Wednesday, 22 December 2010

BarCamp Ghana 2010

I attended BarCamp Ghana 2010 last Saturday,18th December, hosted by Ashesi University College. In true barcamp fashion, there were event enabled tremendous learning and networking opportunities, while showcasing a special urge by Ghana's youth to "create dreams, work smart and shape the future." This post explores five high points made more evident by the just ended BarCamp.

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 abtless than a minute ago via HootSuite

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

BarCamp Ghana Goes to Ashesi

BarCamp Ghana, the unconference that's been inspiring entrepreneurship and innovation among Ghana's youth, will be held at Accra's Ashesi University this Saturday, 18th December, 2010.

This year's event comes off after successful regional BarCamps at Kumasi, Accra and Takoradi. The day's deliberations will be under the theme "Create dreams, work smart and shape the future." BarCamp Ghana therefore puts together all the positive discussions on youth entrepreneurship and innovation we've been having since September.

Ashesi promises to be a fitting host for BarCamp Ghana as they're focused on raising entrepreneurial leaders of the highest quality for Africa and the world. Ashesi are ardent BarCamp champions- they've demonstrated this through active involvement of their students and faculty, and by sponsoring the event.

The structure of this year's BarCamp Ghana takes a break from previous years' format, with more emphasis on breakout sessions, to unleash the true BarCamp experience. Resource persons have been drawn from across industry segments to enrich the discussions. They include Bernard Avle of CITI 97.3 FM, Leila Djansi of Turning Point Pictures, Oluniyi Ajao Solomon Adu-Atefoe of Agric Development Bank, Golda Addo of Energy Solutions Froundation, Mohamed Amin Adam of Publish What You Pay, Philip Gamey of Web & Software, DK Osseo-Asare of Anamcity, Paul Tenejou of ROI-MOB-Lang and Ronke Ampiah of Smiles for Christmas.

To register to attend, please visit the registration page at eventbrite. Also contact the BarCamp team through the same page if you're interested in sponsoring or organising a breakout session.

BarCamp Ghana 2010 is proudly sponsored by Ashesi University College, Vodafone Ghana, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, GhanaThink Foundation, Google Ghana, Mobile Web Ghana, Fie.nipa, Worldwide Web Foudnation and NandiMobile. Our media sponsors are CITI FM, Radio Univers, ModernGhana, GhanaBlogging, Sunlight Radio America, The New Ghanaian and Skyy Digital. Customer support and feedback services can be accessed via 020-1500033. Be there!