10 UNDER 35 CHANGEMAKERS IN KENYA YOU NEED TO KNOW.

Kenya has got a lot of young change makers who are hardly seen in the national media . During my two months visit to the beautiful city of Nairobi, Kenya I happen to meet some of these young people and I was amazed to hear their stories and the impact they are making in Kenya. Most of them run their own non-profit organisations that focus on gender equity, philanthropy, human right activism, child right protection, entrepreneurship etc. This blogpost is to share what they do and the impact they are making through their various organisations. Enjoy the read!

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Naomi N. Mwaura, a gender activist is the  founder of FloNe Initiative, an organization that promotes social reforms in Africa in order to increase self –reliance and informed choices among African men and women because of the value and potential the organisation sees in our continent. Within this component, the focus will be on three thematic areas: gender equality, education, and sexual and reproductive health. Their vision is to achieve a sustainable improved quality of life for people in Africa. The organisation carries out it’s vision through: Community participation, school participation, gender equity  and sustainability. Naomi was nominated as the “Opportunity Desk-Young Person of the Month (November, 2013). Read her feature article on: Tiny Frame with Giant Marks (Insert below link}  I met Naomi in Nairobi during my educational visit to Kenya and had an opportunity to talk with her about her work and the impact it is making in Kenya. She was introduced to me by Kwabena Mavin Daniels.

 

 

 

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Wiclif Otieno is the founder and CEO of Kito International, a non-profit social enterprise with a simple philosophy: give street youth an economic opportunity, and they will WORK their way off the streets and out of poverty. Kito was started by Wiclif (a former street boy) and focuses on youth between the ages of 15 and 24 by creating sustainable entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for street youth. Kito International hopes to assure that rehabilitated street youth can achieve success. Kito’s goal is to help street youth become productive and contributing world citizens. Kito helps street youth to find employment and attain self-sufficiency by strengthening youth capacity and employability as well as developing entrepreneurial and employment opportunities. The training provided to youth includes life skills training, enterprise skills training, computer skills training and leadership seminars and workshops.  Wiclif was a tedx speaker at TEDxSanJoaquin. I met Wiclif at the iHub in Nairobi during One Acre fund Social Entrepreneurship happy hour where he shared the work he is doing. He was introduced to me by Spencer Ton

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Evans Muriu is the founder and CEO of Kuna Vijana, a non profit making organization that seeks to earn Kenyan youth a name and a reputation by fully tapping, utilizing and exposing talent. A youth initiative with a difference that seeks to change the image the society has towards the youth. It intends to make youth of Kenya a resourceful people in the society and to be able to positively use their interpersonal skills, knowledge and talents to improve the society. The members of Kuna Vijana will be exposed to a variety of opportunities in learning, life skills development, volunteer-ship in order to acquire work experience, leadership qualities development, counseling and support through connections with mentors. Kuna Vijana aspires to be the Kenya’s most comprehensive and successful youth organization by ensuring the youth overcome significant barriers to success which they are facing in the society today and which curtail them in realizing their full potential. Evans Muriu is an Entrepreneur, Business Consultant, Analyst, operations manager for Africa Gathering, Kenya and a philanthropist. Evans was recommended to me by Marieme Jamme.

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David Kimani, founder of Dagoretti Youth Development Group, this is a focused youth group which is up to changing the community. The vision is to  create a world where youth realize their full potential through talents and also the use of drama to create awareness in Dagoretti community, Nairobi Kenya and beyond through partnerships with organization of similar objectives, the main agenda is to nurture the vulnerable youth in schools and out of school and encourage them to take their talents seriously. David was recently featured on Safari Africa TV debut programme dubbed “Youth Outlook” in Nairobi, Kenya. I was privileged to interview David and visit his organisation in Kenya and see what they do in the community.

 

 

1004456_10151461514277271_1214790958_nRaphael is the convener/founder of The Youth Congress, a vibrant youth led initiative in Kenya that provide mostly young men and women in the urban slums and other informal settlements with a platform to enhance youth leadership and meaningful participation in socio-economic and political processes for improvement of their livelihoods and that of their community members at large. He is also the founder of  Miss Koch Initiative, Koch FM Community radioNacka-Nairobi and K-Youth Media.  Raphael is a strategic advisor and a member of key youth organizations and organizations working on youth related issues at the local, national and International fora. Noteworthy, he was instrumental in the process that resulted to amongst others the national Youth Policy and the National Youth Council Act in Kenya. He has been involved at different levels with youth initiatives in Africa, Europe, Asia, North and South America. I was privileged to have a day out with Raphael as he spoke to me about his work and the assistance he is offering the Kenyan youth. He was introduced to me by Chris Ammon.  SOURCE: http://www.unhabitat.org

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Peggy Mativo is the founder of PACE (Promoting Access to Community Education) and the PanAfrican Scholars Program, both which engage passionate youthful volunteers in expanding educational access to African students. PACE is inspired by the vision that one day all Kenyan children will have access to quality education. To tackle the biting teacher shortage in the country, PACE applies a unique strategy where they recruit Kenya’s most promising high school graduates and engage them in all endeavors. After selecting the graduates, they train them as teaching assistants then deploy and support them through the entire period, they work in under-resourced schools. She is a 3rd year student at Harvard University majoring in Chemistry and East Asian Studies. She worked as a Mentor and tutor in the Harvard-Alston Educational Portal, a Campus Ambassador with Teach for China. Peggy recently won the Clinton Global Initiative University Commitment of the Year Award and is an affiliate of the Harambe Entrepreneurial Alliance. I met her through social media and read about the work she is doing.

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Tracey kadada is involved in community work and is the founder of a community based organisation called Entertaining Angels Together. It started as a sport team called the Kenya Redsox Baseball team, it was meant to bring the youths and teenagers to have a relationship with Jesus Christ which has been successful in bringing 200 youths to Christ and teenagers,the organisation has been able to provide feeding programs for the street boys and girls and we have successfully sheltered 20 street kids ,who also play baseball, they have won twice in the provincial zone, they go to school and are doing exploits. They also make beads for a living and they are also great artists. I met her during my educational trip in Kenya.
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Nivi Mukherjee is the co-founder and CEO of eLimu. As a social entrepreneur, technophile and community volunteer, she is passionate about empowering youth and engaging in community initiatives that foster development and fun. She was the Education Quality Assurance Manager at the Institute of Software Technologies, an IT training company based in Nairobi. She also runs Maisha ni Matamu, a “funucational” social project that aims to bring a day full of joy every month to children who are underprivileged and/or orphaned. In her spare time, Nivi organizes cultural festivals, bakes, knits, runs half marathons, folds origami and plays Fußball. As a child, her favourite toy was the Speak & Spell. She was recommended by Ato Ulzen Appiah. SOURCE: http://e-limu.org

5. Simpisium of the HPI-Resarch-School,

Shikoh Gitau is the First African to receive a Google Award, a computer scientist with a heart, and over 8 years experience in ICT4D. Shikoh is the project founder of Ummeli is a mobile jobs and community portal hosted by Vodafone Live and accessible through Young Africa Live. The emphasis is on a community where young Africans can support each other in the development of their careers, share ideas, act as connectors or even just be a sounding board when things seem hopeless. She is a firm believer in human potential and loves looking at how technology can be an enabler to the development of marginalized, and often dismissed members of our society. She was recommended by Ato Ulzen Appiah.

 

 

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Evans Wadongo, he grew up in Kenya, he strained to read by the dim light of a kerosene lantern. Now he’s making solar-charged lanterns and using them to spur economic development.  His use of kerosene lamps during evening study eventually inspired him to create MwangaBora(Swahili for Good Light) in 2004. Through his organization, Sustainable Development For All (SDFA), Evans has distributed thousands of solar lamps to villages across Kenya and other African countries, and helped hundreds of women groups set up projects using money they would otherwise have spent on kerosene. I have not personally interacted with  Evans, but his recent inclusion in the list of “35 under 35 innovators in the world” inspired me to add to this post.

There are many other youth who running amazing projects in Kenya and so proud of them as well. I will be coming up with “10 under 35 Changemakers in Ghana You Need To Know” 

NB: Send me your comments or suggestions to this post through my email: emeritus2011@gmail.com

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BRIGHT SIMONS: Listed among 35 innovators under 35 in the world.

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This is the 13th annual celebration of people who are driving the next generation of technological breakthroughs, we’re presenting the stories in a new way. We’ve grouped them by categories that reflect the variety of approaches that people can take to solving big problems. The Inventors, for instance, are creating new technologies. The Entrepreneurs are turning technologies into viable businesses. The Visionaries are anticipating how technologies can make life better, while Humanitarians are concentrating on expanding opportunities. And the Pioneersare exploring new frontiers, setting the stage for future innovations.

This project takes months of effort. It begins with nominations from the public and MIT Technology Review editors. People who have been selected by our publishing partners as local Innovators Under 35 in several regions worldwide are also considered. The editors go through the hundreds of candidates and select fewer than 100 finalists, all of whom will be younger than 35 on October 1. A panel of judges rates the finalists on the originality and impact of their work. Finally, the editors take the judges’ scores into account to select the group.

Bright Simons,31, founder of mPedigree network, based in Ghana. It allows people to determine with a text message whether their medicine is legitimate. Read Bright’s story below:

“I grew up in Ghana, where we’d inherited the British boarding school system. At Presbyterian Boys High School, many upperclassmen were abusive toward the younger students. Once, I was made to stay awake all night in a kneeling position outside. But in my final year at school I became student council president and led efforts to reduce abuses. That experience opened my eyes to a whole new world of fighting the system—of being an activist. And this led directly to my becoming a technology innovator.

A few years later, after studying astrophysics at Durham University in the U.K., I transferred that instinct to try to help African farmers. They grow food organically by default, because they don’t have money for chemicals. But they also don’t have money for the organic certification process that would let them get better prices. So in 2005, I led a team of PhD students to try to implement a solution using mobile technology.

30%
of medicine sold in some countries is bogus

The idea was that at the point of sale there’d be a code on the product. You’d enter that in a mobile device, and up will pop the history and even pictures of the farm. But we realized a big flaw: farmers have to be trained to do the coding. This was not practical.

But picking up a fruit and wanting to know if it is organically grown is similar to picking up a pack of medicine and seeing if it was properly tested and certified. About 2,000 people die every day from counterfeit medicine. So we shifted the idea to pharmaceuticals.

In 2007 we set up a nonprofit organization in Ghana and rolled out a pilot, and the next year Nigerian health officials invited us to replicate the concept there. But we wanted to get to a point where a big company like Sanofi-Aventis would use us. We learned that most companies won’t do business with an NGO, so in 2009 we launched mPedigree as a business.

You can send a free text message and get a reply in a few seconds verifying [that a medicine] is authentic. In addition, distributors and other middlemen can check the codes to verify that the supply has not been compromised. This helped reveal to a major Indian company that there was pilfering at a depot. Genuine antimalarial medicines would be replaced by counterfeits. The shady characters cannot get away with this anymore. If we had not stopped these leakages in the supply chain, they could have put thousands of patients at risk.

The system is used in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and India, with pilots in Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, and Bangladesh. We’ve got a relationship with many of the major regional—and a growing number of multinational—pharmas, including Sanofi-Aventis. In Nigeria our codes are on 50 million packs of antimalarial drugs alone, and we have just signed up two Chinese drug makers.

We are now expanding to seeds, cosmetics, and other businesses. And new applications are emerging that we hadn’t expected, in the areas of logistics, supply chain management, and marketing. If you send an SMS to check authenticity, you’ve also given good information about exactly where and when a drug was sold—as well as provided a potential marketing opportunity to dispense coupons. We have built a major platform for supply chains in the developing world. But back at my school, of course, they still remember me as the activist.”

as told to David Talbot

There is another African, Evans Wadongo, 27, from Kenya.

SOURCE: http://www.technologyreview.com

BARCAMP TEMA – “Building new industries for our communities”

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BarCamp Tema 2013 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 August 10, 2013 at the Rotary Centre in Tema. The theme is “Building new industries for our communities”. This Barcamp will be the 21st 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.

Tema is well known for its music and entertainment stars which is supporting a local music industry. This Barcamp would focus on how to grow more industries for various entreprising communities. The event will be a showcase of how Ghana’s youth are taking charge of its development and how they can be spurred on to do more. There will be a focus on channeling the present energies around entertainment into positive developments and progress for Tema and surrounding areas as well. This initiative hopes to assemble stakeholders to network, build a supportive enterprising community and partner to build together.

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. There will be a speed mentoring session where mentors will give insights and answers to questions from attendees. Various Tema leaders will be on a panel that will center on the theme. Confirmed resource personnel include Ali Maiga, Caroline Sampson, Benjamin Aggrey, Ob Abenser, Pascaline Edwards, Ali Maiga, Nana Kofi Asihene, Gregory Rockson, Nana Asaase, Doreen Andoh, amongst others.

Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Tema eventbrite website (barcamptema13.eventbrite.com) 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 2013 is sponsored by GhanaThink Foundation, Rotaract Club of Tema, Nandimobile, etc. Our media partners are the Ghana News Agency. Join us to move the Greater Accra Region and Ghana forward.

Stay tuned via our social media.

 

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Personal Branding Summit® to be held in Accra

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Behind closed doors, your brand precedes your value. In recent years Personal Branding has become a major topic of discussion and attraction for entrepreneurs, businesses and job seekers.  Its benefits are gargantuan. In the quest to educate and empower more individuals and corporations in that area, BKC Consulting, a professional and personal development consulting company, primarily known for their training workshops such as ‘e-Publishing’ and ‘Social Media Branding’ is organizing the first ever annual flagship event “Personal Branding Summit®” in Accra, Ghana. To be held on August 10th, 2013, 10:30 AM at the Airport West Hotel, Accra.

The summit’s goal is to fully equip participants on the essence of personal branding in this era, for personal and professional development.

The event will enable participants to utilize available mediums such as social media networking, formal and informal interaction to grow their career aspirations. For graduate students, this will equip them in building a great personal brand for career search, using social media, blog, brand management and reputation.

In this ground-breaking event, participants will discover how to:

  • Reinvent themselves at any stage of their lives.
  • Make their brand go viral.
  • Build a positive self-esteem
  • Become their company’s brand ambassador
  • Discover the critical skills they need to succeed at work and social media skills for career success.
  • Become a subject matter expert and stand out at work
  • Valuable networking techniques that will help you be more productive
  • Explore available job recruitment and job search using social media and
  •  Maintain your reputation and credibility in business.

Resource Persons for the event are:

 

  • Mike Nyeneku CEO, Beige Group
    • Topic: Corporate Branding: Local to Global

 

  • Ben Boateng, GM, Lexta GH. Ltd. & CEO, Talent Management International (TMi)
    • Topic: Customer Service, Presentation & Marketing

 

  • Grace Amey-Obeng, CEO, FC Skin & Beauty Klinik
    • Topic: Personal/Corporate Image: Grooming for Success

 

  • Bernard Kelvin Clive, Amazon Bestselling Author, CEO, BKC Consulting
    • Topic: Social Media Branding/e-Publishing revolution.
    • Personal Branding Essence

 

Presentations by Tina Kyei of Wining Branding Media, UK on “Internet Marketing & Brands”, Alberta Quarcoo of EtiquettePlus on “Manners Matter”.

 

Event partners: FC Skin & Beauty Klinic, Access Bank, Saka Homes, Beige Capital Ltd., DreamHub Consult, Centrifuj, Woman 2.1 Summit, Motivational Speakers Network , Liberation Consult Ltd. Selort Group. GCEEI, EnewsGh, Dreametrix Ltd., EwatchMagazine, Radio XYZ, TV3, GTV.

 

Package: Certificate/Personal Branding Book/ Souvenir/ Refreshment

Participants are to register by calling: 0244961121, 0201161886

Signed:

Bernard Kelvin Clive (BKC)

Amazon Bestselling Author

CEO, BKC Consulting

www.BKC.name

 

C.R.E.A.W: THE MOST EFFECTIVE HUMAN RIGHT ORGANISATION IN KENYA.

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The effectiveness of Kenya’s human right system has got many challenges and this does not allow the citizens to freely express themselves. It is either influenced by politics which makes the women victims of the consequence. It is a saying in Kenya that “if we warn you and you don’t listen, we will shut you down. It is for this reason that Center for Rights Education and Awareness (C.R.E.A.W), a non-governmental, non-partisan organization based in Nairobi, Kenya. This life transforming organization was set up in 1998 by several women lawyers who had common goals and purpose: a commitment to confront the low awareness of women’s real needs and rights in society.

The organisation was set up by the effort of women and men who stood against all threats and oppression from people who did not want human rights to be a free universal commodity for the people of Kenya. Some of these building pillars of the organisation were imprisoned and bullied during protest and other events to advocate for human right in Kenya. CREAW’s  mission is to transform the Kenyan society through the promotion and expansion of women’s human rights, rule of law and social justice. The organisation has targeted mostly gender issues such as bride price, male domination, gender violence, sexual rights, etc. Many women have been saved as a result of the work and advocacy of CREAW

For more information visit: http://creawkenya.org/

REGINA AGYARE AND DEBORA AHENKORA SELECTED AS FELLOWS OF THE ASPEN INSTITUTE.

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Regina Agyare, CEO of Soronko Solutions, a social start up which seeks to equip rural Ghanaian youth with problem solving skills by studying Science,Technology,Engineering & Mathematics through an interactive supplementary curriculum and apprenticeship program. She  has been selected as the Aspen Institute fellow.  Aspen Institute,  is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

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Co-Founder & Executive Director, Golden Baobab, it fuels the global imagination through African children’s literature by discovering, training and enabling writers and illustrators to produce beautiful books for African children and young adults. She has also been selected as the Aspen Institute fellow.

According to Aspen Institute,they have been selected to be part of the The New Voices Fellowship at the Aspen Institute, is a groundbreaking initiative designed to bring more expert voices from the developing world into the global development discussion. The Fellowship, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, offers development experts from Africa and other parts of the developing world a year-long program of media support, training, research and writing under the guidance of experienced mentors and trainers.

The program will help Fellows to sharpen their messages, elevate their stories, focus their media targets, and communicate their insights across a variety of media platforms – illuminating crucial grassroots perspectives for a broad worldwide audience.Fellows can be drawn from a variety of development disciplines, ranging from public health and education to poverty alleviation, agriculture, sanitation and community activism.  Ideal candidates are experts in their fields who have a deep understanding of broad development challenges and a passion for communicating their views.  They will be attending the Inaugural Meeting in Johannesburg from June 17-22, 2013 with other fellows from other African countries.

Visit http://www.aspeninstitute.org

IQ4News Expands to Nigeria and South Africa

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IQ4News, Africa’s innovative online journalism organisation, has expanded its news and analysis offerings to Nigeria and South Africa.
“For the past year or so we have focused primarily on the East African market, especially Kenya,” said Dr Yemisi Akinbobola, founder and editor-in-chief of IQ4News. “We recognise the pivotal role that Nigeria and South Africa play on the African continent, and we have responded to this by recruiting exceptionally talented online journalists in both countries”. Covering news from Nigeria, Iliya Kure is a seasoned radio journalist with experience with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), as well as freelance work with the Voice of America (VOA). He has also previously worked with the Nigerian Television Authority(NTA), and is a mass communication graduate of the University of Maiduguri. Kure was a 2009 Ford Foundation/Devcomms Fellow, and was the recipient of the 2008 Health Performance Award for a series of reports on polio and other health reports. “I am delighted to join the growing team at IQ4News,” said Kure. “I believe the company has the potential to initiate much needed innovation in the news media industry in Nigeria and across the continent”. Media consultant and TV producer, Dan Akinlolu, will be leading IQ4NewsTV content from South Africa. Dan’s productions have enjoyed national and international broadcast, and alongside his film making achievements, he is also an award-winning creative writer. “I am very excited about the video projects we have at IQ4News,” said Dan. “IQ4News is a growing organisation and I believe that gives it room to try out new and innovative formats for the web”. Africa has seen a rise in the emergence of online news organisations in the past decade, and this has facilitated greater access to news, not just in relation to the medium through which news is consumed, but also in terms of the kind of news that is made available to the public. “This is an exciting period for journalism in Africa,” said Joab Apollo, IQ4News journalist, Kenya. “IQ4News has a big role to play in ensuring that the momentum is not lost”. Recognising the important role that social media and user participation plays in the industry, social media and contributor management manager, Kofi Yeboah, will be advancing IQ4News’ presence on social networking sites, as well as managing how IQ4News interacts with its contributors. “User generated content was part of the original business model for IQ4News, and we do not want to lose sight of our interaction with our users and contributors,” said Kofi, who is also a final year student at Cape Coast University, Ghana.

Visit IQ4News at www.iq4news.com.

NOTES

IQ4News is an online journalism organisation that produces news and analysis on Africa with a team of reporters and contributors, IQ4News provides key insights of news from across the continent. IQ4News is the first African news website to use a hyper-local delivery mechanism to organise a large information portal. IQ4News combines a wide range of media types which include articles, videos, audio, photojournalism and editorial cartoons.

Company History

IQ4News is a website that was established as a media blog in 2007, and later re-branded as an info-columnist blog of Africa in 2008. It was registered as a company in 2010, and subsequent launched its new website in January 2011 with a tagline of “Ubuntu through New Media”. Our business philosophy, “Ubuntu through New Media”, refers to the creative combination of ‘Ubuntu’ – the African philosophy promoting community – with the new information age, to create a collaborative platform. The vision for IQ4News is to deliver investigative and incisive analysis on current affairs in Africa; exploring the ‘why’ and ‘how’, NOT the ‘what’ and ‘when’. IQ4News wants to make a lasting difference to online journalism in Africa. We cherish our role in the society as journalists and are committed to strict ethical guidelines needed to better inform our audience.

Contact us for more information:
General: info@iq4news.com
Editor: editor@iq4news.com
Contributors: contributors@iq4news.com
Advertising: advertise@iq4news.com
Charity of the Month: cotm@iq4news.com

THE POWER OF NETWORKING: A LESSON FOR GRADUATES.

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Picture by: Kofi Yeboah

Networking is when like-minded people meet and discuss about  mutual opportunities that will benefit them. It involves sharing ideas with people of similar interest. Many graduates complete school without having any network of friends who will be of great help to them. Many of these graduates sit in lecture rooms and do not even bother to greet or say hello to the next person sitting next to them. Networking with friends has been one of the tools for success confirmed by many successful people. 

Networking is an essential part of building wealth. Andrewws Williams

Your opportunity might be sitting next to you and all you need to grab it is to say hello or greet, lets put away our pride and do what we will one day benefit from. Make friends with people who are even not reading the same programme with you. These are some of the essentials things that winners do. In this our 21st century, its all about recommendation and this will be done by the very people we meet daily.

Robert Kiyosaki says, “The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.”

If graduates are going to take over the world then they need to master the skill of networking, ability to communicate with people from every part of the world. I have seen the power of networking in so many ways and how it has worked in my favour. In this world, people recommend who they know for contracts. My young mentor, Ato Ulzen Appiah once said,

it is not about who you know that can get you the job or contract, but it is who knows what you know that gets you the job.

In other words, people will recommend you only if they know you are good for it. It can also mean that people will not recommend you even if you are an expert because they do not know you. Have friends across all sectors especially my dear students, do not look at other students who are studying other programmes as inferior. The tables will one day turn around. In my search for answers and confirmation of the power of networking, I reached out to some outstanding young people in the world who are effecting positive change to share their thoughts on the essence of  Networking.

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“Networking helps to increase an individual’ human resource assets. you’re able to have a pool of people to   call for help in your career development. Networking helps to increase your opportunities as each network is capable of informing you of any available opportunity.” Emmanuel Woyome, Career Coach, & Destiny Pathfinder. He helps people to find their place in life for effectiveness & fulfillment  He writes, speaks, coaches and trains on Career & Personal Development. He is the author of two books.

 

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“How far you go in life is directly proportionate to who you know. It sounds like a cliche, but there is a lot of luck involved in business, financial success, career climbing, however, the more people you know, the luckier you get. Networking is the vehicle for luck.” Simon Dixon, has worked with venture capitalists and helped companies go public, raised angel finance for his first business, he has helped businesses raise alternative finance, written two books on the future of banking, Simon Dixon has the passion to work with entrepreneurs and do something a bit disruptive in the banking sector. CEO BankToTheFuture.com

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 “The essence of networking is to provide a strategic (personal advertising) outlook to an external audience. It activates deep entrenched knowledge, capability and competence. The youth must embrace the culture of networking to encapsulate the mechanism of success and unimpeded breakthrough.” Daniel Bonsu, Chief Consultant/Co-Founder, Golden Africa Group · London, United Kingdom.

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“Your success Quotient = 2(connectivity quotient) + 3(quality of connections)”. Charles Kofi Fekpe, Chartered certified accountant, I am also the Managing Consultant of CFEKPE Consulting Ltd and also a Published Writer.

 

 

 

 

 

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“One of the most essential skills you need to have in order to grow in your career is networking skills. I have worked with and been helped by many people that I have met through networking. And it should always be reciprocal. Working alone is not an option in today’s world”. Dr. Yemisi Akinbobola, visiting lecturer at Birmingham City University,  founder and editor-in-chief of IQ4News.

 

 

 

 

Ato

“It’s not about “who you know” but about “who knows what you know”. Networking allows you to expand your knowledge base, increase the number of people who can deliver skills and resources you might need as well. By making people know what you know, they are able to find and recommend you for opportunities.” Ato Ulzen-Appiah, co-founder Museke.com, an African music website. Initiator of BarcampGhana.

 

 

 

 

 

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“Find and/or make a peer network of passionate doers as your core base (80% of your focus), and then continue to interact with all of kinds of people (20%), understanding what others are looking for and helping them out (60%), while sharing what you are passionate about (40%), and a powerful flow will rapidly develop and grow” Todd Porter Co-founder IMPACT Foundation Japan / TEDxTokyo.

 

 

 

 

 

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Networking is one powerful element that aids in achieving ones goal in their area of interest. Though people underestimate it, one ought to take it seriously to build a personal ecosystem. In Ghana, we build our first level and lifetime networks from Secondary School. However in my opinion, every time you meet someone, you ought to move from trying to be the only island with one route to being an island that has many routes to other islands. It’s about making an impression and a connection in a matter of second. How do we achieve this? Being polite, open and maintaining integrity. Nehemiah Kwesi TT Senyo Yelu Attigah, an experienced software engineer, project manager, business analyst,Microsoft Dynamics specialist ,a blogger, and entrepreneur. He is a member of the Ghana Think (BarCamp Ghana) and BloggingGhana’s BlogCamp Teams.

 

 

 

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“The thing about networking is that it has ‘exponential effects’. Take the old idea of ‘six degrees of separation’, that is the notion that everyone can connect to anyone on the globe through a maximum of six intermediate contacts. It follows that the greater the diversity of one’s network, the higher the relevance of contacts to one’s likely goals and ambitions, since contacts are more likely to be ‘connections’ rather than mere acquaintances. To my mind, young people can do nothing better than diversifying the networks to which they belong.”   B. Simons is the Director of Development Research at IMANI, and the Coordinator of the mPedigree Network. He performs a range of functions for IMANI related to social marketing, research and coordinating alliances.

GHANA: RESTRUCTURING THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM CAMPAIGN (THE GRADE “A” DISEASE)

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Has the education system failed our students and the nation at large? The answer is yes, perhaps it is how our education system is structured that needs to be questioned. Students especially those in the  tertiary get disappointed when they graduate with all the best grades they have when they do not get all the glorious life and happiness education promised them. Other students in the so called developed countries do enjoy that promise because of the different educational structure they have. Parents pay huge sums of money and still get no reward for doing that, they have to even continue to feed their child until he/she finds a job to do.  The number of graduates that complete the university increase every year, but unemployment rate is rising and never declining.

In the year 2011, the rate of jobless graduates hit 44.8%. 44.8 percent of graduates from the universities, polytechnics and other tertiary institutions are said to be jobless, a data has revealed. These graduates are believed to be in the age bracket of 22 and 25, a study conducted by Dr. William Baah-Boateng, a labour economist and senior lecturer at the Department of Economics, the University of Ghana has disclosed. The study was based on 2006 findings, but the number of jobless graduates is said to have gone up following the implementation of the fiscal stabilization programme, spanning 2008 to 2012. However, most of the jobs created during the period are vulnerable with limited or no social protection, the study indicated. Vulnerable employment has declined but still remains high. Yearly, several graduates from the country’s tertiary institutions estimated to be in the region of 50,000 come out of school searching for jobs. This excludes those from the senior high school and the junior high schools, who number over 300,000……….. He was optimistic that these graduates will find jobs after four years, noting some of these graduates do not even know where to go and find jobs. In 2006, about 2.6 million Ghanaians were not working or jobless with some deciding not to work. Nana Owusu Afari, President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), who also made a presentation, noted that industries do not need second and third degrees, urging young graduates to acquire skills and experience before doing so. He urged government to support the training of graduates, adding that industry can only offer short courses and not the entire training programmes.  (GhanatoGhana.com)

I believe education is supposed to bring change and make students creative. Why do majority of Ghanaian graduates look for jobs after they complete school? Could this be one of the reasons for the rising unemployed graduates? Did formal education teach us to be dependent on the government for jobs?

People enter the tertiary institutions and become less creative; their ingenuity gets shuttered for life. It is as if the formal education covers the eyes of our imagination with an unseen blanket. Students do not even think beyond the walls of the tertiary environment, their minds tend to be closed from the outside world. They do not even know the trending opportunities that easily put money into ones pocket. All they think of is how they are going to pass their quizzes, how to get past questions and get an “A” in every course. “Getting an “A” in the formal education does not make you an A student in life”. Students in the tertiary do not even bother to know what is happening outside them (current affairs). Business students study about marketing, but will never sell anything on campus, they are good sales people with respect to grades, but not in the real life. Selling is even seen as a job for illiterates. Every graduate wants to work at a place where his study of interest is. We are limited in life due to the courses we read, we read nothing else in school apart from the books and notes given us. We are being prepared to take the seat as future leaders, but we all know that our colleagues who schooled in the foreign countries will take these seats first and leave the unimportant ones to us because they have a better education than we do. For example in some countries like Singapore which has per capita GDP higher than USA, Japan and other so called developed countries, changed their educational system from the traditional way of learning to innovative, less classroom and more creativity.

Getting excellent grades does not equate to getting higher income in life, if it was so teachers would have been the richest people in the world. In Ghana, about 90% of teachers are poor, why! Why do we keep on deceiving our generation that this kind of formal education is the key to our progress?  All a child knows in Ghana is to go to school, get a job, marry, go on retirement and spend your pension salary and wait to die. Let us wake up from our sleep, nobody will come and change what we need to change for us. The current educational system is not helping and is the cause of our consistent poverty as a nation. Students are so concerned about their grades that even if they do not get good grades they assume that they have failed in life. They equate higher grades to higher income and it’s not true. Ask yourself why Ghanaians start business and they fail, but a foreigner comes to start the same business and they succeed and they will intend employ us. Many graduates are employed in businesses that they barely apply what they learnt in school. We come out of school and we don’t even know how to do common power point presentation, we do not even find time to assess ourselves to see how well we are ready for the market, instead we are busy thinking of how we can excel in out quizzes and exams. One thing graduates forget is that there is a vast difference between schooling and education, the former is a want and the latter is a necessity. Ninety percent of education is learnt in the real life and not in the classroom that is why some graduates get surprised when they come out of school and they do not get jobs to do. Universities award best business student and these students have not even come out with any business idea or have not been running any practical business while on campus, no award is given to the best entrepreneurial student. We praise students who excel in grades and condemn those who excel in real life. If we really want our students to be at par globally, then we need to change our method of teaching from kindergarten to tertiary.

Computer science students do coding on papers, study programmes that are outmoded and does not meet the current standards. We have students who are reading courses that are literally irrelevant to their programme and one sad thing is that they are sacked from the institution if they fail that course. For example, a student reading Biological Science will be given an African Studies course which is supposed to help the student have a fair knowledge about Africa, but if he should fail that course and he even get A’s in all his main courses, he will be sacked, how? Student are seen as intelligent based on their ability to solve past questions so if a student is not fortunate to get these past questions then he is not a brilliant student. Anybody, who is very good at memorizing without being a student, can get A’s in most of the courses in our tertiary institutions.

 

 

MENTAL SLAVERY

My greatest concern has been for those who write exams and fail especially entry exams to tertiary institutions. Those who fail assume they are failures in life and that they will not amount to anything in society and they begin to act as such. We have made them to believe that their contribution outside the classroom is worthless. Their self- esteem is killed and they assume they are incompetent, some struggle writing the particular subject they failed numerous times with the hope that they will pass one day. Mentally, they cannot think beyond passing their exams. I believe that it is not everybody that will be okay with the classroom style, instead there should be another alternative. Imagine someone who read Visual Arts in the High School and did extremely well in his electives and had to stay in the house for close to four years because he failed Mathematics. There should be a different grading system for every programme in the SHS. We are wasting human resources if we allow all these brilliant people to stay in the house for these number of years.  Young people with creative ideas are in the house re-writing courses they failed in SHS of which they will not be using in the real world and teachers and society make them  believe that they are not intelligent. In the university we read courses which have nothing in relation to our main programme of study and a student who fails will be sacked and labeled a failure in life. This mental harm will make the person not function to his maximum because he has also come to the realization that he is a failure. The fact that a student failed to remember the solution to a past question does not make him a failure. If you are first or second class student in academics it should reflect in the real world as well.

 

ALTERNATIVE METHOD

Technology (Bill Gates’ view): This is a conversation that Jeffrey R. Young had with Bill Gates about the Future of Higher Education, which was originally published by The Chronicle of Higher Education, USA. He shared a very effective method of learning and teaching with technology. You can get the full conversation on www.thegatesnotes.com

It is not every student who is comfortable with the classroom or lecture room setting and so this online education should be encouraged to reduce the number of youth who are in the house doing nothing.

I will share a few strategies that can help our educational system to be better:

  • There should be less focus on grading or passing of “paper exams” and refocus on passing practical service. Students should be made to take field work relating to their study and much of the grading should be based on this. This will minimize cheating in exams and quizzes as students will know that their grading is not based on the written exams.
  • We should bring experts in the working field to come and lecture students about the changes in the market, to help student adapt to current trends.
  • Universities should allow companies and organisations to mount courses and bring their own people to teach them.
  • Students should be taught to create their own businesses than to wait on government to be employed. Entrepreneurship should be practically taught. Business students should set up businesses on campus and run it for profit. This is should be part of their grading system.
  • Students should be given exams questions (some programmes) before they sit for the exams, this will make them become expects in that area.
  • We should do away with traditional structure and replaced it with a more flexible approach that encourages creativity and problem solving, individualized learning, and a wider range of academic and vocational options. This is one of the decisions Finland made and today, its students rank among the top on global assessments of student learning, http://www.oecd.org/pisa/.
  • There should be an assessment system or team to consistently check the progress of the education system and effect changes where necessary.

These are my own views on Ghana’s educational system, there might be mistakes to the approaches i suggested above, please do well to comment or share your views.