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Monday, 10 May 2010

Is Fufu a Suitable Topic for the Internet?















Imagine you're on a trip to Koforidua, Ghana, and you want to visit the best local fufu bar. How would you find out the best bar without asking someone? How would you get there?

Just as the above scenario is difficult to resolve, so is the business of finding relevant Ghanaian content on the Internet. I've had the experience of sifting through scores and scores of websites on occasion without finding the desired information that I sought. Dorothy Gordon, Director -General of Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, addressed this issue during the recently held Citi FM-Google Ghana conference on Internet bandwidth.

Dorothy's submission sparked three lingering questions on my mind:

1. What importance do Ghanaians place on playing the lead role in developing, uploading and accurately representing local information online?

2. How can Ghanaian culture and languages be effectively expressed within the context of 21st century web culture?

3. In what ways are Ghanaian businesses exploiting the web as a powerful communication channel to reach their customers?

These questions apply to the rest of Africa as they do to Ghana. If you have some answers or an opinion on any of the issues, please don't hesitate to let us know. Over to you!

7 comments:

  1. Want people to get online here in Ghana? Do these in no particular order
    1. There should be consistent power supply
    2. There should be affordable bandwidth
    3. Educate people on the marginal benefit of getting online
    4. Massively overhaul the educational system- especially at the tertiary level- for World 2.0
    5. Encourage the use of Free and Open Source Software
    Those are my two cents!

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  2. I once attended a seminar by google ghana where we were taught how to use google products such as google maps, google earth etc to map out certain locations in our locality and adding them onto a larger map on the net. I think this is a way of solving this problem.

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  3. @Ghabuntu, thanks for your great points. I agree they'll help get more Ghanaians online. The point about overhauling education is very important as even students at the tertiary level in Ghana are largely ineffective with technology usage.

    I also think it'd be great to introduce IT, especially web tools at at say Junior High school level to get them really interested, thus "catching them young." Great points man.

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  4. @NFA indeed, such initiatives will gradually help folks to be active contributors and not just consumers of web content. Locally, people can get more knowledge by being involved in groups/events such as GhanaBlogging G-TUG and BarCamp .

    An easy option is to tweet. In just 140 characters, you get to tell the world what you're about. The GH hastag #fufugang and #onlyinghana are doing really well in the tweetosphere.

    It's also interesting how FOSS is a recurring theme of these discussions.

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  5. The whole "ict will change ghana" for the better is an extremely idealistic notion. Now don't get me wrong, I'm an avid tech user/guru depending on what you think.
    I just think its too much of a warm glow effect.
    There are other more mundane issues we have to take care of such as:

    1. Poverty.
    2. Illiteracy.
    3. Lack of a creativity-friendly mainstream thinking culture.
    4 An education system which promotes mediocrity.
    5. Lack of constant power supply.
    6. Food. (microchips are not potato chips, or instant food) .
    7.Insanely complicated regulations and taxes, combined with high costs of doing pretty much anything.
    8. Our own unique blend of elitism and corruption which means, an International School" will be provided with 50+ computers, whilst a less "privileged school" is not even getting the benefits of the "school feeding program."

    I could go on, but my point is simply this, we should not fall prey to the idea that ICT is a cure all for Ghana's developmental problems. As a tool for development... sure, why not. After all it makes perfect sense for us to join the world at its current level of progression. ie. Information Age. But every other one of our problems will have to be solved with their own unique solutions, and whichever aspect of technology is appropriate.

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  6. @pkwoode, great ponts! ICT is only a tool for development and it must be pursued viz-a-viz other core areas to bring about the much needed change we're looking for in GH.

    However it must be noted that ICT is a very effective change agent, that makes it a really special tool to use. I say this for two reasons: 1. Relative low cost of implementation-you only need to get a computer and an internet connection to get going. 2. Social media helps to amplify efforts in other areas so that we're able to reach a wider audience.

    We digress. So the question we're really trying to answer is whether there is any relevance in getting Ghanaian content on the web. I think there is.

    Thanks for your insightful input, sir.

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