Best Nine of 2017 (and worst!)

It is time to summarize the year. These days it is easily done on Instagram and the Best Nine feature. As you can see it is a steady stream of colorful moments, from the top: 1. My sister-in-law Jenny and my niece Sapfo (Ghana style carried thanks to me!) discussing art in the Gallery at the plush Movenpick hotel, 2. My children being educated on how to pluck a chicken, 3. New dress from Kiki Clothing, 4. Chilling with Stonebwoy, 5. A blast from the past – my first visit to Ghana in 2004, 6. Ellen taking a stroll in our backyard, 7. Old dress at work, 8. SOS Tema School children very much related to me, 9. My kids at the Nubuke Foundation wall painted by children under the competent leadership of artist Bernard Akoi-Jackson.

So two moments at work, four with my kids, two with other kids, two in wax print fashion – three if you count baby carrying, one ninth hanging out with a celebrity, two in art spaces, one part remembering the past…

On the blog I have celebrated 10 years of living in Ghana, I have represented Sweden, stayed off social media for three weeks, shared the contents of my bag, been featured on one of my fav podcasts, and joined the debate on rape culture.

Of course, we all know these fav Instagram moments or blog posts are in no way representative of the year we have had, they are simply highlights or slivers of truth.

The nine worst moments were not shared on social media at all, but they were also part of my life. I have been misunderstood and mistaken. I have gone through loss, loneliness, stress, sickness, disappointment, while abroad I was locked into a glass cube at 5 am and saw my train to the airport depart without me (this should be its own blog post as I finally managed to break out McGuyver-style after realizing nobody would come to save me).

The worst moments on Instagram?

Well, apparently you do not like when I share photos of random documents or PTA meetings! But, of course as a blogger and lecturer, I do look at text much more than I do many other things…(Statistics from GabStats)

I am looking forward to 2018 and hope to meet you on Instagram, here on the blog, or somewhere else in this wondrous world. Thanks for reading!

 

Obtaining a Visa in the Era of “Beyond Aid”

In the world of fake news, this long but very true read on document fraud in Ghana caught my mind over the long weekend.

The thriller-like article by Yepoka Yeebo was published in the Guardian and argues that document fraud for visa applications represent a vicious circle because if more suspicious applications are submitted, additional checks are put in place by adding required documents. And the more tedious the application, the more room for so-called “connection men” to carry out their business. The more people who provide fraudulent papers or overstay their visas, the harder visa applications are scrutinized…

In my research on student migrants, I have come across conversations pointing to how difficult it is to obtain visas, or get one’s application “bounced” as the students say, even for university students, a group which should be desirable labor migrants by the Global North.

However, I have also been puzzled by the open advertising of visa “help”, which also suggests visa applications really are an industry, as discussed below:

“In 2010, as the number of fake travel documents continued to rise, Ghana’s government founded the Document Fraud Expertise Centre, which verifies documents for embassies, banks and the police. It’s the only one in West Africa, which reflects the sheer scale of Ghana’s shadow visa industry. In 2016, about half the documents submitted to them for testing turned out to have been forged.”

Importantly, this long read contextualized the issue well, added the quite central fact that an application fee for instance for a United States visa is USD 160 (or about GHS 700 or 75% of a median Ghanaian salary). The fee is, of course, non-refundable, and you can get denied at any point without recourse. Still, as an individual, if you see little hope for the future where you are, you might still decide to apply…

…and on a macro level this issue kind of came up when French president Macron passed through Ghana last week. In a meet-the-press setting, Ghana’s president Akufo-Addo re-stated his “beyond aid” agenda and exclaimed,

“We want young Africans to stay in Africa [audience applause], we have to get away from this mindset of dependence!” See the full inspired response by president Akufo-Addo below which has been much discussed on social media.

Just words? Well, taxes are being collected in Ghana as never before. Free SHS has been rolled out. Development partners are already leaving Ghana as it is classified as a middle-income nation and hence not a priority. But the jobs? Yeebo reminds us in the article that only 10% of Ghanaians have a salaried job and outside the American embassy, a queue has formed since the early morning. Out of the Ghanaians waiting there, a majority will not get their visas this time either.

This article has been on my mind ever since I read it a few days ago. If you want to understand the entangled and yes, dependent relationship, between the Global North and the Global South (both directions!), I suggest you read it too.

How can we better educate our children?

Have you ever thought about the difference between being imaginative and being creative? Last week, I went to a book launch where educator Dr. Naomi Adjepong of Alpha Beta Education Centers asked this question. She suggested that imagination exists just in our head, while creativeness is acted out. Her context was Ghanaian education. Are we educating creatives in Ghana?

At the same event, spelling bee champion Eugenia Tachie-Menson spoke on how education can be fun and how reading books for pleasure is a wonderful way of improving both your thinking and vocabulary. (The event was fellow blogger Golda Addo’s book launch for her novel “The Shimmer in the Photo Album”, Golda is in the orange boubou below, next to Tachie-Menson).

I am lucky to send my children to a private school where both teachers and administrators are happy to take up suggestions from parents, however, they tell me that more often than not the parents that approach them demand “more exams, more exercises, and more sitting in the classroom”.

Personally, I would rather see children under the age of 5 or even 10 spend more time outdoors playing than sitting still and quiet in the classroom. The start-up Tinkergarten, sponsored by among others Omidyar Group, is developing outdoor activities to encourage children “tinkering” or playing outdoors. Activities include looking at bugs, making soap bubbles, or building a bird nest for humans! They write on their website:

“Tinkergarten’s curriculum both engages and delights a wide range of kids ages 18 months-8 years old. As a season unfolds, unique themes and challenges build lesson to lesson. These themes and challenges evolve one season to the next as children progress through the program. In each lesson, an engaging scenario unfolds that allows kids to launch and direct their own play. No two kids ever have the same experience, because it’s the process that matters. Adults play a role, too, as they observe, honor and support their child’s independent exploration and playful learning.”

To prepare our children for the future, I believe they have to be able to read and write, count and perhaps also march in rows, but importantly, in addition, they also need practice communication, empathy, solving problems in groups, building things, asking questions,seeing new places, adapting to different environments, failing and dusting themselves off to try again.

Are we educating creatives in Ghana? And if we are not, what will be the consequences?

Photo : Paul Ninson

 

Meeting My Idol: Prof. Jorgen Carling

This weekend I had the unmitigated pleasure of meeting one of my foremost academic idols: Professor Jorgen Carling. I have followed his work on migration aspirations and his work informed much of the theoretical frame for my dissertation.

His research is thoughtful, pedagogic, built on extensive research in Cape Verde, and communicated in simple and straightforward prose in the top migration journals. But also, and this, of course, impresses me, on social media (@jorgencarling) as well as on his amazing blog, see this very useful post about academic publishing for instance.

 

While we have been connected over the internet, we have never met. He lives in Norway (and in Netherlands for a bit) and I am in Ghana, of course. Over the years, I have tried to get into workshops he has led, conference panels he has organized, but without luck. I have continued to keep him posted on my progress via email and sent him my dissertation once it was completed and passed the examination.

 

Then a few weeks ago I get an email with the subject: “Jorgen to Ghana”. I shriek with joy and can’t believe my luck when my academic idol of the last five years is coming to visit Tema. Finally on Saturday evening he lands. On Sunday, I pick him up from his hotel just minutes away from my house, show him around the center of the world (Tema), and invite him to eat a hearty Sunday lunch of boiled plantain and kontomire stew in my garden with my family.

 

Here is a photo from the happy occasion.

 

How was it meeting my idol in real life? He was cool.

 

Just as I had imagined he was calm and kind in a very Norwegian way. His comments on my work – I was very excited to realize he had actually read it – and careful advise on publishing helped me over some mind-hurdles. I was, however, a little nervous, kind of extatic and…wordy. So now,  I have resolved to work on going from a far-away-fan to a useful and levelheaded colleague. 

When did you meet an idol and what happened?

Rethinking Infidelity and Vulnerability

The psychologist looks out from the brightly lit stage and asks the audience, “How many of you have been affected by infidelity? As a family member? As the one who is cheating? As the betrayed partner?” The truth is almost all of us have been affected and infidelity is, as many other transgressions, painful and disruptive.

However, the psychotherapist Esther Perel has tried to reconsider what infidelity means in her new book “State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity” (link to Perel’s webpage with the possibility of reading an excerpt). I haven’t read the book just yet as it only came out last month, but wanted to share the news of it with you, as I think it will be an interesting read for all interested in long-term relationships for a couple of reasons:

  1. If its half as good as her Podcast with the brilliant name “Where should we begin”, or the TED-video (see embedded below) on the same topic (the question she ends the talk with was mind-blowing!) and a worksheet that I think can be helpful to any couple struggling with the aftermath of infidelity. If just half as good, the book will be useful.
  2. I loved her earlier book. The ideas clearly are a continuation of Perel’s earlier book on relationships called “Mating in Captivity” and loved it! I think I loved this book because of its duality: merging practical, practitioner’s advice by generously sharing cases on the one hand, and theoretically thinking through what a monogamous relationship really is on the other. In this first book, Perel elegantly argues that a long-term love relationship really is about. Perel says it is about “reconciling the erotic and the domestic” and walks us through how impossible and paradoxical that is. I remember her asking a question in the book: Would you be more upset if your partner had cheated or if s/he never had? Here she is suggesting that a partner staying mysterious and secret to some degree ignites our interest in them, as one does not fall in love with a partner that is inseparable from oneself. Hence an affair or at least the possibility of it, on some level might be positive. On the other hand, and this is the paradox, a long-term relationship is by definition an institution we are supposed to trust. How can we rely on someone who lies about the most intimate aspect we share?
  3. Finally, the intercultural approach Perel takes to relationships makes sense to me. Not only is the world a global village these days with many couples looking something like the one I am in (Ghanaian -Swedish), on some level all couples are two cultures integrating, right? (not just two nationalities but also Engineer- Social scientist, Gen X – Millenial, working-class – middle-academic-class and so on). This New York Times article explains her intercultural approach (and as a bonus critiques her work effectively).

An excerpt from Perel’s new book asks some questions and suggest we should discuss them in a relationship before we are in “a storm” of infidelity. Among others, the questions are:

“Has monogamy outlived its usefulness? What is fidelity? Can we love more than one person at once?

For me, these conversations are part and parcel of any adult, intimate relationship. For most couples, unfortunately, the crisis of an affair is the first time they talk about any of this. Catastrophe has a way of propelling us into the essence of things. I encourage you not to wait for a storm, but to address these ideas in a quieter climate. Talking about what draws us outside our fences, and about the fear of loss that accompanies it, in an atmosphere of trust can actually promote intimacy and commitment. Our desires, even our most illicit ones, are a feature of our humanity.”

This suggestion of talking about difficult, but real things, reminds me of another favorite self-help writer of mine, sociology professor Brene Brown. Her new book on vulnerability says exactly this – by being vulnerable, imperfect, even failing (perhaps like dealing with infidelity as a couple?), we can connect with others. The book is “Braving the Wilderness” where the first word in the title is also a clever acronym on how to be brave in the wild…

Now, in the world we are not just rethinking infidelity and vulnerability, we are also rethinking what a book is. If you do not have time to read all the details, but still think the above sounds relevant, you have videos and other free online content there for you. I suggest you start with these two videos!

Photo above by CMEarnestOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link 

 

Introducing the team behind #Justice4Her – and next steps for the campaign!

These are historical times. The week after the hashtag #metoo took over the world, Ghana saw the perhaps most successful social media campaign ever, #Justice4her, in response to a very brutal sexual assault case. I was impressed to see thousands of Ghanaians engaging and speaking out against sexual violence and society’s leniency. BBC reported on it as well. I reached out to Elizabeth Olympio and the Coalition Against Sexual Abuse (CASA) team behind the campaign to learn more. 

 

  1. Why was the #Justice4her campaign started?

The campaign was started in direct response to the news that a 4-year-old girl had been sexually assaulted in Assin Adadientem. I decided to channel my outrage by contacting a few like-minded friends to brainstorm about what we could do about the case. Our immediate concern was about getting the young child help. But we know that she is a representation of a bigger problem.

#Justice4Her is really a rallying call to get “justice” for “them”. Our use of “justice” is not restricted to the legal concept of justice and all that it entails, but also includes “practical help”, “changed attitudes”, and protection for a vulnerable population.

 

2. Who is behind it?

CASA is the Coalition Against Sexual Abuse.

We describe ourselves as an online social action group of concerned citizens. There is a core group of about 20 people in CASA and we collaborate with other groups and individuals who are interested in the same issue – getting help for child victims of sexual abuse.

Elsie Dickson

Richard Anim

Eugenia Tachie-Menson

Elizabeth Olympio

Sara Asafu-Adjaye

Marcia Ashong

Nana Awere Damoah

Nana Akwasi Awuah

Mawuli Dake

Farida Bedwei

Nana Yaa Ofori-Atta

Ama Opoku-Agyemang

Amazing Grace Danso

Yemisi Parker-Osei

Kathleen Addy

Golda Addo

Naa Oyoo Kumodzi

3. The 72 hours or so of the campaign has been a huge success, the hashtag has engaged many Ghanaians and trended, media and bloggers have discussed it, police and politicians have reacted, a suspect of the rape has been arrested –  is the campaign over or what are the next steps?

The campaign is certainly not over. This is just the beginning. Our goal is to get people talking so we can drive change. The one thing that we have realized is that this issue is a hydra: a multi-headed beast. There are many facets to it and it would be unrealistic of us to think that a hashtag will solve the problem. The problem is an interface between cultural practices, social, medical and legal considerations as well as political will. The media also plays into changing the narrative. This is both an individual and a collective responsibility. We would like to see the solutions reflect all these considerations.

We acknowledge that one group cannot solve the problem. Many coalitions such as FIDA, WiLDAF Ghana, Gender Centre, WISE, The Ark Foundation, LAWA, AWLA etc.. have done significant work in the past, and we salute them. However, the fact that every day, another child is a victim of sexual abuse tells you that there is still work to be done.

Our next steps are to leverage the outrage into concrete and practical steps. First of all, we are planning a march to present our petition to the relevant players in the conversation. We will be providing additional information on this and other plans in due course.

Secondly, we are having crucial conversations behind the scenes, with the different players. Many of these conversations are away from the public eye. In fact, this is where change will be sparked. We believe that change starts with conversations – around kitchen tables, in living rooms, in trotros, market places, schools and offices. Success is not the number of laws on the books, or the number of signatures on a petition. Those are good. What would be a better indication of success would be conversations that spark a change in attitudes. A change that translates into reduced numbers of child abuse cases. Even one child victim is one too many!

Success is a change in the way child abuse victims are treated – from the moment that child tells an adult all the way to treatment – both physical and psychological, investigation and prosecution, sentencing, rehabilitation of both victim and offender; and also how the media reports the case. A change in all of these would be a mark of success.

 

It is a very daunting task, but we must end the culture of silence. It begins with conversations and ends with action and results. The question is are we ready, as individuals and as a nation, to take up this battle?

 

4. We often complain Ghanaians are not activists, what about this campaign do you think made Ghanaians act?

I don’t know if we have ever not had activists, in one way or the other. There have been many, many individuals and organizations that have been fighting this battle over the years. We are not the first or the only group in the trenches. I think what is different is that there are many more avenues available to us now.

Social media is an incredible force. I think that is what made the difference in our campaign and in many other campaigns on different issues. It’s easier to get the message out, it’s easier to express one’s outrage, plan protest marches and events, get the attention of government agencies and politicians. It amplifies both the problem and the solutions, and equally importantly, it helps more people get into the trenches.

 

5. What else would you like us to know?

This is a battle for life! Each of us has a responsibility. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Speak up! Talk about the problem and the solutions! Educate! Spread the word!
  2. Support victims!
  3. Hold your community leaders accountable!
  4. Be the change you want to see!
  5. Please look out for ways in which you can help!

 

Read also Circumspecte on 12 things you can do, this Pulse article with a word of caution about prison punishment only for offenders, blogger Oyoo Quartey’s blog post, and consider joining CASA’s Facebook group

#PaGya Literary Festival in Accra: 3 Observations

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#PaGya Literary Festival in Accra

This weekend the new literary festival PaGya (I believe the meaning is “To light a fire” in Akan) organized by Writers Project Ghana happened. Here are my impressions.

1. So many literature lovers and writers!

#PaGya guest Writers using by the pool. No one's swimming. @NiqMhlongo @mokaewriter @kajsaha https://t.co/BjS2KoAYTd

#PaGya guest Writers using by the pool. No one’s swimming. @NiqMhlongo@mokaewriter @kajsaha pic.twitter.com/BjS2KoAYTd
  
The first night I stumbled into the company of several of the international guests and stayed way longer than planned…
Comment from the floor, “the publisher doesn’t sell or promote my book, I will self publish next time!” Here’s @eimasuen‘s response. #PaGyapic.twitter.com/BDR6g0w9Yv

Happening now on Day 2 of #Pagya. An interaction with contemporary writers. Sitting by me is @NJBraso. Another contemporary.?. https://t.co/S0fVxnQHK9

Happening now on Day 2 of #Pagya. An interaction with contemporary writers. Sitting by me is @NJBraso. Another contemporary.?. pic.twitter.com/S0fVxnQHK9

#pagya panel on 'sex, love and nontraditional relationships in Ghana https://t.co/5Pb2fBKWqt

#pagya panel on ‘sex, love and nontraditional relationships in Ghana pic.twitter.com/5Pb2fBKWqt

Celestine reads her Haiku. Day 3 of #Pagya https://t.co/xDIZN4aiRn

Celestine reads her Haiku. Day 3 of #Pagya pic.twitter.com/xDIZN4aiRn

Final poetry session here at #pagya... Ending in about 10 minutes... https://t.co/wdYK3lh7NC

Final poetry session here at #pagya… Ending in about 10 minutes… pic.twitter.com/wdYK3lh7NC
 2. So many good books to buy
Our Logistics Manager seems to be enjoying Ghana a little too much here…?? Work resumes today #Throwback to #pagya Literary festival! ?pic.twitter.com/Ywn04GhAtnhttps://t.co/Ywn04Gpic.twitter.com/Ywn04GhAtn
Head over to my instagram to see what books I walked home with: instagram.com/kajsaha
3. The lit-scene is coming alive in Ghana..
…or as Andy said it, it is lit!
A really lit literary festival happening in Accra, Ghana, dubbed #Pagya.

6 MONTHS AGO

 I was totally impressed with the scale of this wholly new initiative: three full days, workshops, panels, readings, book fair, international guests and great conversation everywhere. Thank you dear organizers: Martin, Elizabeth, the entire Writers Project Ghana, you really did well! It was fire!
More info here:

My Summary Schedule for the AS-AA conference in Accra 12-14 Oct, 2017

On Thursday, the Second Biennial African Studies Association of Africa (AS-AA) conference is taking off here in my academic home, the Institute of African Studies at University of Ghana Legon.

It is a three-day conference with the subtheme that almost reads as my tagline: African Studies and Global Politics.

Together with my colleague Kafui Tsekpo I am presenting a draft paper on social media in Ghanaian elections. Is it a new form of democratic participation? What are the opportunities and limitations? It is presented at the very last session of the conference, Saturday at 5 pm in the School of Law Examination Room. The collaboration comes out of a discussion at the Ghana Studies Conference last summer. I’ll also be the chair for one session. It’s a big deal for me as it is the first time I am chairing an academic session!

The program for the AS-AA conference is long and winding (find in full here PDF) so I made my own cheat sheet, in brackets are notes on the panel sessions (PS) I might attend.

Hope to see you there!

Thu 12

8.30-9.00 arrival great hall

9.00am program starts

11.45-1.15 pm PS 1 (1.2 decolonial edu)

1.15-2.15 Lunch, IAS

2.15-3.45pm PS 2 (2.4 Regina Fuller gender, examination room, school of law)

4.00-5.30pm PS 3 (3.1 Nketiah Conference hall)

7-8.30pm Akwaaba night with Chief Moomen, IAS quadrangle

 

Fri 13

8-9 reg

9.00-10.30 Keynote, Prof Gordon, Prof Allman, Dr Wa Goro (ADB), Nketiah Hall

10.30-10.50 break

11.00-12.30 PS 4 (4.4 Prof Adomako Ampofo tomorrows leaders  4.5 roundtable)

12.30-1.30 Lunch IAS

1.30-3.00pm PS 5 (5.1 African Agency George Bob Milliar in Nketiah or 5.6 panafricanism Leciad)

3.15-4.45 PS 6 (6.3 Democratic condo in Seminar room ias, 6.6 edu with Millicent as chair in leciad)

5.00-6.30pm PS 7 (7.1 citizenship in Nketiah, 7.2 Millicent in Senior common room ias)

7-8.30 AASA Business meeting

8.30-10 film

 

Sat 14

9-10.30 Keynote  Professors Yao Graham, Takyiwaa Manuh, Seth Asumah (Nketiah hall)

10.30-10.50 break

11-12.30 PS 8

12.30-1.30 lunch

1.30-3.00pm PS 9 (9.2 decolonizing edu)

3.15-4.45 PS 10 (10.5 publish that article)

>>5.00-6.30 PS 11 (11.4 Role of Social media in School of law examination room)

7.30-10.00 Closing banquet Great Hall

My Week: Teach, Do Research and Work-Family Balance?

This week, I have a demanding and varied set of tasks ahead.

Monday, I will be welcoming guests to Ashesi University from Kenyon College, Ohio, US (Their 2020 plan is interesting and impressive). I am the Global Liberal Arts Alliance liaison for my institution and the visit is happening as part of that alliance. I will also be working on a research project on social media in the Ghanaian elections with a  colleague to-be-presented at the upcoming African Studies AS-AA conference end of this month. I have a phone call related to the upcoming Uppsala University Global Alumni Day, I am part of organizing in Accra next month (UU alumn? Register here). Monday evening we have the Town Hall meeting at Ashesi for the fall semester.

Tuesday and Thursday I am teaching Written and Oral Communication at Ashesi to 80 Freshmen. This week, we will be talking about referencing in academic writing and how to use technology like Grammarly to write better. I will also grade their reflection paper. You can follow the course on social media under the hashtag #AshWOC. See posts for instance on Twitter. Instagram.

Wednesday, I’ll be working on a research project on higher education in Ghana and increasing university fees. I have a research assistant who is a former student and we have a meeting with an administrator at Ashesi who I think can help us. In the evening farewell dinner with the Kenyon delegation.

Friday morning, I will be talking to high school students at SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College here in Tema about diversity, using my own life as a starting point. I will also have a phone conversation with my mentor. In the afternoon, I will pick my daughters up from school. I am aiming at having a balance between my professional and family life, but rarely have time to pick them up from school, so value this opportunity to spend time with them and connect with their teachers.

Saturday and Sunday I will lay flat! Or something very similar like floating in a pool, resting in a hammock, or watching cookies rise in the oven.

What is your week like?

Sunday Reads Sep 17, #KajsaHASundayReads

sundayreadsThis week I read:

      1. Female entrepreneurship rates in Sub-Saharan Africa are the highest in the world, according to a new report that says women’s entrepreneurial activity is increasing globally. 
      2. Africa doesn’t need white tech entrepreneurs – it needs a level playing field by Eliza Anyangwe.
      3. Over Certified & Under Educated a harsh but well-argued piece about Ghana’s higher education sector by Esther Armah.
      4. Young people and their plants by Lavanya Ramanathan
      5. A bit of context to the protests in Togo by Benjamin N. Lawrance.

Video I watched: No video! It was the first week of the fall semester for my daughters and myself! I just survived!

 

Tell me below what you are reading!

 This post is part of my #KajsaHASundayReads series. Inspired by personal role models, Ory Okolloh Mwangi and Chris Blattman,  I want to share articles I read with my followers on a somehow regular basis. 

My Week Following The @Sweden Curatorship Experience, #SMWiAccra

So last week, I had the honor of being the curator of the twitter account @Sweden. With a click, I increased my following by 10 and was the seven-day temporary face of my native Sweden. In a tropical setting. I thought I’d sum up my experience and also share what this week, following all the excitement, was like.

Monday, I woke up sick, with a swollen (!) nose. Had I been in a fist fight? The doctor said it was rather a sinusitis infection in my nose and I was on antibiotics before I knew it. I am not sure it was the curator experience that made me sick, but it was a day lost to pain and rest.

Tuesday, my children both started their new school. I accompanied and excited three-year-old to Nursery school and my husband took our six-year-old to Primary 1.

My school girls! ????? #maryjane #sisters #schooluniforms #mahjong #vamlingbolaget #233moments

A post shared by Kajsa Hallberg Adu (@kajsaha) on

On Wednesday, I was well enough to share some of my thoughts about the @Sweden experience on the Citi Breakfast Show on Ghanaian radio station Citi FM. IN an interview with the brilliant Bernard Avle, I talked about 

  • Traffic (I was late to the studio)
  • Knowing my audience
  • Missing my TL
  • Thinking about Swedishness
  • Wanting to be a Ghanaian citizen

Find the full program here, I come on around 9.40am.

In the afternoon, I met with a researcher, Hanne Geirbo from the interesting research project Learning Flexibility. We spoke about social media activism, solar energy adoption and strategies for infrastructure challenges.

Last, I attended the Social Media Week Accra, and was a speaker under the heading “Social Media: The Ghana Case”.

I tried to give a quick overview of how blogging has developed in Ghana since BloggingGhana started in 2008, but also to critique the use of social media as heavily entertainment, one way, consumeristic instead of appreciating the true revolution of social media and harnessing the promise of social change. I suggested we support each-other ventures more, create and use more hashtags to curate content and campaigns, we produce more content.

On Thursday, I met with my Ashesi students for the first time. Ambitious, fresh-faced future leaders make me so happy. I also finalized the contract with two final year students who I will supervise on their papers. Two very interesting projects, I will tell you more about later.

Today, Friday is for research and preparing for next week. I will also fit in some meetings. This evening, I’ll be seeing my friend to celebrate her birthday.

 

I feel like this week was as intense and interesting as last week, but I was back on my own social media accounts and I had missed the people I am following and learning from. The Sweden curatorship, made me rethink what I publish and how much I share my personal life. While I have a high sense of integrity, and usually post quite minimal “this was my day”, “this is my breakfast”- content, I now think there is also value to sharing more personal details and life circumstances as that goes to the heart of the prospects of social media: bringing people closer together by showing how diverse and how similar we all are.

Do you think it’s useful or interesting to read about other people’s daily lives?

The Week When I Increased My Twitter Following by x10

This week I have the honor of representing my native Sweden as the curator of the Twitter account @Sweden. It is every week run by a new Swede or person living in Sweden (this week a Swede outside Sweden). 

The initiative aims to showcase “the country of Sweden through the mix of skills, experiences and opinions it actually consists of. Through the stories of the various curators, not one Sweden is conveyed, but several.” Housed by the Swedish Institute, the project is a co-initiative with VisitSweden and you can read more about the project Curators of Sweden and see a list of more curators here.

I opened my curatorship with a tweet+video from our garden:

 

On my personal Twitter account @kajsaha, I have 12 000 followers, but this week I have 127 000! I hope to make good use of the exposure! During my week I will discuss

  • Swedishness,
  • my best online tips,
  • weather (that’s what Swedes like to talk about!),
  • identity politics,
  • why I chose to research migration in West Africa,
  • and of course, share some breakfast photos.

I also hope to use my social media skills to have a very interactive week!

See my posts on Twitter.com/Sweden

Welcome!