Kajsa Featured on 3FM’s segment Women Mean Business

Last week, I was a featured woman on the Women MEan Business segment on newish radio channel 3FM. I spoke to the host Winston about my work at Ashesi and with BloggingGhana, higher education, Ghanaian food and more!

I was surprised to see 2000 people have seen the Facebook Live version of my interview. Now you can too!

My talk at #iHav2017: Social Media and its Employment Opportunities

On Wed 26 July 2017, I was invited by the iHav Foundation to be a resource person at their training for youth leaders from the entire African continent.

I was invited to talk on the topic of:

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

and ended up interacting with a smaller group of social media enthusiasts at the conference from five different countries: Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Ghana.

We discussed how to control your social media presence and how to start a blog. This is the talk I had prepared:

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Have you ever asked your parents how they kept in touch with family and friends outside Ghana when they were your age? Let me tell you that you needed to take transport to the post office at Makola market around high street and order a call – for the next day!

10 years later, cell phone tech came to Ghana and a SIM card cost, guess how much? A monthly salary!

A monthly salary!

10 years later, Ghana had dial up Internet. Do you remember the sound of it? I think you are too young! Because today, 3/4 Ghanaians have mobile data subscription on their phone (NCA, 2017).

=revolution. Everything the World has access to online, we have access to as well. All opportunities. No excuses!

Three opportunities:

  1. Controlling your (and your country’s) social media presence

Google yourself. What happens?

For me, it’s

Wikipedia, YouTube, work website, my blog, Wikipedia, twitter, linked in – you can’t write about yourself in wiki (but everything else! join the Wikipedia community!) By the way, the coordinator for wiki libraries in the world(!) lives in Ghana and started up as a contributing writer for Wikipedia.

Most of these entries I have written/created myself! Then I have control over my online and social media presence.

Next level of controlling online presence is contributing to how your country and Africa is covered online. This is why I started BloggingGhana,   to share the stories from Ghana and encourage Ghanaians to share our world. Another example is the Ghanaian hair app, Tress.It creates a community around something very important in our context, great hair!

2. Learning something online (Or teaching others):

how dance salsa, how do braid hair, How to Cook nigerian jollof to impress a Nigerian, how to . How to set up a blog. Just google it, watch some videos and you are ready to go. Skills can lead to new opportunities to make a living.

3. Doing work online

Is the last level. Although much work these days is actually done online: PR, communications, marketing, writing, journalism, music, art, e-commerce, we also have people who work remotely.

Many of us also use social media to build ourselves up, collect the work we do in one place (like a blog) but also use social media to discuss societal issues in Tweet-ups and Facebook-live sessions, help others, perhaps more as a calling as a business opportunity (one does not exclude the other though!)

Every time you go online, vow to produce as much as you consume!

  • Set up profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Google, linked in, upload pictures, say something. Make sure pictures of you online represent the best you, if they do not, change them and the old one(s) will eventually be pushed down in search.
  • Follow me on social media channels @kajsaha (I was even wearing my @ellishaboie KAJSAHA top, see above!) as I tweet and instagram African content relevant for you. See for instance my blog post: “Why blogging is good for your career”.
  • Follow @bloggingghana, and/or social media organizations in your country (see my Twitter list!)

I said it again: Every time you go online, vow to produce as much as you consume!

We did not have so much time for Q&A, but one I remember was:

Q: How do I get more followers?

A (From both me and others in the group): Be useful, kind, promote others, share information, summarize events, ask questions, post photos.

 

Thanks again to Christabel Ofori and the team at iHAV Foundation for inviting me and creating such a useful platform for our future leaders.

Green Ghanaian Akua Akyaa Nkrumah is Gone

Environmental Technologist Akua Akyaa Nkrumah passed away on Thursday. She was, write her colleagues in the death announcement, a “mighty tree”. I think it is not often such words are used about a thirty-something, but those were the same words that came to mind as I heard of her passing on Friday morning. I am devastated. 

In lieu of the one-week meeting for family and friends that is customary in Ghana, I want to sit an imaginary living room and share here on my blog some of my thoughts. I imagine an overcrowded room, some of us are standing. I see Akyaa’s family and colleagues in the room, friends from BloggingGhana, Chale Wote, Ahaspora, Golda, Maame Aba, Jemila, Edward, Ato, Naa Oyoo, Efo. Now that we are all here, let’s remember.

Akyaa was a blogger and member of the organization I co-founded in 2008, BloggingGhana. Do read her last blog post on the 15 things NPP can do for the environment. She was a very present member, featured in our “By the Fireside”-events last year, and a feisty and fun discussant on issues we would deliberate on when the official meeting was over. She was a passionate professional working with Jekora Ventures, doing the hard work that is cleaning up Accra, one of the places in the world most in need of sanitation. She was proud of her work and often talked about her projects. Additionally, she was an inspiration and a fellow creative in a space where creativity is rare. She was also an ray of light in the field of environmentalism, desperately needed for a Ghana that is quickly becoming a dump site. Last year, she was featured on Jill of All Trades with this beautiful interview.

In the beginning of the year, Akyaa and I had quite a lot of interactions. We met up and talked about life, she helped my student with information, I got to learn about her initiative to take Eco thinking and social media to university students in the Green Ghanaian Eco Tour. The program was masterfully crafted, intended to reach all regions of Ghana, prefunded by an international donor who Akua had approached and written a proposal to. I took notes and confided in her that under so many years of discussing such an outreach for causes I feel strongly about, I never managed to. She generously shared the details that made her project a success.

In February, Akyaa brought her initiative to Ashesi University. I played only a small role and finally could not attend the program on the Saturday she came up with her team, but was following the tweets online from engaged students.


 

In her last year of living, Akyaa spread her worldview to hundreds (thousands?) of young people, opened a waste management plant, and taught me personally about activism and outreach. Now that she is no more with us, my only consolation is in these endeavors Akua Akyaa Nkrumah will live on. Green Ghanaian…dubbed Great Ghanaian by a mutual friend. Green Great Ghanaian. Our mighty tree. Thank you. Da yiy3.

BloggingGhana will remember her in an event soon. 

Ahaspora will be dedicating their June Happy Hour to celebrate her life.

Family GoFundMe collection for her burial.

Celebrating 10 Years of Living in Ghana

This week, I have a major life anniversary: 10 years of living in Ghana! On April 17th, 2007, I stepped on the Kotoka tarmac in Accra with two big suitcases, and was hit by a hot wind of promise. 

And Chale, Ghana has delivered…

(Our wedding slideshow has more than 21 000 views!)

But despite worldly successes, the transition from a cold, Scandinavian country to a hot Tropical one has not always been easy. In my home of 10 years, I continue to be an outsider who hear “Welcome!” every single week. While I smile and say “Thank you!”, it hurts to know I can never fully be accepted here. I often say “I am a 7-8-9, now, 10-year-old in this context…” and I like that image as it often accurately reflects how much – or how little –  I understand of my surroundings. Many things (traditions, greetings, events, ideas, relationships, ends of relationships) here still surprise me, actually surprise me more than during the early days in Ghana.

In addition, 10 years away has made me start to feel like a stranger in Sweden. Swedish politics, fashion, topics for discussion throw me off, makes me raise my eyebrows. While I can walk the streets in Sweden totally blending in…ok, maybe not when I sport my colourful wax print in the sea of black, gray, and beige…but, at least, without hearing anyone welcoming me, I increasingly feel like a stranger who look around with a surprised face. I am reminded of what a family friend who grew up somewhere else said about living a life abroad: “soon, you don’t belong anywhere”.

Missing being close to my Swedish family is unfortunately a feeling that grows with time.

I am not saying the above because I want to complain, no! Life in Ghana for 10 years has undoubtedly been good to me,  or else I would not have stayed. My dreams have come true! But life in Ghana is not just good, rather it is continuously the adventure of my life.

I am still thinking of how to mark this milestone, if you have ideas, write a comment below. Thanks!

 

 

My Election Day: From Basic Level to Analyst

I had an excellent election day, divided in three clear sections. It seems the country also had an excellent election day, with a few exceptions discussed below. 

1. Family time
familyIn the morning, my five year old asked:

– Why am I not going to school today?

I answered:

– Because today is election day.

– What is election? Came the response. A Masters Degree in political science and a PhD in African Studies are not necessarily assets when getting to the basics. I took a deep breath and tried:

– It is when we chose who will decide in the country. We call that person president or prime minister.

– I want to be president! I will decide what to do and then you will decide what we should not do, ok, mama?

Morning proceeded calmly with family time. Our nanny had left the night before to go vote after a short campaign to join her party.

2. Voting

img_1112
In the afternoon, we went to my husband’s childhood neighbourhood where he is still registered as a voter. There was no queue, voting was swift and easy in the double voting register at the Chemu school in Community 4, Tema.

Of course, I did not vote as I am not a Ghanaian citizen (yet). It was great to see the positive atmosphere and how elections rather brought people together – at least in this community – than created divisions.

3. BloggingGhana in the Situation Roomelection-obesrver

BloggingGhana’s GhanaDecides project was approached about being part of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and the National Peace Council’s  observer group. The group convened during the whole election day in a situation room of sorts, but as I needed to be part of family time and voting, I only joined in the afternoon.

team

I was introduced to the team of 30 or so “yellow shirt” observers collating reports from all the regions of Ghana, the 10 “green shirt” observers or analysts – where I had to pinch my arm, because that where I belonged! BloggingGhana/GhanaDecides had its own table filled with bottles, chords, and screens (see photo above). After a while the members of the highest level of the observers – the decision room stopped by after a tour including other situation rooms and the electoral commission.

A major convo was around the Jaman North Constituency now voting tomorrow after the failure of party agents to first agree on the electoral roll and then of the electoral commission to get materials out to the 92 polling stations. Jaman North is located between Ivory Coast to the west, the Bui National Park to the north, and the Tain constituency to the east that voted one day late in 2012 for similar reasons. How many voters are registered in Jaman North? I have not seen any official data yet. Will follow up tomorrow!

Another thing we see as the results trickle in is that the turnout seems low – after some 30 000 votes have been counted, the turnout hoovers around 57-58%. In 2012, the turnout was close to 80%. Following this closely too.

At this moment, most observers have returned home and a few of us are wrapping up the day to the sound of provisional MP results trickling in. 

See you online tomorrow – until then follow GhanaDecides.com and #GhanaDecides on all social media channels – over night run by our diaspora team!

Top Three: My Best Podcasts from Ghana and Beyond

This evening, BloggingGhana is doing an event called “PodCast – the New Blog?” (free if you sign up in advance by following the link) and because of that, I wanted to list my top three podcasts out of Ghana. 
File 2016-01-23 00 17 47

In Ghana, there is still not much to choose from, but  these have made a great effort and are podcasts I return to:

  1. AccraWeDey. A chilled conversation between the guys (Joey, Pokuaa and Nii) and a guest on popular culture, whats new on Twitter, and in town. Great intro song and vibe, but maybe sometimes too much friends just chilling?
  2. Hagtivist. A serious podcast that discusses news in Ghana from a well needed humanist angle. This is definitely an activist pod, but could it be available on iTunes? Have fewer hosts or segments that made listening a bit easier?
  3. The cocoa pod? I can’t even find three…Soon that will change hopefully!

My top three English speaking podcasts are:

  1. Startup by Gimlet. All Gimlet shows are hyper produced and great, but the idea of following a company through their start up process has some original drama to it.
  2. The Tim Feriss Show. I love-hate this pod. It is too much of everything, too American, too much focused on personal improvement, but I also learn great deal when ever I am in the right mood.
  3. Voices of VR. I have just started to listen to this pod, but it embodies something that is inherent to the promise of podcasting. In short 15 min episodes, you can create a universe for people with the same interests, here Virtual Reality, and just nerd it out.

My top three Swedish speaking podcasts are:

  1. Hanna & Amanda. Queens of mixing ordinary talk with adverts and tips, much like AccraWeDey is heading towards I am imagining.
  2. En varg söker sin pod. Articulate “friend-pod” on popculture focusing on film, books, news and other pods intertwined with the lovely flow of intelligent discussion between two best friends in the Swedish creative industry.
  3. Kära barn. A podcast where people ask a midwife and psychologist questions relating to children ages 4-18. The expert’s tone of voice always makes me so calm! (Although I would maybe mot follow all advice)

My secret is I would love to have my own podcast, but can’t seem to get it together. I am hoping to learn from the experienced podcasters this evening what it takes!

This is the first in a series of Top Three on my blog. More to follow soon!

Speaker at the ASME 2015

ASME2015 Kajsa-Hallberg-AduI have been invited to speak at the Vodafone African SME Summit 2015. The summit takes place 5-7 November, 2015 and has the theme; “Dreaming Africa”.

 

I will be speaking from the BloggingGhana/Social Media perspective in the panel called “Changing the conversation on Africa’s media front” on Thursday 5 Nov, 2.05-2.45pm  My co-panelists are Bernard Avle, CitiFm and Teophilus Yartey, Graphic Business.

Other speakers are Emmanuel Gamor of Impact Accra Hub, Nana Akosua Hanson of YFM, and Frederick Deegbe, Heel The World Shoes and many more!

I will share my slides here after my presentation.

Hope to see you there!

Screenshot 2015-11-03 12.03.47

3 #DumsorMustStop Vigil Lessons

Here are my three take-aways from today’s #DumsorMustStop vigil.

1. A few people, in this case celebrities, can make a difference. Thanks to their leadership, we were given a venue to speak up. The feeling of walking down the street with 1000 (2000?) others who also think we deserve better was like…a cold shower after a night under a non-moving fan.

2. We can do better. More people can show up next time, but more importantly, those who come should know how powerful we are if we optimise the protest in terms of:

  • spacing (one arms length to the person in front of you one to the person next to you),
  • speed (slowly, like a tortoise winning against the hare!) and
  • place ( you want to walk ON THE ROAD to create maximum impact of the protest, not on the curb, etc).

3. Clearly, Ghanaians are tired of sitting in the dark. Seeing thousands of Ghanaians dressed in black floating down the street holding candles and kerosene lamps – and one fridge! –  must be the government’s nightmare.

Tomorrow Sunday 17 May, 2015, at 3.30pm BloggingGhana will discuss the vigil and how social media can play a role in #DumsorMustStop. If you want to attend, let us know here.

#BlogCamp15 Coming Soon

BloggingGhana proudly presents the fourth BlogCamp – in Kumasi –  with the theme “Social Media for Good” this Saturday May 9th, 2015.
BlogCamp 13 collage
BlogCamp is a full day networking and educational event is for bloggers and social media enthusiasts, and as I know I have many among my readership, I hope to see some of you there! There will be a PhotoWalk in Kumasi suburbs, talks and panels on the topical topic as well as general workshops on blogging, photography and social media for business.

Register to secure your free ticket. (Information on buses from Accra when you have your ticket)

I will be Tweeting away, shaking as many hands as I can and try to in every possible way embody BloggingGhana’s two foundational pillars: technology and friendship!
So, if for some reason you cannot be physically present, follow #BlogCamp15 on Twitter and other social media channels on Saturday!
Photo Collage from BlogCamp13. Read about BlogCamp12, 14.

Busy Week and Ghana Blogging and Social Media Awards

Last week was spectacular and spectacularly busy. The semester at Ashesi is wrapping up, my daughter is on break from school and BloggingGhana has its events season. Last week, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, was Ghana Blogging and Social Media Awards. This week is BlogCampGhana in Kumasi (get your own free ticket here!).

 

The awards night was amazing. The highlight for me was walking the red carpet and seing the venue in all its beautiful lighting and décor courtesy of PlanIt events. My colleagues were also looking fabulous and it was a pleasure to talk to a joined social media crowd away from keyboard as we say…

GBSMA collage first

I spoke about the journey of BloggingGhana from 2008 until today.

GBSMA collage general

I also presented the award to best new Blog. The award was given to YesiYesi, Ghana’s first satire news site, much well deserved in my view.

GBSMA collage Present

The team had done a great job and the energy of Ghana’s most active social media users in one room was palpable. I wish you had all been there!

 All photos courtesy of BloggingGhana’s FB page and tweaked by Pixlr.

Ghana Blogging and Social Media Awards 2015

Its the time of the year to find out who are the best achievers in the social media space in Ghana! On Saturday, the first ever standalone Ghana Blogging and Social Media Awards take place at the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel in Accra (BlogCamp is coming up in Kumasi on May 9th, 2015).
Ghana BlogOn Saturday night, I will be the opening speaker and hope to see many old and new faces there. Naa Oyoo hopes we will be well-dressed , she writes:

For the last two award nights, its been jeans, t-shirts, converse, flats, sneakers, shorts, backpacks and totes. None of that this year please! This year’s award’s ceremony will be taking place at the Coconut Grove Regency Hotel and the dress code is formal or traditional.

TV News anchor Bridget Otoo will be the MC and BloggingGhana “stars” such as photographer Nana Kofi Acquah and new media manager Mawuli Tsikata will showcase their work/speak.

I am quite excited about this year’s edition – so officially the curtains are drawn, the hype is up, and I need to go find a dress!