Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Africa Science Week Research and Innovation Showcase 2018 - Call for Applications

Ghana will be hosting her first Africa Science Week (ASW) in September 2018. ASW is an initiative of the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) aimed at engaging members of the general public with scientific information and activities. This will enable them to appreciate the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as part of everyday life.

2017-2019 NEF Ambassador Peter Asare Nuamah is leading this effort with support from AIMS Ghana, Ghana Science Association and other stakeholders in the Ghanaian STEM space. The theme for Ghana is 'Accelerating Growth and Development through STEM'. Series of activities are being planned for ASW Ghana 2018 including:
  • Conversations in mainstream and social media on the importance of STEM to national development
  • A National STEM Forum/Conference to project local science and make a case for greater investments into STEM
  • Field Visits by Basic School Pupils to the Ghana Planetarium and other interesting locations
During Africa Science Week, the relevance of science and technology for national development would be brought to the fore. We would hear from leading Ghanaian and African scientists and innovators including AIMS Ghana President Mrs Lucy Quist and Ghana's first Next Einstein Forum Fellow, Dr Aku Kwamie.

As part of the festivities, scientists, storytellers, and other innovators would be given the opportunity to showcase their work through a special Research and Innovation Showcase segment. Successful applicants would be given the platform to present to a live audience including policymakers, academics, business leaders, and potential funders. They would receive extensive publicity through both mainstream and social media, reaching audiences across Africa and beyond.

Applications are welcome from any STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) field, including the humanities. If you're interested in being one of the featured scientists and innovators during ASW Ghana 2018, kindly fill this form.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Introduction to Programming Using Python Workshop at University of Ghana

As part of Python Ghana's efforts to build the capacity of young people in Ghana to solve problems through Python and allied open source technologies, we organised a workshop for students at the University of Ghana in partnership with the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology and the student society COMPSSA. The workshop took place at the Software Lab at the Department of Computer Science, UG, and lasted from 7 October to 4 November 2017. All in all, four Saturday sessions were held.

The first session was held on 7 October 2017. COMPSSA vice president Nicholas welcomed everyone to the workshop, after which Evans introduced the Python Ghana team. Gameli then gave a brief overview of Python Ghana. He informed participants of the organisation’s desire to help students strengthen their problem-solving skills using Python, one of the most sought after programming languages, as a tool. Emmanuel then took over and led the workshop for the day. He covered fundamental concepts such as programming, variables, and conditionals.

Emmanuel takes participants through fundamentals of programming

The workshop continued on 14 October with training being led by Edward with support from Emmanuel. Also four volunteers who are Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs) from MEST were present to support the learners. Day one’s concepts were reviewed and more advanced topics such as abstraction, loops, and functions were introduced. Edward also took time to advise the students on the importance of learning with purpose and inculcating good practices as this stage of their lives. Students were also given homework so they try their hands on code for themselves.

Edward taking learners through how to properly write Python functions

Some of our team members with volunteers from MEST Africa

The third session took place on 21 October. Emmanuel led the training for the day, covering advanced topics including object-orientation, modules, and the Python Standard Library. The students also had the opportunity to interact with contentgardening.com and Python African Tour founder Kamon. It was through the Python African Tour initiative that our community was born back in 2011. Kamon shared his experiences using Python for software development and leading Python communities and projects.

The final day of the workshop was moved to 4 November due to some challenges. It was led by Francis. The main topic was Python for web development using the Flask framework. He led an exercise on using forms to collect data for backend processing and output as information. Although attendance was low, compared to the earlier days, the session was interactive and the learners were engaged.

A post shared by Python Ghana (@pythonghana) on

Question time

All in all, we had a successful workshop, which would not have happened without the active participation of students and support of COMPSSA and the Computer Science Department. Also, our partners contentgardening.com and Global Lab Network deserve credit for contributing in cash and kind. Finally, thank you to our hardworking team members especially Evans, Emmanuel, Enoch, Edward, Francis, and Gameli for their various inputs. Check out more pics on our Facebook page!

Selfie time after one of our sessions

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Study UK Alumni Awards 2018 Launched by the British Council

Last February, I had a unique honour of receiving the Social Impact award at the maiden Study UK Alumni Awards organised by the British Council in Ghana. As you'd imagine it was an exciting moment for me, my family, my friends, my university (University of Exeter) and the STEM community. The work we've been doing through Global Lab, Woekpor, SHAPE, JCIP, and others was appreciated at a very high level.

Receiving the Social Impact Award at #AlumniAwards2017 from Airtel Ghana CEO Lucy Quist
British Council has since expanded the scheme to include regional and global awards. In support of the 2018 edition, I took a few minutes out of my day last Wednesday 19 July to join the organisers for the soft launch of #AlumniAwards2018. In an interview marking the launch,  fellow Social Impact finalist (& Global Shaper) Mutaru Muqthar, who runs a brilliant counter-terrorism initiative, and I reflected on the impacts of UK education in general and the Alumni Awards on our lives. Enjoy the full discussion in the Facebook Live video broadcast by by the British Council Ghana page below:

I encourage all eligible UK Alumni to enter into this year's bigger and better awards. You may never know. . If you know any UK alumni doing great work, you can also nominate them. More information on the Alumni Awards can be found here. Good luck!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

NASA Scientist Dr Trebi-Ollenu Addresses Ghana Academy of Sciences on the Importance of Space Technology

Ghana's Dr Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu from NASA-JPL will be presenting a lecture at the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences on the topic “Space Technology Unleashing A Wave of Disruptive New Technologies – To Post-Scarcity Economy”. Going by this title, the lecture promises to unveil deep insights that would be relevant to young people, businesses and policy makers.
The lecture will focus on current and future trends in information technology, explain the exponential growth in technology and present ways that the youth of Ghana can participate in this life-changing disruptive technologies — self-driving cars, genetic editing and artificial intelligence.

Dr Trebi-Ollenu would also address the difficult challenges facing governments today. Special emphasis would be placed on how to enable and channel the 'transformative forces of technological innovation' to maximize the benefits to current and future generations. Suggestions would be made as to how governments can reform institutional structures to be a lot more open to self-disruption as relative power shifts from centralized forces to the unprecedented empowerment of individuals due to the exponential growth of information enabled technologies.

It is refreshing that Dr Trebi-Ollenu is championing this critical discourse at this particular point in time. Advances in modern technology is gradually lowering barriers to entry in various spheres of science and technology research and innovation. This empowers individuals, small organisations, and communities to be able to access tools to be able to solve everyday problems and create businesses, resulting in significant socio-economic gains across board. 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Join the Next Einstein Fellows Programme and Help Promote Science in Africa

One of the communities I enjoy being part of is the Next Einstein forum (NEF), which is a movement to grow science and technology for development in Africa. I'd written previously about being a NEF Ambassador, my experiences at the inaugural Global Gathering, and a collaborative fundraising drive we were executing.

NEF is currently accepting applications for its next cohort of fellows! NEF Fellows are high achieving young scientists and technologists who're passionate about using their knowledge and skills to solve African and global problems. If you're African, have a PhD in any discipline, have a great research/innovation track record, and have the desire to promote #ScienceInAfrica this is perfect for you!

At the next Global Gathering scheduled for Kigali, Rwanda in 2018, you'd have the opportunity to present your work and ideas in a TED-style format to a global audience. You'd also have awesome opportunities to grow your career through engagement with Noble scientists, Fields Medal winners, government leaders, and captains of business.

Basic requirements for this opportunity are listed in the flyer below. More information can be found at http://nef.org/fellows.

We don't have a Fellow from Ghana. As Ghana's NEF Ambassador, I'm particularly keen to see young Ghanaian scientists featured in the next class of fellows. I believe we can match the quality required. But that can only happen with the first step - applying for the fellowship! Please share with friends who may be qualified and interested.