am with an introduction to Barcamps and the idea behind Barcamp Takoradi by Mac-Jordan D. Degadjor (Event Curator). A number of invited speakers gave a series of talks and speeches. Sally Deffor of the Coastal Resources Center spoke about the available funding for projects that develop local communities and develop the environment in and around Takoradi. She also mentioned a four-year development project supported by the USAID in Takoradi. It was agreed upon that it was time for Ghana to move above a trading economy to a technology driven one. John Lemaire, the CEO of AudioCraft, a local Takoradi company, spoke after Sally Deffor. He shared his experiences about starting his own business. He stressed the importance of saving, saying “Learn how to save, open a bank account and start building up some working capital”.
A third year student of the Takoradi Technical Institute asked, “What are plans for Technical students in TTI with regards to the Oil Find & Job Creation?” This was a good segue into the next speaker, Daniel Peprah. He works with Baker Hughes Ghana Limited and he answered questions on certifications for Oil jobs in Ghana. He enlightened the attendees on the oil industry in Ghana. He mentioned how Ghana has a lot of down-stream drilling happening already, with respect to all the petrol/gas stations in the country. The types of drilling happening in Ghana includes conventional, horizontal, upstream, downstream &directional drilling. He implored the attendees to refrain from thinking about working in an oil company, and instead tap into industry.
Donald Diaba, one of the main organizers of Barcamp Ghana events, took the stage next. He also sang the entrepreneurship chorus, stating “Don't call yourself an agent, call yourself a realtor and you will make money”. He talked about ideas and challenges in setting up a financial institution in Ghana. “Study the environment, know the people you are dealing with, you don’t always need the money to start out”. Mrs. Nora Imbeah commented “As youths we have all the potential available to us to succeed easily then the generation before us had.
Cecil Nutakor, CEO of Equinox Intercom Limited and the award winner of the Global Students Entrepreneur Awards 2010 in Ghana. He was more concerned about issues of climate change in Africa & Ghana especially. He encouraged the attendees to look into the future, and start thinking about climate change and renewable/alternative energy. He mentioned that thermal energy is expensive but could be the cheapest source of energy for Ghana. It was discussed that the youth should start looking at the problems in the society and start businesses to solve them. A member of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Google Technology User Group (GTUG) asked “Why go job hunting when you can create one? Takoradi youths, create jobs”
Emmanuel Azasoo, the manager of the Takoradi Technical Institue Fabrication Lab (Fab Lab), welcomed attendees to TTI. He stated that TTI is the first in Africa and the sixth in the world to benefit from the Ultra Modern Digital Fabrication Laboratory, which has been supported by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Fab Lab is a free open learning center available to anyone willing to learn and make use of it.
The lunch break came next and that came with a lot of networking. After lunch, some general breakout sessions were held. A question was put to the attendees - “What would you with do with GHC1,000. Business ideas anyone?” One respondent mentioned “I will start a communications sales outlet so that as more people come in, they will buy my scratch cards and raise me some profit”. Another responded, “I will build a small fruit market so that I can raise a sale from the many foreigners who come to Takoradi and will definitely stick to their dessert-eating traditions”. A third speaker answered, “I will start work on market journals to publicise and inform residents here on the activities of all the oil companies so that nobody feels left out”. A fourth speaker drew laughter from the Barcampers when he said “I will travel to Nigeria; buy blank CDs and come and sell in Ghana”.
After the closing prayer, the Barcampers were ushered to the TTI Fab Lab where they checked out what they did there. They were pleasantly impressed with the work being done at the Fab Lab and many attendees called for similar fabrication labs to be built across the country. Attendees enjoyed the Barcamp experience, learnt a lot and were encouraging others to attend similar events in the future. Barcamp Takoradi featured a younger crowd than Barcamp Kumasi and Barcamp Accra, as it had a lot of TTI students who are in the secondary school level. They particularly benefited from the speeches and discussions and networking that happened at Barcamp Takoradi. More info from and about Barcamp Takoradi 2010 and future events will be available on the Barcamp Takoradi website http://takoradi.barcampghana.org.
Recap of the Maiden Event of Barcamp Accra
The 2nd of October, 2010 saw the maiden Barcamp Accra event at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) campus.. Barcamp Accra under the theme ‘’Creating wealth and employment in a challenging environment” attracted a lot of entrepreneurs, businessmen, students, amongst others. The event was one of three regional events (in addition to Barcamp Kumasi on September 18 and Barcamp Takoradi, coming November 27) scheduled by the organizing committee in response to feedback from attendees who attended Barcamp Ghana at the same venue in December, 2009. The event was supported by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), WorldWideWeb Foundation, Google Ghana, Vodafone Ghana, GhanaThink Foundation, NandiMobile, Busy Internet, Fienipa. The media partners were CitiFm, Ghana Business News, Radio Universe, ModernGhana, GhanaBlogging and Skyy Digital.
Over 150 participants turned up people interested in the BarCamp Accra 2010 gathered at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) premises to exchange ideas and learn from each other. The event unofficially started at 8:30am with the Start-up Bazaar and registration of participants running concurrently. This Start-up Bazaar, a new feature for Barcamps in Ghana was created to give start-ups the platform to exhibit their products/service to the participants as well as network with other participating start-ups. The start-ups that took part in this session were Agbena, Kasahorow, NandiMobile, Leti Games, iROKKO Concept, Afrochic and Seycomp. The bazaar showcased youth, ingenuity, business and entrepreneurship.
At 10:15am, Barcamp Accra officially commenced with opening remarks given by the Barcamp Accra organizing team. The emcee was Estelle Akofi-Sowah, Google Ghana Country lead. Based on the theme, Barcamp Accra 2010 sought to encourage entrepreneurship and wealth-creation endeavors in the country. Entrepreneurs from different sectors were invited to share their success stories and challenges with the audience in a panel. The panel featured included Esi Cleland (Co-founder of Afrochic), Esi Ansah (Founder, Axi Human Capital), Derrydean Dadzi (CEO, DreamOval), Emmanuel Dogbevi (Founder, GhanaBusinessNews). It was moderated by Richard Anim, a consultant. The panelists all discussed how entrepreneurship was more than work for them but borne out of passion. They also stressed the importance of personal investment in all ventures. They also discouraged the fixation with offices and encouraged sustainability practices.
A second panel was formed to comprise of organizations that indirectly or directly could educate entrepreneurs with respect to certain process entrepreneurs go through ie business registration, marketing and revenue generation, funding etc. This panel comprised of Eve Andersson and Estelle Akofio-Sowah (Google), Seyywoe (Registrar General’s Dept), Shika Acolatse (Enablis Ghana) and was moderated by Richard Anim. The panelists shared information about the work of their respective organizations. The importance of having an online presence was stressed and various Google apps and tools to help entrepreneurs achieve that were mentioned. One revelation was the mention of Inter Continental Bank as the best place to clear Google Adsense checks. The presence of the Registrar’s General representative made sure the panel included the government perspective as progress is a public-private partnership.
The Key-note speech was given by Mr. Yoofi Grant (Executive Director of Databank). He talked about how God doesn’t give ideas to just a few people but 50000. He also made a case about identifying and focusing skills and energy on what entrepreneurs can handle. He said to ‘dig deep into yourself’. He advised “Humility. Respect everyone. You can learn from the most unlikely people”. He mentioned the psycholinguistic problem in Ghana - the problem with translating between cognition and action. He had this advice for entrepreneurs: Never underestimate anything, just don’t. But dont over analyse”. One comment he made that resounded with a lot of Barcampers and other people following proceedings online was “People are making too big a deal about Ghana’s oil discovery. We already receive twice that $1 billion figure annually from remittances”.
The next item on the program was the agenda building session where attendees interested in organizing breakout sessions announced their topics of interest. One major feature of Barcamps around the world is breakout sessions. Many attendees use these sessions to pitch business ideas and promote their businesses. During lunch, the organizers prepared the breakout sessions schedule by location and time. Lunch was provided by the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) kitchen staff.
In all, BarCamp Accra had 8 breakout sessions over 2 different time slots. Each session was an hour long. They included “Steps involved in registering your business by Seyywoe” of Register General's Office; “The art of networking: how to ace it” by Stephen Gyasi Kwaw; ““Power to You”- VODAFONE Expectations and Comments on what you expect” by Ruth from Vodafone; and “How relevant are partnerships in entrepreneurial development and how partnerships should be handled in entrepreneurships” by Richard Anim. The rest were “Discovering Google” by Eve Andersson of Google; “Open space” with Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Google Ghana Country Director; “Promoting Ghana using citizen journalism: how to use the available e-media infrastructure” by Mac-Jordan Disu; and “Is it possible to build a global brand from a local sme (small medium-scale enterprise)?” by Daisy Baffoe of MEST.
The event run smoothly and the attendees relished the Barcamp experience. They praised the good turn out and relevance of information shared. The idea was to bring ideas and thoughts on successful entrepreneurship and wealth creation from as many varied stakeholders, and not just the entrepreneurs. It’s important for the attendees to get out and make things happen as a result of what they learnt and the connections and friends that they made. A list of soundbites (including advice for entrepreneurs) from the Barcamp is available on the Barcamp Accra website http://accra.barcampghana.org. Barcamp Takoradi (late Novemeber) and Barcamp Ghana (December) are scheduled to close out 2010. You can find more info at www.barcampghana.org
Recap of the Maiden Event of Barcamp Kumasi
The 18th of September, 2010 saw the first ever regional Barcamp Ghana event: Barcamp Kumasi at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Barcamp Kumasi sought to bring together natives and residents of Kumasi to discuss, share ideas and network in the effort to stimulate development in the township. The theme was "Collaboration: The Key for Opportunity and Development". The event was supported by Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), National Society of Black Engineers (KNUST chapter), GhanaThink Foundation, Google, IPMC Ghana, Fienipa Group, Leadership & Mentorship Academy, Mozilla Firefox, etc. The media partners were Kapital 97.1 FM, Focus 94.5 FM and ModernGhana.com
At about 7.30am, the organizers and volunteers got together at the venue to set up and put things in order for the day. At 8.30am, some of our panelists were in at which time some of our participants were already seated. The event was tweeted - updates about the Barcamp were made public through Twitter - and this allowed people to participate in the Barcamp discussions virtually. The hashtag was #bcksi. Updates were also posted through Facebook.
Barcamp Kumasi kicked off at 9.30am with introductions by Nana Kwabena Owusu, who co-emceed with Nana Oppong Damoah. He also introduced the concept of Barcamps and talked about Barcamp Ghana and Kumasi, and shared a little about the theme. Dr Douglas Adjepong, the president and founder of Leadership and Mentoring Academy, followed with the keynote address. Dr. Agyepong remarked “Collaborate through socializing but do not let it be only talk but let's 'DO' as well”. He also added “Start small and begin to grow from where you are.”
A short interaction followed and then we proceeded to the panel discussion of the day. The topic was “Fostering Entrepreneurship through collaboration and technology”. The panel constituted of Mr Stephen Agyepong - lecturer at the Computer Science department in KNUST, Ms Daisy Baffoe - Communications Fellow at Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), Eugene Oduro Birikorang - Acting Regional Manager, Millicom Gh Ltd (Tigo), and Dr Douglas Adjepong who doubled as the panel head and moderator.
The panel was intense, engaging and insightful, with the panelists, all experienced entrepreneurs, sharing their ideas, views, and opinions. They shared with us their stories, challenges they faced, and great successes they achieved through perseverance and key networking and collaboration. Various issues were touched on: the state of entrepreneurship today, key and unique challenges such as cultural and financial factors, and how collaboration can play a role in fast tracking business ideas and opportunities. An interactive session then followed with participants sharing their views, comments and ideas.
Mr. Agyepong remarked “Entreprenuership is all about risk, managing risk, to harness opportunity.” Daisy also introduced the idea of an intrapreneur to the attendees, saying “You can work for someone and still be an entrepreneur”. The panel discussed the risks involved in doing that. She also added “Our culture does not tolerate failure, its just not an option, this stifles entrepreneurship greatly. ” Mr. Tinkorang also suggested that we “break out of the norm” and change from a Barcamp to a Breakcamp. The challenges of collaborating with others were also discussed. Key takeaways from the panel discussion was the need to find and listen to mentors, ask ‘Why?’, determination and focus as keys to succeed as entrepreneurs and how collaboration and co-production of wealth was key for Ghana’s development.The first break followed during which participants were refreshed with cold cocoa drinks, cup cakes and pies. The snacks were provided by the kitchen staff at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology’s Independence Hall. A popular Ghanaian adage goes by “Chop time, no friends” but at Barcamp Kumasi, it was “chop time, make friends”.
The first set of breakout sessions took place after the break. Four parallel sessions took place: Android Programming and Development by the KNUST GTUG (Google Technology User Group) led by Edward Pie, “Is it Possible to run an antivirus free system” - a discussion on computer security by Saddik Davis, a talk on Leadership by a representative from Leadership and Mentoring Academy, and introduction to the Mozilla communities and a talk on choosing Linux by Kwamena Appiah-Kubi. The breakout sessions lasted 30 minutes after which participants regrouped in the main hall and a participant from each group shared with everyone what they learnt from their session.
The next set of breakout sessions started immediately after but this time with everyone involved instead of breaking up into groups. Participants who had issues to discuss and share came upstage to initiate the discussion. A Peace Corp volunteer talked about a narrative documentary about “Women Issues and the effects it has on Ghana's development. The next question for discussion was “What is the most important asset for success?”. The topic “Time Management in an african context” led by Serwaa Nyarko followed. This session was rounded up with topic “Herbal medicine usage and adoption in Ghana: Success and failures”. Dr. Douglas Agyepong then gave the closing remarks.
The second break then followed and with participants encouraged to network and socialize. Just about this time, Mac-Jordan Degadjor, a prolific blogger and member of the Ghana Blogging community arrived and held an open air breakout session on the benefits of social media.
In all, it was a great event, the youthful participants were enriched with knowledge by our well versed panelists who are contributing in their own small way to the development of Kumasi. The Barcamp Kumasi team also believes the participants would put their newly acquired knowledge to use as they each also contribute their quota to the development of the township. They were about 80 attendees, most of which were students of KNUST. Publicity would be increased next year to attract more Kumasi residents to Barcamp Kumasi 2011. Stay tuned to www.kumasi.barcampghana.org for information about Barcamp Kumasi, as well as media. Barcamp Takoradi and Barcamp Ghana are scheduled to close out 2010. You can find info at www.barcampghana.org
BarCamp Takoradi 2010, an ad-hoc gathering where attendees will meet for discussions, demos and networking, took place on November 27, 2010 at the Takoradi Technical Institute campus in Takoradi, Ghana. The theme was “Leading & Entreprising in an Oil & Technology Fuelled Economy”.
BarCamp Takoradi built on the success of Ghanaian BarCamp events to ignite Sekondi/Takoradi & Western Region's focused discussions and actions in order to bring about much-needed change. It is being organized by the BarCamp Takoradi team which is convened under the GhanaThink Foundation. It has the experience of successfully organizing four BarCamps in Ghana: Barcamp Ghana 08 and 09, Barcamp Kumasi 2010 and Barcamp Accra 2010.
Barcamp Takoradi’s goals include facilitating organic networking and help attendees identify business partners for future projects and ventures. It offered local businessmen and women the chance to promote and get feedback on their entreprises and ventures. It also helped build a local community and network of entrepreneurs, leaders and businessmen after the Barcamp. The Barcamp also identified business opportunities in the oil and gas industry and attendant opportunities for a growing local economy.
BarCamps all over the world have brought together individuals and organizations to collaborate on various projects and businesses. BarCamp Takoradi ’10 is a FREE event for anyone who is interested in using their skills, talent, and resources to benefit Ghana and Africa as a whole. This year,
the focus is on discussing how important collaboration between different industries, business, academia and public institutions is key for opportunity and development.
Takoradi Technical Institute is the only school in West Africa to have a fab lab (fabrication laboratory). The Fab Lab program was started at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There will be an exhibition of work from the Takoradi Fab Lab. The speakers included John Lemaire of AudioCraft, Daniel Pepral of Baker Hughes, amongst others.
Register/RSVP today at the BarCamp Takoradi eventbrite website. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session or promoting a business or venture, let us know, especially if you have special needs. You may also contact the BarCamp Takoradi team through this website for sponsorship opportunities. BarCamp Takoradi 2010 is sponsored by the Takoradi Technical Institute (TTI), Google Ghana, , GhanaThink Foundation, Fie.nipa, Worldwide Web Foundation, NandiMobile, AudioCraft, CTSL - Certified Technology Services Limited. Our media partners are Melody FM, ModernGhana, GhanaBlogging, Sunlight Radio America, The New Ghanaian, and Skyy Digital. The customer support hotline is 0543-288099. You can send questions, comments, and feedback by SMS and get responses.
See you there!