Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Ghana Youth Social Entreneurship Program by GhanaThink (+ Digital Opportunity Trust)

In 2017, the GhanaThink Foundation organized the GYSEC in partnership with Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT).
Ghana Youth Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GYSEC) was promoted as #GYSEC2017.
20 budding social entrepreneurs were chosen out of 154 applications to learn, be trained, and compete.
They were and are referred to as trainees.

The training began in on January 30 and ended on March 19, 2017. They took an online course on Social Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking run by DOT.
Within this period, there were 2 workshop at Impact Hub Accra where the trainees received in-person training.
We in this blog post refers to GhanaThink of which I lead :-)

In 2018, GYSEC has become a GhanaThink's 4th program.
It would be referred to as the Ghana Youth Social Entreneurship Program (GYSEP). The other 3 are Barcamp Ghana, Junior Camp Ghana, Ghana Volunteer Program.

Maarifa Ndekezi, DOT Regional Program Development Manager, supported the DOT teams in Africa.
Maarifa run a coaching session about the pitching for the GYSEC trainees.
This was via Google Hangout on March 14, 2017 at 1pm GMT.
5 of the trainees were able to be on the call for most of the duration. Others had internet issues staying on the call.
Ato Ulzen-Appiah, Kofi Yeboah of the GhanaThink Foundation and Aima Noella of DOT were also on the call.
Key takeaways from the hangout were sent to 20 trainees by email.
We shared a number of useful links for the trainees in preparing their pitches.
During the final workshop on March 18-19, Ato Ulzen-Appiah helped the trainees with their pitches and their budgets. This was as part of the last 3 sessions for the SE & DT course. The full criteria for the pitching was created and shared with the judges. The trainees were given aspects of the criteria to guide their preparation, both in person and by email.

Their portrait links were updated on Facebook in preparation for the final workshop.

Final Ceremony
The finale (final ceremony) happened on Sunday, March 19 from 5-9pm at Impact Hub Accra.
There were over 60 people in attendance, many of whom were friends and family of the 20 trainees.
It was emceed by Ato Ulzen-Appiah with support from Kofi Yeboah, Richmond Anane and Marian Adeaba.
Another GhanaThink member, Annabella Boateng, was on hand to handle registrations and sign-ins.
The 20 trainees pitched their ideas to the judges.
They had 7 minutes total allocated time. 4 minutes for own pitch and 3 minutes for Q&A.
It took a long time to get all the pitches done. We had to start cutting down the Q&A part.

The pitches were great but a few stood out.
The trainees were asked to present their budget in the pitch, showcasing what they would use $750 as a budget.
They also presented the problem, solution, why they are suitable to solve the problem, and sustainability plans.
The trainees took feedback from the judges

The judges were
  • Nehemiah Attigah (GhanaThink + Hatua Solutions)
  • Josephine Marie-Godwyll (Social Entrepreneur - Young at Heart Foundation)
  • Alloysius Attah (Social Entrepreneur - Farmerline)
  • William Senyo (Social Entrepreneur Ghana + Impact Hub Accra).

The winners were chosen through a weighted average of judges’ scores and other scores.
The other scores were given based on their participation over the course of GYSEC.
Below is the ranking of winners - the amounts they received - names - and names of their social entreprises.

Cheques were printed and presented to the 6 winners.
They later participated in the DOT Unconference in May 2017 in Rwanda.
We affectionately called the 6 winners the Rwanda Raiders. All the 20 trainees received certificates of participation.

Another GhanaThink member, Edmund Laryea, recapped the #GhanaYouth Social Enterpreneurship Competition (#GYSEC2017) finale via a @SeeDeblay storify.
We also got mentioned in the Business Financial Times online news platform.

Friday, April 20, 2018

HMD GLOBAL engages digital influencers and bloggers in Ghana

HMD Global, makers of Nokia Smartphones on Android OS have engaged a cross section of the blogging community in Ghana through a blogger hangout session. The engagement, which is the first of several blogger engagements anticipated for the year 2018 by HMD Global had about 15 bloggers in attendance.
It was really good to bring these bloggers together since some of them hadn't met each other. Nokia - Connecting People!

All the bloggers who were present at the event - including Ato Ulzen-Appiah (#mightyafrican) were given brand new Nokia 8 to boost their tech related news platforms as well as enhance the news content on their platforms using the bothie feature which allows tech consumers to take two angled videos simultaneously because it activates both the front and rear cameras to capture photos and videos.
Various millenials and other digital natives have seen the Bothie ads on TV and YouTube. Nokia has married old iconic technology and future trends in this feature.

The Nokia 8 is Nokia’s most powerful Android smartphone built to maximize performance with a distinctive design engineered to deliver exceptionally long battery life and stays cool. The exclusive Dual-Sight mode allows consumers use both front and back cameras simultaneously for split-screen photos and video with built-in streaming straight to Facebook Live and YouTube Live. The company used the opportunity to share its strong commitment to producing premium but affordable smartphones for the Ghanaian populace.
These would make the millions of people who have used older Nokia phones nostalgic while making others bump to their heads to such great intentions.

Last year HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones relaunched Nokia phones on Android operating systems. From affordable entry-level handsets to powerhouse top-end smartphones, each phone is suited to a different sort of user, with dual-sim versions too. The company has kept what many people loved about the brand – high quality externals, nicely optimized hardware, and plenty of care and attention put into the audiovisual and camera experiences with the jewel in the crown being the Android software.

Nokia solds millions and millions of phones. Android is the most ubiquitous operating system for phones. #NokiaLovesAndroid is super duper news for phone users and lovers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

How I manage social media & tech tools, work, etc while increasing productivity

I've been a lazy blogger but I hope to change that in 2018. Posting on Twitter took over blogging for me and then Whatsapp took over from Twitter. People ask me how come I have a lot of time for social media. The simple answer is: Social media and social communication are very powerful tools that have really helped me, so I continue to use them while finding ways to make them bring more value to me and things I work on. But let's get into this particular blog post. :-)

A GhanaThink member, ⁨Mohammed M Jaward of the Barcamp Tamale (#Bctamale) team asked me a few questions sometime last year. These are questions I have been asked a lot. I want to share the answers here. I hope you might learn one or two things from this.

Q1. What courses did you take on social media?
Editor's note: Maybe this question comes from our certificate issues in Ghana? :-) You can take courses on social media, but I like learning by doing more.

A1. #MightyAfrican: I didn't take any courses. I just used the social media platforms, looked at how others who know better use them, learnt from things others do, and read a few articles about social media. Basically, if I want to do something and I don't know how, I google or I ask someone.

Q2. What blogs do you read? 
Editor's note: It's important to read, especially as a younger person.

A2. #MightyAfrican: I used to read a number of blogs - mostly African related- before but not really anymore. Because I hardly blog myself now. 😃 I subscribe to Medium and read what they send me. I also subscribe to Quartz, TechCrunch, AfricaPractice, TechNovaGH, Ventures Africa, & Pulse (Ghana + Insider). There's a lot of content out there. It's key to find relevant content and even better to have the content delivered to you.

Q3. What applications are you using to do all that? 
Editor's note: Apps were built for a reason. You should start using more apps.  

A3. #MightyAfrican: I use Twitter, Facebook, Pages Manager, Google+ a lot. I have started to use Instagram more. When I figure out how to make SnapChat work for me, I'd join. It's not a priority now. I consider Whatsapp to be social communication, not social media.

It's important to link social media apps. It's great that on my Android phone, I can share content from one platform to another, so easily.

I have never really used Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, etc though I know many people who use social media for work use them. I think I'm able to use the actual apps quite well so haven't worried much about third party ones.

Q4. How do you manage all the emails? 
Editor's note: Jaward is sure I get a lot of emails because I send a lot of emails too, more than the average Ghanaian, I guess :-)

A4. #MightyAfrican: I hardly get emails I dont want to read. I filter emails into different labels - I have labels for GhanaThink, Barcamp Ghana, Junior Camp Ghana, and still have one for Museke even though it is dormant now.

I filter all notifications, updates from websites into other folders.

If I have to address an issue by email, and it wont take much time, I do it then. I take email that seriously. If it's important, and I cant do it then, I start addressing it and save it as a draft.

I dont keep hundreds of unread emails. I never have more than 30 unread emails after going through my email which I do every weekday at least.

I love GMAIL, especially how the app is improved from time to time. I google GMAIL tips so I can use it better. I love the way how it works with other Google apps, especially Docs, Sheets, Calendar & Maps.

Q5. How do you manage all the whatsapp groups? 
Editor's note: I am in more than 100 Whatsapp groups and I am very active in at least 23 of them. 

A5. #MightyAfrican: Naturally, I have began to use Whatsapp more than Twitter. I don't use Whatsapp on my laptop because when I get on my laptop, I'm focusing on work and don't want Whatsapp notifications every minute. 😃

I don't stay in Whatsapp groups that are not useful to me or would have hundreds of messages that don't matter or are not 'serious'.

Whatsapp is important for networking, content sharing & gathering, discussions, etc. So I use Whatsapp a lot for work, learning, sharing, etc. 

If you set a tone for a Whatsapp group, have rules and implement it, it continues. If you have serious people, you have serious conversations, etc. Once these are in place, you don't need to do as much management, people manage themselves for the most part. There must be discipline
Each Whatsapp group I am in is useful to me. I still haven't figured out how to mute groups on my Android phone. Lol.

Q6. How do you manage your time to do all that?
Editor's note: Lots of people ask me how I manage my time because it seems I do so much 

A6. #MightyAfrican: I make technology work for me so I cut time and cost. I'd rather email, whatsapp or use social media than make a phone call. I'd rather email a letter or document than print, and go submit it. If people would require to do something that is bureaucratic, I take them less seriously.

Currently, I work in the youth & tech spaces. If I have to work on something, and I can't make it relevant to those spaces, I don't or don't apply myself to them. This ensures that when I am online or using tech tools, I can get almost every kind of work done. I don't work on many offline things, I have been cutting them out.

If you do something long enough, you become familiar with it, you work smarter and faster and you become more competent. It saves a lot of time. Try it. 😃

If you're going to be stuck on a task, don't be stuck on it. Professionalism & competence rewards for time as much as it rewards for quality. I seek help if I need it so that I get things done faster. If something hasn't been done yet in a team project, it should not be waiting on me, it should be the responsibility of someone else. 

And when people tell I'm so busy, I say I sleep more than 6 hours almost every night. And I still have time to indulge in sports, scrabble and sudoku.

These are based on my #mightyafrican experiences but I'm sure people can learn from it.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

GhanaThink Foundation's Ghana Volunteer Program is 4 years old!

We started the National Volunteer Day on September 21, 2013 and it has grown leaps and bounds, fueling the GhanaThink Foundation's Ghana Volunteer Program.

Read our press release on our 4th anniversary below!

International Volunteer Day (IVD) on December 5 is an international observance designated by the United Nations since 1985. It offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to make visible their contributions - at local, national and international levels - to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). December 5th, 2017 marks four years since the inception of the Ghana Volunteer Program. This was created by the GhanaThink Foundation after the successful first edition of the first National Volunteer Day (NVDay) 21st September, 2013. The NVDay Initiative was to get as many people as possible in Ghana to volunteer their time or do community service on and around the Founder’s Day Holiday (September 21).

Volunteerism is not very popular and part of our society’s fabric. National Volunteer Day aimed at its inception to increase these numbers and unify efforts in volunteerism in Ghana. The Ghana Volunteer Program has rolled out and partnered several volunteer activities with the aim of ensuring the spirit of volunteerism is cultivated amongst most Ghanaians especially the youth. Gerald Sowah, the GVP Resources lead shared more on the importance of the NVDay initiative in Ghana by adding that “volunteerism encourages active citizenship. Through initiatives, such as our National Volunteer Day, we have seen many millennials debunk the apathetic citizen tag by actively participating in, and contributing towards national development.

The NVDay team with the help of various GhanaThink members approached many organizations who have volunteer events and encourage them to organize something on September 21st every year. Some of partner organizations like Utopia’s Wishlist were very interested and planned activities. On September 21 2013, about 40 activities with about 300 volunteers happened. There was a lot of online and offline engagement and publicity for these activities. Reactions and feedback were captured via Storify.
The focus of the programme at present is to acquire volunteers for volunteer opportunities around Ghana. GVP also helps volunteer activity organizers find volunteers. This program seeks to encourage volunteerism in Ghana, and to market and make attractive volunteer activities. So far GVP has sourced for volunteers for many events held by various organisations including: Dain Agribusiness Workshop, Chale Wote Street Art Festival, Lifebuoy Global Handwashing day, Kofi Gyamfi Memorial Screening (AMEND Ghana), NshoreNa cleanups, Environment360 School Recycle programs, INTED Teacher trainings and many more.
This year’s National Volunteer Day (#NVDay17), which was the fourth of its kind, took place from the 16th - 30th September 2017. Volunteers and organizations alike spent the holiday weekend giving back to their communities with over 60 registered activities in all 10 regions of the country. Some organisations that held activities were PsychAid and Love, PiloloGH, Patriots Ghana, Divine Mother and Child Foundation, The CSR Hub, Life-MAC Network Foundation, Several Rotaract Clubs, Youth African Leaders Network, Dreamz Foundation, Women in Engineering UMAT, Young at Heart Ghana and some GhanaThink Barcamps across the country. There was also a lot of online and offline engagement with the #NVDay17 which was captured via Storify

On the occasion of 2017’s International Volunteer Day, the GVP team engages the media all over Ghana discussing the work done so far under the program and what the future plans are for our nation. Through these engagements, we will encourage more people to do community service within Ghana.

Volunteering demonstrates initiative and hard work, two ideals that many organizations look for while hiring. Adelina Martey, The GVP Team and Administrative lead shared that “Not only does volunteering give you invaluable experience that employers are always eager for but it also shows that you are concerned with the social issues that surround you. Volunteering is thus more than just an activity. It is making social impact both in a community and within yourself by improving your own skills and self development. When you volunteer, you learn. And the more you learn, the greater the impact you make and your attractiveness in the job market”. The GVP team and all of GhanaThink believes that by volunteering, volunteers would be building their CVs, experience and overall life goals and vision.

We envisage that Ghana will be developed through volunteerism, that is why we say at Ghana Volunteer Program that VOLUNTEERISM IS THE HEART OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT.

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