Thursday, 15 December 2011

BarCamp Ghana 2011: Getting Ahead Through Partnerships and Collaboration

The "mother" of all BarCamps in Ghana will be taking place live at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT this Saturday. Join us in person or via Twitter and Facebook!

After Barcamps in Kumasi, Cape Coast, Tamale and Ho, the movement is in Accra this Saturday for Barcamp Ghana. Barcamp Ghana 2011 will take place on December 17, 2011 at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT. The theme is “Establishing Partnerships to transform dreams into action-based projects: Lessons from Mentors”. This Barcamp will concentrate on sharing, inspiring and creating stories about building partnership with attendant mentorship to create successful Ghanaian projects and businesses. This will be the 11th Barcamp in Ghana, back to the venue where it all started in December 2008.
BarCamp Ghana 2011 will feature a speed mentoring session with mentors like Bernard Avle, Kofi Akpabli, Albert Ocran, Sheila Bartels-Sam, Lionel Dosoo, Leila Djansi, Carl Ashie, Kofi Dadzie, Maximus Ametorgoh, Alex Adjei-Bram, Nana Awere Damoah, Sefakor Gbewonyo, Alfred Cran-Mensah, amongst others.
As always, there will be many breakout sessions organized by you, valuable networking and a celebration of Ghanaian ingenuity and innovation. Register/RSVP today at the BarCamp Ghana eventbrite website. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, email us at, especially if you have special needs. 

BarCamp Ghana 2011 is sponsored by the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT, Mobile Web Ghana, GhanaThink Foundation, Fienipa Group, Spot One Global, and Nandimobile. Our media partners are, Citi 97.3 FM, and Radio Univers. BarCamp Ghana – info at

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

BarCamp Ho: Harnessing Local Competencies and Opportunities for Global Impact

BarCamp Ho 2011 is a free networking event to bring people together for a day of discussion, demonstrations and dialogue about Ho, the Volta Region and beyond. BarCamp Ho 2011 will take place on December 3, 2011 at Centre for National Culture in Ho, Ghana. The theme is “Harnessing local competencies and opportunities for global impact”. The first Barcamp Ho event will create a supportive community for entrepreneurs, change makers, innovators and other leaders in Ho and the Volta Region. Ho is well primed to support development in Ghana and Togo as well.
The BarCamp Ghana team has successfully organized eight BarCamps in Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi, Cape Coast and Tamale, resulting in a network of Ghanaian doers, entrepreneurs and change makers. Barcamp Ho 2011 is organized by the GhanaThink Foundation in conjunction with a local team of Volta Region-based change makers. This BarCamp will focus on networking like-minded entrepreneurial and change making Ho residents to partner in adding value to their businesses and community. It will also promote successful young entrepreneurs from the region, further inspiring similar activity in attendees and birthing new businesses, initiatives and projects.

Like all Barcamps, there will be user-generated sessions and discussions where attendees get to set the agenda and topics for the day. BarCamp Ho 2011 will have a panel discussion on tourism featuring Donald Diaba (iRokko Concepts), Eli Aidam (Centre for Creative Youth and Centre for National Culture) and Eric Tackie Tawiah (Ghana Tourist Board). There shall also be sessions about starting up businesses, social media, blogging and topics relevant to the Volta region and beyond.. The social media sessions will be led by Mac-Jordan Degadjor. Leti Games CEO Eyram Tawia will share his story of building one of Africa's premier gaming companies. Alex Titiloye Ojo, a recent award winner at the World Youth Summit Awards, will also be there to share his insights. 
The unmistakable Wli water fall is one of the many tourist attractions in the Volta Region. How do we project it better?
Register/RSVP today at the BarCamp Ho eventbrite website. You may also contact the BarCamp Ho team through this website for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs. You may also register by sending "Barcamp Ho [name] [email address] to 1945 on all networks.

BarCamp Ho 2011 is sponsored by the GhanaThink Foundation, Google, Centre for National Culture, Volta Regional Trade & Investment Fair, Fienipa Group, Nandimobile, iROKKO Concepts, Leti Games, GhanaBlogging,Cenre for Creative Youth, etc. Our media partners are

Register at
See you there!

Contact: or barcamp at

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Taking The BarCamp Fever to the Regions of Ghana

Section from BarCamp Accra 2010
BarCamps the world over are space for idea-sharing, networking and fun. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you may be abreast with what barcamps in Ghana are all about.

For starters, a barcamp is simply a conference whose content is mostly user-generated (so we call it an un-conference). That is attendees are allowed to dictate what should be discussed and in what way it should be discussed. This allows for highly relevant, engaging and focused discussions relevant to local communities. The result is that the passion, fervour and "vim" flowing from such discussions push people to come out with many projects, in different sectors, ranging from regular businesses, through social enterprises to building intellectual communities.

And so it is with BarCamp Ghana. I've learnt lots of valuable lessons participating in and volunteering for BarCamps in Ghana. Since 2008, BarCamp Ghana has been nurturing the nation's young minds, preparing them for the future with the knowledge of skills they should be learning, networks they should be building and planting the seed of firm believe that they can thrive and succeed in Ghana despite the prevailing odds. That's the spirit of BarCamp Ghana. Some prefer to sum it up with one word. VIM! That vim is evident in all these BarCamp gatherings, as the creme de la creme of young changemakers are always represented.

One focus of GhanaThink, the organisation behind barcamps in Ghana, for the last two years, has been to spread the barcamp love nationwide. Last year barcamps were held in Accra, Kumasi and Sekondi-Takoradi. This year even more towns are joining the BarCamp train. Kumasi and Cape Coast have already hosted superb events. Tamale and Ho will be debuting their respective regional barcamps ahead of the grand party, BarCamp Ghana 2011, in Accra. Here are some quick details:

Championing local voices for development through technology and ICT
Focus: Northern region, development, NGO, community, technology
Venue: Tamale Polytechnic
Date: 26th November, 2011
Registration: Evenbrite page. OR Text "Barcamp Tamale [your_name] [your_email_address] to 1945
Connect: Facebook, Twitter, Google +

Harnessing local competencies and opportunities for global impact

Focus: Volta region, entrepreneurship, tourism, social media, local content
Venue: Centre for National Culture, Ho
Date: 3rd December, 2011
Registration: Eventbrite page OR Text "Barcamp Ho [your_name] [your_email_address] to 1945
Connect: Facebook, Twitter, Google +

Try to make it to these events if you get a chance and like the BarCamp Ghana page on Facebook! 

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Kuyu Project Digital Literacy Camp, Ghana: Learning How to Blog

I'm just writing this post to show that I'm teaching Keta Senior High Technical School students how to blog using blogger, at the Kuyu Project Digital Literacy Camp. Please meet them:

Jo Webber helping students out at the computer while I demo

Monday, 24 October 2011

Digital Literacy Training for Keta Senior High Technical School Students

The twenty first century comes with its own challenges and opportunities for the modern learner. With the proliferation of the Internet and associated technologies, learning and collaboration are taking new digital twists. The requirement list for today's student has one new subject: Digital Literacy. While other parts of the world have taken leaps and bounds in this area, Africa is picking up rather slowly. Luckily, there are a few initiatives aimed at helping African students to cross the technological chasm. One of them is the Kuyu Project, originally coming out of Kenya.

The Kuyu Project is an African Digital Literacy initiative aimed at teaching African high school students how to use social media and allied tools for social change. I am collaborating with Ghanaian blogger Mac-Jordan Degadjor and digital consultant/strategist Jo Webber to organise a digital literacy camp for Keta Senior High Technical School students. This is is the first Kuyu Digital Literacy Camp to be held outside Kenya, where the project originated from.

The objective of the Keta camp is to introduce students to a wide array of social media tools to:
  • boost civic activism
  • boost how well they can collaborate with students from abroad and within Ghana
  • research more effectively using online tools
  • build future careers using their newly acquired knowledge
  • increase knowledge about safety and wisely using social media
Students of Keta Senior High Technical School are bracing themselves to be part of the making of a digital revolution in their school and community, and are keen to incorporate the skills they gain from the camp in their various school activities.

Eldad Nutakor, president of the Writers and Debaters Club (WDC) expects that the programme will make students realise the opportunities that the digital world offers. He is of the view that most students think using the Internet and its associated tools is a waste of time, given the academic structure. He hopes that the massive transformation that will be seen in the lives of participants will make the others to see the light. The leader of a group of socially conscious students, Sarah Wutsikah, is looking forward to use her newly acquired digital skills to lead her group to set up an NGO right after school. She expects the programme to be interesting and hopefully get more students to be interested in ICT-related careers. Finally, ICT Club president, Lesley Commey, hopes the camp will enable them to use videos effectively to cover school events. He is also upbeat about meeting up with camp trainers and expanding his network in the digital space. 

We hope the camp will contribute to raising digital champions in this part of Ghana, and contribute positively to the lives of its participants.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Python African Tour Kumasi: Programming in the Garden City of Ghana

Python African Tour Kumasi workshops were held at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) ICT Centre and British Council, Kumasi, from 29th September to 1st October, 2011. This was a follow-up to the Python African Tour Ghana workshops/hackathons held in Accra last January. The event attracted more than 60 students and staff of the university as well as IT professionals.
The Kumasi training programme was designed to equip mostly new and passionate programmers to solve problems through computer programming (using Python of course). The specific objectives of PAT Kumasi were:

  • To introduce participants to concepts in programming and methodologies
  • To give them hands-on practice with the Python programming language
  • To encourage more students and professionals to take up the Python programming language
The Workshops
Problem solving, the Python way: @boyombo from Evince Systems making a point
 Participants were welcomed to the training (KNUST ICT Centre) with a brief presentation of Python African Tour, its objectives and the first PAT Ghana event that was held in Accra in January. The day’s technical activities started with a general introduction to programming (i.e. concepts including variables, data types, statements and expressions, control structures, etc) by Edward Pie (@hackstockpie). Participants were introduced to IDLE as these concepts were demonstrated.

On the second day, new participants showed up, so Francis Addai (@faddai) did a quick recap of the first day’s concepts. He further continued with more examples on control structures, then data structures in Python and functions. Next, differences between using IDLE (interactive mode) and files with py extension (script mode) were pointed out, and the learners were guided to create python programs in files. Things were put in a more practical perspective after lunch when Bayo Opadeyi (@boyombo) took the participants through a voting application (web app).  The Urllib2 module was used to create an HTTP server and a client to send and receive requests. It was fun!

Saturday's training started with Francis reviewing the previous day's lessons about data structures and functions. Next, Bayo led trainees to complete the voting app which was started the previous day. He then proceeded with a lecture on programming patterns (abstraction and recursion), explaining that their use makes programs more efficient. He further demoed some software he built with Python and Django. He concluded his presentation with advice for developers, sharing some personal experiences and philosophies. Francis concluded the day's training with Intro to Django tutorials.
Cross-section of #PATKumasi attendees at the end of the final day
During the closing remarks participants were encouraged to join the Ghana Python User Group and follow up on developments on both Facebook and Twitter. Students expressed interest in attending future PAT workshops in KNUST. PDFs and videos were copied for participants to go and continue exploring with the python programming language. Links to resources online were given out including the Online Python Programming Course set up at P2P.

Yedase- Thank you!
Python African Tour (Ghana) is grateful to the efforts of our sponsors and supporters: Google (Gold), BECATEC (Silver), Ageliaco (Silver), PSF (Hackathon), Hutspace, Ghana GTUG, Evince Systems, KNUST GTUG, Adroit Ghana, KNUST and British Council. Special “thank you” also to our trainers-Francis Addai, Edward Pie and Bayo Opadeyi for their enthusiasm, patience and dedication.

R to L: #PATKumasi trainers (@hackstockpie, @boyombo & @faddai) with @dotkwame and @niiadjeisowah

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Kenya Hosts Sixth Internet Governance Forum

Thought leaders in the Internet Governance (IG) community will converge in Nairobi, Kenya from 27th September to 1st October to deliberate on the present and future of the Internet. Dubbed Internet Governance Forum (IGF), the meeting is convened by the United Nations and will be held at their offices in Gigiri.

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is an annual event; it is a multi-stakeholder platform for discussions into all aspects of the Internet Governance debate. Internet Governance itself, simply, is the coming together of different interest parties to figure out how the Internet should operate and what laws or principles should be applied in its use. IGF brings together all key actors in the Internet space: governments, the technical community, academics, civil society and corporate organisations, on an equal basis. IGF was birthed through the World Summit for Information Society (WSIS) that was held in Tunis in 2005. Considering that the Internet has become a useful tool in all aspects of human endeavour and that there are over 1.5 billion of us using the global platform, there is no doubt that the IG debate is crucial. IGF has become so important that its organisation has been diffused to regional and national levels. At the first Ghana IGF, I took part in the discussion on Youth and Internet Governance Issues.

The main theme for IGF 2011 is "Internet as a catalyst for change: access, development, freedoms and innovation". It has further been broken down into the following sub-themes:
  • IG4D / Internet governance for development (IG4D) [also a cross cutting theme]
  • Emerging Issues
  • Managing critical Internet resources
  • Security, openness and privacy
  • Access and diversity
  • Taking stock and the way forward 
Various workshops, coordinated by different stakeholders, have been organised to raise discussion points under each sub-theme. For example, under security, openness and privancy, one of the workshops has been titled "Protecting the Most Vulnerable Users in Society: The Roles of Different Actors in Helping the New User Survive in an On-Line World", and under IG4D, we have "Can Digital Citizenship Scale into the Emerging and Developing Countries Effectivly? Should It?".  Also, the dynamic coalitions would be having their own sessions to explore issues pertinent to their causes.

If you want to take part in the IGF but you can't make it to Nairobi, don't worry. You can make your voice heard by participating remotely. You can also share your views on Twitter (#IGF) and Facebook. To learn more about Internet Governance, you can join the Diplo community. See you in Nairobi!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

What if Kwame Nkrumah Used Social Media?

The story of Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, continues to draw many passions years after his overthrow and death. Ghana is celebrating a holiday in his honour today and members of the Blogging Ghana community, which I belong to, are writing series of posts in his memory. Last two years, my post was on what Nkrumah's vision would have been if he was still alive, today I'm wondering how Kwame Nkrumah would use social media if he had access to these tools in his time.Would he have used these tools at all?

Kwame Nkrumah, a true African visionary, progressive and political organiser, would have easily identified the networking capabilities of social networks and deployed them in his day-to-day communications. In his day Kwame Nkrumah always found time to meditate and write. Perhaps he would have been glad to share his thoughts with the whole world through blogs. In addition, I think the president would have equally be won over by the 140-character awesomeness of Twitter to send short snippets of his everyday life to the whole world. Twitter might therefore be his social media of choice.

His possible handles might be @KwameNkrumah, @Osagyefo @Nkrumah. I can't imagine a geeky Nkrumah, so he'd probably use one of the foregoing.

Some of Nkrumah's coveted quotes likely could have emerged first as tweets, with some carefully selected hashtags in attendance:

The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent #Freedom #AfricaMustUnite #Africa
We cannot afford to sit still and be submissive onlookers of technological change #Sci4D #Technology
We face neither east nor west, we face forward #NonAlignment #SelfDeterminism #TotalIndependece
Nkrumah's work was known to have been inspired by the likes of Marcus Garvey, Nnamdi Azikwe, Mahatma Ghandi and W.E.B Du Bois. He'd probably have retweeted them copiously:

RT @Garvey There shall be no solution to this race problem until you, yourselves, strike the blow for liberty.

RT @Zik you talk I listen, you listen I talk>>> Great lesson, sir.  #debate #understanding

RT @Ghandi Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.
RT @WEBDubois: Believe in life! Always human beings will live and progress to greater, broader, and fuller life.
I won't be surprised if he sent out a few thoughts running through his mind, as we often encounter in social media circles. 
On the eve of independence: Feeling a bit nervous. I can't believe what we fought for has been won #GhanaisFree #Indece #6Mar57cc: @Gbedemah @Botsio @Busia

When Akosombo Dam was built: I can't wait to inaugurate this dam. The power generated from this facility will propel our industrialisation and development efforts.

Or when he was overthrown: I can't believe my people have deserted me. Ghana and Africa are in trouble. :(.
And many would have retweeted. Happy holidays!

Friday, 16 September 2011


Advancing Open Source Technologies for Development

Python African Tour (PAT) is an exciting African open source technology initiative aimed at promoting agile programming languages, mainly Python, among Africa's tech communities. Through the efforts of various developers, organizers, activists and volunteers, the programme has successfully trained interested people in Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco and Ghana to develop computer software using Python-based technologies. Similar efforts are currently underway to bring the Python African Tour experience to Kenya.
The first PAT workshop in Ghana was held from 18th to 22nd January 2011 at African University College of Communications (AUCC) and Ghana Telecom University College (GTUC) in Accra. PAT Ghana was sponsored by Google, BECATEC, Ageliaco and the Python Software Foundation (PSF), while Ghana Google Technology User Group (Ghana GTUG), Fedora Linux Project and Hutspace were partners. The Accra event birthed many avid Python programmers, a mailing list and the call to spread Python to other parts of Ghana.

Therefore, the Python African Tour team in Ghana is organizing a follow-up Python training workshop specially targeted at students at Kwame Nkrumah University of Scienceand Technology (KNUST), Kumasi Polytechnic (K-Poly) and other tertiary institutions in the Kumasi area. Other technology enthusiasts in the Ashanti region are also welcome to attend. This makes Ghana the first country to have a second PAT event organized.

Kumasi city centre. Picture credit:
The overall goal is to boost development in Africa through Python and allied technologies; this will be achieved by empowering young Ghanaian students, developers and entrepreneurs with quality skills to tackle local problems. It is also the objective of the Tour to inspire and build conversations among local developers, creating an ecosystem of cooperation, idea-sharing, collaboration and creativity.

Python African Tour takes a different approach from other tech-related conferences that have been held in Ghana due to its focus on hands-on Python training and skills transfer, opportunity local developers have been yearning for. The schedule for the Kumasi event is as follows:
  •  19th September to 25th September, 2011: Online course – “Introduction to Python" at School of Webcraft
  •    29th September to 30th September, 2011: Introduction to Python
  •   1st October, 2011: Introduction to Django web framework/Sprints
The emphasis of the training regimen is on developing a problem-solving and practical approach to programming. The training team consists of volunteers from PAT Ghana team, PAT Ghana participants, KNUST GTUG members and well-established software developers.

British Council, Google Ghana/Africa, BECATEC, Ageliaco, PSF, Ghana GTUG and KNUST GTUG are supporting this event to come to fruition. Sponsorship opportunites are still available for the workshops or hackathon. Contact the PAT team via email and get your organisation to be part of this exciting initiative.

To participate in the Python African Tour (PAT) Kumasi workshop, please fill out the registration form at the PAT website now. If you are interested in sponsoring, supporting the training team or helping out in any way, please send an email to patghana(at)

Connect with Python African Tour:
Twitter: @PATGhana

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Using Social Media in Citizen Engagement in West Africa

It is now common knowledge that ICTs play important roles in the development process. In West Africa, projects such as Esoko, Grameen MoTech and Project ABC are confronting the challenges of development from different angles. Another interesting area with great potential in this sphere is the role of ICTs, social media in particular, in citizen engagement.

Côte dʼIvoire-based Nnenna Nwakanma of Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) explores the question: "Social media and networks: what potential is there for policy engagement by citizens in West Africa?" Nnenna first gives a vivid account of the cultural diversity of the West African region and then gives key Internet statistics. She then goes on to cite instances of the usage of social media in discussing policy issues in Ghana, Nigeria and Côte dʼIvoire. From Nnenna's study we learn of different instances of social media in policy engagement:

Citizen-to-citizen engagement- During the Ivorian elections, individuals and news outlets used the #Wozonmai and #CIV2010 Twitter hashtags to disseminate information and advance different viewpoints with regards to developments. Another instance is the Enough is Enough (EiE) campaign run by a coalition of youth activists to ensure accountability during the Nigerian elections.

Government-to-citizen engagement- Ghana's Constitution Review Committee put together various channels such as Facebook, Twitter and SMS to collate views from individuals as part of the country's constitutional review process. The Ghana Police Service has equally deployed Twitter and YouTube as digital frontiers for their security and safety activities.

President Goodluck Jonathan says "let my people talk to me"
Perhaps, the leader who has used these tools most extensively is President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria. President Jonathan uses both Facebook and Twitter to engage ordinary Nigerians. The latest update on the president's Facebook page is as follows:
"Last Friday I launched a comprehensive database on all Vehicles in Nigeria designed to link every vehicle to its owner/operator such that vehicles can be traced within seconds. This is part of proactive steps we are taking as part of a review of our national security architecture to lay greater emphasis on intelligence and citizens' participation in security surveillance. Terrorism has no conscience and spares no one. We must stand together against terror in its destructive manifestations."
Based on a survey carried out as part of the research, it was found out, among other things that:
  • There is increasing use of Internet and social media among citizens in policy engagement discussions
  • Authorities are becoming increasingly aware of the use of these tools by citizens. Citizens are also of the know that the authorities are aware of their activities and may be monitoring them
  • Access to the Internet and social media is being seen more and more as a human right.
In light of the implication of social media in the recent political events in North Africa and the Middle East, and the London riots, the study provides interesting perspective to the situation on the ground in West Africa and future possibilities. You can freely download this study at website. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the role of social media in citizen engagement in the sub-region. What are the positive windfalls that could be gained? What are the pitfalls?

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

[Press Release]: Celebrating Software Freedom Day 2011 in Ghana!

The Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (AITI-KACE) in collaboration with the Linux User Group, Accra(LUGA) will again be hosting a special event on Saturday, September 17th under the theme “Open Source a viable option for achieving MDGs”. The venue for this year's celebrations is the AITI-KACE premises and the time is 9:00 – 16:00. This is the biggest international celebration and outreach event for Software Freedom globally involving 500 volunteer groups all around the world.

In an increasingly digital age, more and more of our everyday experiences depend upon software. Software influences how we interact with each other, enjoy different media, get paid, and even navigate our roads. Software underpins our very way of life, our basic freedoms such as freedom of association, freedom of thought, freedom of choice and much more, yet many people do not realize the importance and influence of software and other technologies on their lives. What is even much more important is that open source is proven to be a viable technology option capable to aid achieving the Millennium Development Goals(MDG's).

Software Freedom Day (SFD) is a worldwide celebration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Over 500 volunteer groups in over 120 countries all around the world are celebrating the sixth SFD this year on September 17. SFD is an annual grass roots effort to educate the public on the virtues of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) and also to encourage its use. The goal in this celebration is to educate the worldwide public about the benefits of using high quality FOSS in education, in government, at home, and in business - in short, everywhere!

The AITI-KACE and its partners have been celebrating Software Freedom Day for a number of years and with support from the general public and the IT Community. We would like those that have attended or are attending for the first time to bring a friend along. Come and see demonstrations of open source software to suit just about every usage that you might think of. Take home some ideas, and CDs/DVDs full of software that you can use straight away.

People in Ashanti Region of Ghana can also join the Ashanti Linux User Group to celebrate the day at the University of Education, Kumasi Campus, Tanoso.

AITI-KACE is located near Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), adjacent to the Council of State Building on 2nd Avenue, Ridge, Accra. Contacts : Fred Yeboah - Tel 0302 679542-4 or e-mail: fredericky(at)

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

YALDA Conference 2011: Help me to get there

Sometime late June, a friend on Facebook, knowing of my strong interest in Africa and development issues, pointed me to the YALDA International Facebook group. YALDA, an acronym for Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa, is an NGO that is aimed at training, connecting, motivating and mentoring the next generation of African leaders through university-based clubs and conferences. The YALDA network covers universities in every region of Africa, and even stretches to universities outside the continent, where there are sizeable African student communities. I got hooked by their model which seeks to marry the expertise and experience of the older generation with the creativity and zeal of the youth : Youth envision, professionals assist, Africa is transformed. Simple.

The YALDA 2011 Conference will be held at Gaborone, Botswana, from 18th 22nd August, under the theme "“Spotlight on Africa: Youth Owning the Continent’s Development Wave.” The menu is interesting and enriching, with content derived from community-building, entrepreneurship, technology, health and development. This resonates with my personal ethos and association with similar events in Ghana. Botswana is a great venue because it is an iconic African success story. Unlike most conferences I have been, YALDA conference spans four days, so there is enough time to deliberate on issues, discuss ideas, network and really get to know fellow delegates. I told myself "I have to be there."

So, I got in touch with the organisers about participating in their upcoming conference in Gaborone, Botswana. Just about two weeks ago, I received official confirmation. Botswana, here I come.

Not so quite. For the past two weeks my attempts at getting funds from corporate entities have not been successful. Should I give up?

No. With the encouragement of some friends and mentors I've set up a ChipIn account to crowdsource my fundraising in a collaborative fashion.

The results are encouraging so far. At the end of Day 1, I've raised $120, 12% of my estimated target. I'm calling on all my friends, acquaintances, project mates, admirers, readers and everyone to "Chip In" something to make my participation in the YALDA conference a success. If you don't use PayPal, get in touch with me via phone, email or leave a message in the comments section and I will follow up. I would also appreciate it if you share the link to my ChipIn page ( or this post in your social networks.

Support me to attend YALDA 2011 because this conference will be very crucial in shaping my leadership and social activism skills. The panels, presentations and networking at YALDA 2011 will create the platform to learn many useful things that will be infused into my activities back home, thus promoting development.

I want to use this opportunity to thank Worlali Senyo, Raquel Wilson, Kamon Ayeva, Kwame Andah, Edward Tagoe, Prisca Kekesi, Dzidodo Adjahoe, Gladys Coleman and Christopher Adika for all the financial and moral support they have given me in my journey to Gaborone so far.