What I learned from the WACSI Social Media Conference

Wednesday and Thursday, West Africa Civil Society Institute, WACSI, had invited me and some of my fellow blogging colleagues to an international conference on the opportunities of social media.

Present were among others Nigerian online campaigners like Enough Is Enough, Ivorian sister organization to BloggingGhana, CIVBLOG, Buddy Media/Marketing Cloud a Ghanaian (branch of a?) company managing social media and especially Facebook pages around the world and Source Fabric, an interesting social media software organization, as well. Some prominent Tweeps like @spectraspeaks (Nigeria/US), @ZawadiN (Kenya), @mashanubian (Gambia/Senegal) @MacJordaN were also attending and of course GhanaDecides.

Out of the two days of conferencing, I could only attend one due to other obligations, but still walked away with plenty of inspiration and a few insights that I would like to share with you:

  1. The simplest way of starting a movement and getting people to connect is starting a hashtag – some relevant examples: for African feminists, #Afrifem, possibly #Afriblog for African bloggers and for Tema folk wanting to promote our city in the center of the world #Tema00. This method requires zero overhead, no funding and can have great impact.
  2. Crowd funding is the future. With webapplications connected to local banks, people can make donations using the Internet directly to organizations. EIENigeria uses 234give for instance and encourage people to pledge to contribute monthly to their activities.
  3. We are not alone. Sometimes, Ghana feels like an island, but with Internet (and a IRL conference once in a while), clearly it is not. Great things are happening in our neighbor countries – and in Ghana! –  and we just need to learn from eachother, adapt solutions to our environment and the inspire them right back! I have a feeling that especially EIE Nigeria and CIVBLOG will be great partners for BloggingGhana!

Thanks to the organizers for putting this fruitful meeting together. Next time, Adventurers in the Diaspora and Accra Dot Alt  should also be invited – Ghanaian social movements using social media!


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The Power of We: Three Examples from Ghana

 Blog Action Day 2012,  or #BAD12 for short, is a day where bloggers all over the world together write on one topic. Over the last years, I have participated on themes such as “poverty” and “climate change”. This year a slightly more poetic theme has been chosen: “the power of we”. I thought of providing examples of this “power of we” from three organizations I am involved with here in Ghana. The way I see it, the power of we is about both building a community internally and working for a greater good, together. There are definite overlaps in all three examples:

1. Ashesi University College

Pillars: Leadership, Scholarship, Citizenship.

Mission: to educate a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial leaders in Africa; to cultivate within our students the critical thinking skills, the concern for others and the courage it will take to transform a continent.

The power of we at Ashesi: Except for stating in our mission statement we are interested in fostering concern for others and change in our community, we locally on campus cultivate an “Ashesi community” by

  • having campus wide events where everybody from the security man to the students and lecturers to the President Patrick Awuah are expected to attend,
  • having a shared emailing list,
  • celebrating eachother’s success and also
  • including graduates or workers who leave as part of the community.

Personally, I value this community as a treasured part of my remuneration for the work I do and try to give back by inviting the community to events I organize like  and helping to build capacity, especially in social media.

Learn more about Ashesi or read my other posts on Ashesi University College.

2. BloggingGhana

Pillars: Friendship and Technology

Mission and Objectives: to bring the Ghanaian blog community together in real life!

  1.  Serving as a forum for bloggers in Ghana to network and exchange ideas
  2. Building capacity among bloggers in Ghana
  3. Accessing new audiences for our blogs through a mutual website (aggregator) and other activities
  4. Promoting citizen journalism in Ghana
  5. Educating the general public in Ghana on the opportunities of social media

The power of we in BloggingGhana: For this organization, the power of we became glaringly apparent when we last year decided to upgrade ourselves from a group of friends who had met every month since 2008 to discuss society and social media to a registered non-profit organization.  We were hesitant of taking that step, I guess worried that it would take the fun out of the group. Eventually we dared to take the step!  Registering as an official entity has allowed us to partner with other organizations and look for funding, and only 1,5 years after receiving our documents, we have come a long way in promoting and improving social media use in Ghana. And we are still having fun!

Join BloggingGhana or read about our projects, BlogCamp and GhanaDecides.

3. Nubuke Foundation

Pillars: Record, Preserve, Promote

The power of we in Nubuke Foundation:  This art foundation located in Accra does excellent programs and bring together people from the whole artistic spectrum in Ghana. They have the NuFriend program for people who want to promote and help the organization, but that was never enough for me. I have been volunteer since the first time I set fot on their premises, and not just me, the place has many volunteers and almost every month a new face can be seen helping out! Why is this? I believe the directors of Nubuke, the Ghanian artist Kofi Setordji and the art collector and curator Odile Tevie are excellent leaders who really see the people around them and recognize how we can help. Still today when I have less time to volunteer (the few hours a month have gone down next to 0 since I had my child), they always greet me with a smile, tease me about   something and call to check in. They know, I am a volunteer for life and treat me as such!

Visit Nubuke Foundation or read my earlier posts here.

 Conclusion: Two levels of the Power of We

So all these three Ghanian groups have a strong culture where individuals feeling a part of the family is key to the success of the organization. But even more important is that they all have missions that guide us to do something bigger, something better, something  that resonates with the longing for the “we” in the human individual. Or as Margaret Mead puts it in one of my favorite quotes ever:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Read fellow Ghanaians who have written on the Power of We here: Maya’s Earth (our co-founder also wrote on BloggingGhana!), African Feminist Forum, Ghana Humanists and Obed Sarpong.

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BloggingGhana Celebrates Press Freedom Day

Recently, BloggingGhana was invited to the Press Freedom Day event organized by the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA).

Our executive Nii Ayertey Aryeh, represented us at the event and here is the video evidence.

“We as bloggers recognize the importance of guarding the press freedom we enjoy today… We have a keen interest in putting Ghanaian stories online”

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Ghana BlogCamp 2012 : Photos from the event

Last Saturday, BloggingGhana held our first major event, BlogCamp12, as I wrote about in my last post.

Now it is time for the fun part, the photos from the event!

If you use these photos, please state the source.

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BlogCamp 2012 – Let’s Go!

The groups of bloggers in Ghana I  belong to  is tomorrow doing our first major event! BlogCamp 2012! It is terribly exciting!











Hence, tomorrow I expect to

  1. get up early (I’m the first speaker)
  2. meet some interesting people
  3. introduce some of them to BloggingGhana
  4. learn more about blogging
  5. get inspired to create more local content
Follow me on Twitter tomorrow, @kajsaha for a live version. Will also post in this space!

See you tomorrow!

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BloggingGhana for Social Media Minds in Ghana

Yesterday, I met with the best social media minds of Ghana. Some 15-20 of us in BloggingGhana  had our monthly meet-up (Are you a blogger in Ghana? Sign up to join us here).

Last year, just before I left Ghana, we registered the network called GhanaBlogging that has been meeting since 2008. We felt it was time to move to the next step. Actually, we were rather forced to do so due to the massive interest in our group. Now, BloggingGhana (BloGh for short)is our registered name, so GhanaBlogging is history as you are not allowed to register bodies that start with the country’s name in Ghana. We have an exiting year ahead that I surely will write more about on this blog over the months to come.

But back to yesterday, I can happily report the year started well for us. We had great turnout, high level of energy in the group ans most importantly we had some extremely fruitful and some hrm… more fun-oriented discussions. 

Ps. After the meeting there was a little discussion on Twitter (seach for #BloGh) and I think Nana Fredua-Ageyman‘s comment captured something vital about the organization:

“one thing about #blogh is the camaraderie. Everyone behaves like he or she knows you before.”

I think that also shows in the photo Edward Tagoe took.



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