Focus on breakout sessions
The idea of an exclusive "breakout session barcamp" was experimented, cutting out keynote and panel discussions. Subject matter experts were integrated into the various breakout sessions to enrich discussions in those groups. I attended breakout sessions on citizen journalism, sustainable development and blogging. All of these sessions were intense and engaging, allowing for cross-fertilisation of diverse opinions and ideas. One session I missed was "telling the African story", whose key discussion point was whether there was really something like a positive African story or not. Fellow blogger Nana Fredua Agyeman has written an emotional post on the subject.
Farida Bedwei: succeeding in the face of the most-daunting adversity
When we encounter difficulties and problems, we often lose steam and are thrown off the course of our goals. We succumb to temporary setbacks, while wishing adversity was never part of the equation. The same cannot be said of Farida Bedwei, software engineer and writer. She is joyously making the most of life amidst physical, social and psychological exertions of cerebral palsy, a medical condition that leaves many throwing their hands up in despair. Farida facilitated breakout sessions on women in ICT and neurological disorders at #bcghana; her story challenges all of us to rise above whatever challenges lie in our path and live life to our optimal ability.
Blogging and social media on the rise
The blogging breakout session, coordinated by Oluniyi Ajao of GhanaBlogging, unsurprisingly seemed to be the toast of this year's barcamp as it recorded probably the highest attendance. Blogging success tips from Oluniyi, MacJordan, Nii Ayertey, Ebenezer Gwumah, Nina Chachu and others were shared. Design, consistency, relevance and focus are some of things needed to be successful in blogging. One thing I picked up though was "Yes, you can make money from blogging in Ghana", and that is truly heartwarming. The high turnout shows jut how important individuals in Ghana is attaching to social media. Local companies have no choice but to follow suit shortly. Perhaps an exclusive blogging and social media event/workshop should be put together soon to showcase what social media can do for all aspects of our lives.
Sustainable development is the way to go for Africa
D.K. Osseo-Asare's presentation of the Anam City project, Anambra State, Nigeria, was truly brilliant, and brought to the fore key questions surrounding the notion of a perfect city and how humans and their environment can live side by side. Deploying the Rurban model, which promotes a balance between ecology, technology and sociology in community building, Anam City is set to inspire similar schemes in Africa and the world at large if it works the way D.K. and his colleagues.
Virtual connections extends to real life and real life goes virtual
Repping at BarCamp Ghana were most of the active bloggers and tweeps on the local social scene. The list is exhaustive but linking up with the likes of @ebengwumah, @Delalorm, MissYayraTayDB, @kafuiday, @niyyie, @ttaaggooee, @MacJordan, @nii_ayertey, @donaldiaba, @nanawireko, @jefferyboye, @Abocco, @florencetoffa, @ajoaofoe, @dotkwame, @osarpong, @freduagyeman, @reggesegge, @DaisyAmmaBaffoe, @niiadjeisowah, @D41XY and @iJojoo is definitely worth the time!
The mood whipped up by this year's BarCamp is one of optimism, motivation and action. One can only understand the positive effects of these events through participation. This tweet from @reggesegge sums it all up:
There's somethg abt these #bcGhana events. If u haven't attended any, u'll not understand é +ve 'transformations/resolutions' I'm talkng abt