Attend a Free Networking Forum in Accra

 BarCamp Accra 2014 is a free networking forum where participants learn, share and network. This 42nd Barcamp in Ghana takes place on December 20, 2014 at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology in East Legon, Accra. The theme is ‘Expanding Excellent Entreprises’. This is part of the Barcamp Ghana program run by the GhanaThink Foundation (now 10 years old), building a network of change makers, doers and Banner for event pageentrepreneurs.

Over the last 6 years since Barcamps in Ghana started, we’ve championed businesses ‘starting up’. We now have many young Ghanaian businesses. Now, we need to see these grow. We’ll be discussing great Ghanaian entreprise examples. Come learn from, share and network with various young professionals and students. Some of our confirmed resource personnel include Bridget Otoo (TV3), Nana Yaw Asiedu (Oxford & Beaumont), Rosy Fynn (Surfline), Anima Misa (Sapphire), Alex Bram (SMS GH), Christabel Dadzie (Optimal Solutions), Selorm Branttie (mPedigree), Anita Erskine (Viasat1), etc

Register at Barcamp Accra Eventbrite site.   You can also register by sending “Barcamp Accra Your Name Your Email Address” to 1945 on all mobile networks.(example – Barcamp Accra Esi Eshun esi@eshun.co) .  Contact us via barcamp at www.ghanathink.org for sponsorship or partnership opportunities. Our hashtag is #bcaccra.

Barcamp Accra 2014 is supported by Making All Voices Count, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology,mPedigree GoldKeys, Saazaa Shoes, Nandimobile. Our media partners areSpy Ghana, YFM, XFM and Citi FM.

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Yofi Grant, Executive Director of Databank Groups To Speak At Barcamp Tema

Yofi Grant

Yofi Grant

Mr Yoofi Grant, Director of the Databank Group, an investment banking firm in Ghana will be speaking at this year’s Barcamp Tema on March 22, 2014 at the Rotary Centre (Club House) in Tema.

Mr Grant is experienced in banking and finance, including, but not limited to, treasury, financial restructuring and management, divestiture and privatisation, as well as equity, debt and project finance. He will be sharing on how the youth could build and live an excellent life for their personal development.

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

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

This Barcamp will focus on sharing and educating on many tips and ways of excellence. Various presentations on this topic would be done by Enyonam Kumahor of ThoughtWorks, as well as Emmanuel Gamor of Global Media Alliance. As usual, the Barcamp will feature multiple user-generated breakout sessions about business, social entrepreneurship, technology and development, alongside topics relevant to the Greater Accra Region and beyond.

Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Tema eventbrite or text “Barcamp Tema [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network.. You may also contact the BarCamp Tema team through the eventbrite page for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.

BarCamp Tema 2014 is sponsored by GhanaThink Foundation, Google, Rotaract Club of Tema, Nandimobile, etc. Our media partners are CITI FM, Adom TV, MPWR Show. Join us to move the Greater Accra Region and Ghana forward.

December 5th Pitch Competition For Female Entrepreneurs in Ghana!

Next Wave Africa

Next Wave Africa

The Next Wave is a movement to support female entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Our goal is to strengthen female entrepreneurs by providing opportunities and resources specific to women who seek to pursue high growth entrepreneurship.

The group meets monthly and offers activities and events that are focused on developing entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial skills, and angel investment. These monthly activities include networking sessions, mentor mingles, pitch practice and development, and business pitch competitions. The goal of Next Wave is to form a network of innovation hubs and co-working spaces that will provide a structure to help increase the number of high growth women entrepreneurs and strengthen female-led businesses in emerging markets.

The Next Wave Africa pilot is taking place in Accra, Ghana. See our events page for our first pitch competition!! Our goals over the next six months are to successfully pilot in Ghana and begin building the infrastructure to scale our model to at least five other emerging markets.  Our priority areas are Africa, Latin America, and India.

We are currently building partnerships that will help us promote high growth women’s entrepreneurship in emerging markets.  The Next Wave is seeking:

Mentors, Workshop Leaders, Donors, and Investors.

Women and men who are willing to offer their time, skills, and/or     funding to help build female high growth entrepreneurship in   Africa and beyond.

  • Partners to help provide opportunity for local entrepreneurs in the community.  Potential partners include co-working spaces, accelerators, incubators, foundations, governments, and other organizations and individuals interested in building and strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems in emerging markets, especially those that encourage the participation of women.

 

Join us! www.nextwaveafrica.com * info@nextwaveafrica.com

Ghana to host the 1st African Young Activists Conference in 2014

AYAC2014Adroe Global Foundation for Humanity a Ghana based youth led NGO in its quest to empower the youth has initiated the African Young Activities Conference to be held in Accra from February 27 to March 1, 2014.

“The conference is a  weaved to encourage, highlight and building a new youthful and useful purpose driven generated ideas to address present challenges and therefore taking a 360 degrees turn of effecting the desired change that truly seek the well being of the African and developments” Eric Roosevolt Adom, the Executive Director of Adroe Global Foundation says.

The Conference is under the Theme: STAND UP FOR CHANGE “Building the next generation of Africa…”  and aims at building the next generation of young activists in Africa.

“AYAC 2014 is not just a unique occasion to live directly multilateral diplomacy, but it is also a great opportunity to meet youths from all over Africa and around the world.” Mr. Eric Adom added

Adroe Global Foundation for Humanity is movement of young activist who gears at unearthing young targeted activists and their talents to promote and propagate the visions of Africa.

Editor’s Note:

Kindly visit our website at http://adroefoundation.org/index.php/component/content/article?id=53 to register and attend this conference.

Source: http://awakeafrica.org

The Essence of Personal Branding in the Social Media Era

The No Nonsense Guide to Personal Branding

The No Nonsense Guide to Personal Branding

 

Does personal branding really matter? This is it: whether you are a job seeker or entrepreneur, your personal brand and online presence has immense effect on you. A recent survey by Jobvite stated that more and more recruiters are turning to social media to aid them in their job recruitment, and that an individual’s online presence is one great determinant for securing a job.

“Candidates best watch what they put on their social profiles, as an overwhelming majority of recruiters form negative opinions from posts flaunting drugs, alcohol, and profanity—and 42% of recruiters have apparently reconsidered an applicant (either positively or negatively) based on what a social profile revealed.” ~ Jobvite

The shocking revelations, confirms lots of the point and concerns raised in the book. The simple guide helps readers, to use the Four D’s (4 D’s) and Four P’s (4 P’s) to build their personal brand. Let’s take a quick overview:

 

DiscoveryPersonal Discovery ~ Purpose.

Development – Working on your talents ~ Preparation.

DesignPlatform building, Career and work life ~ Positioning

DeploymentService and execution ~ Publicity, Promotion

The goal is to build a brand base on authenticity, value creation and service. Here again, according to the bayt.com report, about 9 out of 10 search for people’s profiles online after they have applied for a job or about to meet in person either for business or the activities. It’s proves that personal branding and having an online presence is really important in this age, and that it can either work for or against you. From the report it stated that, “In fact, even something as simple as a photograph could influence decision-makers, with eight in 10 (79.6%) respondents of the belief that their online photo effects how they are perceived.” The crust of the matter is that these polls were not conducted anywhere than East and North Africa. It’s now time to take your personal brand seriously. Don’t be left out.

This is what an international Best seller had to say concerning the book:

“With the speed of changes in the world today, success has no geographical borders. In this engaging book, Bernard Kelvin Clive shares principles from his own success in Ghana that can inspire and guide readers anywhere in the world. With a gentle and humble spirit, he reminds us that building a name for ourselves is most easily done not by manipulating and pushing but simply by serving others. I highly recommend The No Nonsense Guide to Personal Branding for anyone who has a voice to be heard.” Dan Miller, author of New York Times bestselling 48 Days to the Work You Love.

Remember: It’s time to make your career and brand count. “#SocialMedia can get you the attention you want but not the trust you need. You got to build trust. #PersonalBranding” ~ If you are interested in learning how to position yourself properly online, a copy of the book “The No Nonsense Guide to personal Branding for Career Success”

Your brand matters.

Author: Bernard Kelvin Clive | Amazon Bestelling Author | #1 Self-Help Podcast Host in Ghana

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.

BARCAMP TEMA.

 

BarCamp Tema 2012 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Tema, Ghana and beyond. It will take place on October 27, 2012 at the Central University Campus in Miotso near Tema. The theme for this year is “Vertical mentoring and horizontal inspiration, driving excellence”. This Barcamp hopes to assemble stakeholders to network, build a supportive enterprising community and partner to build together.


The GhanaThink Foundation has successfully organized 17 BarCamps in Ghana. BarCamp Tema 2012 is being organized in conjunction with the Google Group at Central University College. 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. The spotlight will be on demonstrating the power of mentoring and role models and how youth can inspire other youth to drive excellence. There will be a focus on channeling the present energies around entertainment into positive developments and progress for Tema and surrounding areas as well.


The Barcamp will feature multiple user-generated breakout sessions about business, social entrepreneurship, technology and development, alongside topics relevant to the Volta Region and beyond. There will be a speed mentoring session where mentors will give insights and answers to questions from attendees. We are also organizing a start-up bazaar  where young entrepreneurs and innovators can showcase their products and services.


Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Tema eventbrite website (barcamptema12.eventbrite.com) or text “Barcamp Tema [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network.. You may also contact the BarCamp Ho 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 2012 is sponsored by Central University College, GhanaThink Foundation, Google Ghana, Nandimobile, Fienipa Group, etc. Our media partners are Spy Ghana, Modern Ghana, TNG, and the Ghana News Agency. Join us to move the Greater Accra Region and Ghana forward.

 

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BRIGHT SIMONS.

Bright 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. These duties have involved speaking engagements around the world and led to numerous quotations in the international press, ranging from opinions in the Asian Times to appearances on the BBC.  In 2009, he joined the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer Community at Davos. Bright, a TED and Ashoka Fellow, is a member of the Evian Group, and an active member of other development-focused societies in Africa and elsewhere, including the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Mobile Communications of the World Economic Forum. He is a recipient of numerous awards, ranging from Marie Curie and Commonwealth Vision Grants to a PPARC Scholarship in Gamma Ray Astronomy.

@Kofiemeritus: What really sparked the idea behind MPedigree project?

@BBSimons: Between 2004 and 2005, I was committed to returning to Ghana after a number of years in Europe, where I was involved in social activism. Having previously been a student activist, I was somewhat frustrated by the results the activist community was getting in connection with a number of critical social issues. I wanted to do something that was likely to have more measurable and transformative impact. Something which could paint a clear “before and after” picture for a particular social issue of high significance. I was convinced that social entrepreneurship was the right path to follow and I had already begun reaching out to organisations like Ashoka. Seeing however that I was committed to solving a high-impact problem and yet had very little resources, I saw mobile phone technology as the best ally in addressing the goals I had in mind. The infrastructure was already widespread and entrenched; all I had to do was negotiate access. Convincing major organisations to come on board was a challenge that appealed to my activist mindset. Because I also maintained connections to the policy community, partly because I was then an adjunct fellow at IMANI, I had access to some persuasive voices. I teamed up with some doctoral students after I came up with the first concept – using mobile technology to enhance agricultural supply chains. That project however required more resources than we originally anticipated. But the experience was priceless. Before I finally relocated to Ghana, I came face to face with the problem of counterfeit medicines while exploring the original supply chain issue. I knew immediately that this was the supply chain issue that most fitted the concept I had developed and mPedigree was born.

 

@Kofiemeritus: Tell me briefly about the mPedigree project and the social problem it solves.

@BBSimons: mPedigree enables manufacturers and marketers of medicines to uniquely track each pack of medicine through a labeling technique known as ‘serialisation’. When consumers buy a pack of medicine that has been serialized, they are able to send a unique serial ID on the pack to a secure hotline for an instant response whether the pharmaceutical is of sound quality or not. The service is completely free of charge to the consumer/patient. The goal of the service is to protect consumers and patients from the super harmful effects of counterfeit medicines which are estimated to kill more than 2,000 people daily. mPedigree works with several telecom companies and global technology companies like Hewlett Packard to provide the service.

@Kofiemeritus: How easy was it to come up with the name of the company & product?

@BBSimons: I always believed the success of the project will hinge on how holistic it was. Since we were committed to gradually deepening the service to cover the entire supply chain, we were very attracted to the word ‘pedigree’ which connotes full assurance about the origin of a species. The ‘m’ stands for ‘mobile’ or for some people ‘master’, ‘modular’ or ‘monitor’.

@Kofiemeritus: What should Africans and the world expect in the next five or ten years from the mPedigree project. (What other new things will you be adding to the existing one)

@BBSimons: The original goal was massive: to create a system to completely illuminate the supply chain of medicines across Africa and South Asia. We have never wavered. We have never deviated. So far we have only achieved bits and pieces of it in about half a dozen countries in Africa. Our passion is fuelled by the urgency to see that original mission to its conclusion, bringing on board as many partners as possible, and inspiring as sustainable a whole new movement.

@Kofiemeritus: What has been the greatest hurdle to have overcome in the course of implementing the mPedigree project?

@BBSimons: There has been several. For a start, we started with very little resources and still run on a super-lean budget. You learn to do only the things that matter most, and to focus on core values when there isn’t a sea of resources to splash around. But it can also mean that things take longer. As an African organization, our influence with global organisations has been predictably limited. Given the global character and scale of the problem we definitely need more influence to make more progress. We have also not been very impressed by the orientation of several of the governments in Africa to this problem. Sometimes, regulation has tended to get in the way rather than smooth things along.

@Kofiemeritus: How does your work with IMANI Ghana shape the future of Ghana and Technology?

@BBSimons: I strongly believe that social and technology innovators in Africa ignore policy and politics at their peril. The challenges of the continent are such that innovators require a strong exposure to both in order to advance the new models that are required to scale fresh solutions in Africa. I believe working with IMANI has broadened my understanding of critical social and political issues and given my work a more sophisticated edge. As you probably know, IMANI has been very active in pushing policies that advance telecom development in Ghana.

@Kofiemeritus: Have you passed up any opportunity which you now regret? Are you happy with your current career and job?

@BBSimons: Well I could have charted an academic path and perhaps made some original contributions at the cutting edge of scientific scholarship. God knows more African voices are needed in global academia. But I believe becoming an entrepreneur while maintaining strong links to the policy and research communities should ultimately make my contributions to knowledge even sharper and original.

@Kofiemeritus: You have met a lot of great people, How was meeting former President Clinton and President George Bush like? Any memories to share?

@BBSimons: I am always touched by the complexity of these encounters. I was surprised to learn that President Bush was quite intimately familiar with Ghana. He rattled off several facts and names that left me truly astounded. President Clinton, while not referring to Ghana specifically, came across as very policy-conscious in how he views Africa. He is a fan of the mobile technology revolution going on here but he appeared concerned about the pace of policy innovation to go alongside it.

@Kofiemeritus: What is your greatest dream for Ghana?

@BBSimons: A new EGYPT and ABYSSINIA rolled into one. A modern African country that does not rely solely on past glories, but strives to make original contributions to knowledge, innovation and intellectual excellence in world civilization.

@Kofiemeritus: What are some of the books you read that you will encourage young ones to read and what is your favourite quote in life?

@BBSimons: I am fond of books that address the foundational and fundamental essence of social and political organization, especially in the context of Africa. Generally, anything by Steve Biko, Hayek, Achebe, Freire and the early Diop.

@Kofiemeritus: What practical advice will you have young Ghanaians with dreams of starting their own business; courses to take in schools, groups/associations to join, mentors, etc.

@BBSimons: The greatest skill in my view is to use failure, rejection and disappointment as motivational forces to achieve more. Be angry, not depressed. Embrace anger, not self-pity. If someone won’t play fair or right by you, it’s their loss not yours. Don’t waste your time fighting irrationality – the social system is dysfunctional, so it can by definition not be rational. It is to be uprooted not reasoned with. Fight, rage, start something else. Never let rejection take you down. Learn from your mistakes. Be furious about injustice. Be committed to seeing the dignity in all fellow human beings realized. Find trustworthy friends, and stick to them with the fierce loyalty of a warrior to her companion in battle. If you think solely of your success, it will be hard to rebounce after each failure. Go to bed believing that your success will bring meaning to a million lives. That is the only way to effectively harness anger without being self-destructive in a world where everything is much harder than one could ever have anticipated at the start.

FETU AFAHYE IN HONOUR OF THE LATE PRESIDENT EVANS ATTA MILLS.

“Fetu Afahye” is a cultural festival that is celebrated by the Fanti tribe of the people of Cape Coast, Ghana. The actual meaning of “Fetu Afahye” is “Cleaning Festival”, it is celebrated in order to help clean the environment of Cape Coast, the capital of the central region. It is a week long celebration and it begins on a Monday  and ends on Sunday. This year’s celebration was a different one all together because it was celebrated in honour of the late President His Excellency John Evans Atta Mills. He is a native of the town.

This year’s theme for celebration is “Asafo companies ; the past, present and the future”. The main event which is done on the Saturday brings together people from across the globe where chiefs are carried in the palanquins and they dance and demonstrate authority. The whole town was coloured in red to signify that an important son has died, it was a form respect that was been shown to the dead. Chiefs were not carried in their usual beautiful palanquins, but they walked through the principal streets of Cape Coast to show respect for the late President. The paramount chief of the town did not take part of the walk as he sat at his traditional house and received greetings from visitors and the chiefs. The grand durbar brought many crowd, both foreigners and locals. The current President of Ghana took part in the celebration. I asked a lot old folks if this year’s celebration has been quite different from the previous years and they said yes it was due to the death of the industrious son of the town. He included that the celebration has been dull this year.

A group of young people also shared the event on Twitter using the hashtag #OguaaAfahye – @awittor, @kobebigs other social media groups include- @capecoastguide,@barcampghana and @bccapecoast.

Check out some pictures from the event.

“Five Reasons Why Teenage Pregnant Girls Should Get a Second Chance in Life”

Google images.

Opportunity, they say, comes but once. People believe that there are few chances and that any of them which come your way, you have to grab them fast before they pass away. In our sub- Saharan Africa, many young girls engage in illicit sexual activities resulting in high rate of teenage pregnancy. Most of these victims do not achieve their purpose in life due to the misfortune (teenage pregnancy), and only 1% are able overcome this trauma in order to achieve their goals in life.

Many of these young mothers accept the fact that their prospects for greater opportunities have been shut down. They need to admit that the mistake has already been committed and that there is another chance for them to do something new with their lives. Another chance has been opened for them because of that misfortune. There is always another chance, but not everyone recognizes that chance. During an attachment (internship) I had with one of the biggest telecommunications in Ghana, I had the opportunity to travel to a town in the central region known as Elmina- a fishing area; I went there to market and sell their products. One of the saddest moments I encountered in that area is the story am about to share. As I was roaming the area to find customers, I came across three beautiful young ladies with age ranging from 16-18 years, and there was a baby too. I went to convince them to buy my products, but unfortunately for me none bought some.

I then asked them if they were in school. The first girl said she attends school, the second girl said she is not in school due to financial difficulty, and last girl then told me that she is not in school because she has a baby. I then asked the third girl if she would still like to go to school, she said yes when the baby crawls.

As we were talking and sharing ideas as to how to get to back to school, another girl joined us. I asked her if she is in school. She said no because she hates being in school- that was a lie. The first girl then nudged her to tell the truth. She then told me that she is not in school because she is pregnant (a girl of about 16 years). I think she was about three or four months pregnant. She is the sister to the young girl with the baby, so out of four girls I talked to, two were pre-mature mothers.

I asked them about their future job prospects. One said she wants to be a caterer with her own restaurant. The other three girls said they love to be nurses. From their speech I realized they have no plans to achieve their goals. I then shared a story of a senior lecturer in my university who was also a victim of their situation, but was able to achieve her dreams. They were encouraged and made a promise to me that they will do their best to overcome their limitation. These victims need to be encouraged and motivated to use their experience as a lesson to guard their path to success. Life is full of opportunities and until you realize it, you will never know.

  • The fact that they have failed morally does not mean they are failures. “Failure gives you the opportunity to start over more intelligently”.  When this kind of knowledge is imparted into their minds and into their hearts, young mothers will not live in abject poverty.
  • This kind of knowledge will put them back on track and help them fulfill their purpose in life. If these teenagers were taught well, encouraged and not insulted, then the government wouldn’t have to spend millions of dollars to curb this kind of situation.
  • Many potential leaders, doctors, bankers, footballers and corporate lawyers who are victims of teenage pregnancy are out there not knowing what to do with their lives. They do not even know the next step to take; since they are helpless, they try to do petty jobs like selling sachet water and other stuffs to keep them going. Due to the insufficient income derived from this petty job, they return to their former state of life in order to get more income to feed themselves and their families.
  • These young girls need a little nurturing to make it in life. I believe that there is another chance created as a result of every mistake committed.
  • Due to the early experience of hardship in life, they are more likely to succeed and strive to excel in their work.

Thanks to my coach Dr. Robert Osburn, Lecturer, University of Minnesota