Friday, 31 October 2014

Celebrating the Heroes of Youth Entrepreneurship at BarCamp Kumasi 2014 #bcksi

If you're around Kumasi this weekend, please join GhanaThink and its partners for the fifth BarCamp Kumasi at KNUST. Find more details and info on how to register on the poster below.

BarCamp Kumasi 2014 is the 38th barcamp to be held in Ghana #bcksi
Want to know more? Read this blog post by MIghTy African

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

BarCamp Ho and the Quest for Scientific and Entrepreneurial Thinking in Ghana #bcho

Mentoring session ongoing at BarCamp Ho 2014
Last Saturday, 25th October, I joined other change makers at the University of Health and Allied Sciences for the fourth BarCamp Ho. This was my first barcamp in over a year, so I was really excited to have been part of the event. Here are Storify highlights of what transpired. 

After an initial hesitation, I accepted to 'mentor' some attendees (many of them university or senior high school students) on "education and research", drawing on experiences in science education and postgraduate studies. Upon reflection, since many of the attendees asked the same questions, perhaps, a breakout session on the topic would have been more appropriate. Also, it would have been nice to pick everyone's brain on what can be done to improve the quality of research in Ghana, and to increase its role in policy making. This is very important since science provides tools to fix our day-to-day challenges. A more robust research regime in West Africa would see regional challenges such as ebola, small arms, and energy shortage, handled with greater efficiency than is currently done.

The above submission ties in well with the overall theme of this year's BarCamp Ho: "re-educating ourselves for the new entrepreneurial world", although not immediately apparent. Most of the day's discussions centred on creating business ventures and new instructional/coaching models to raise entrepreneurial champions. While these propositions are rightly in place, it is equally important to extend our conception of entrepreneurial thought to disrupting education and advancing scientific research. Innovation on these frontiers do not only require increased scientific knowledge but also technical aptitude to analyse society's problems and to design and implement solutions to tackle them. Clearly, there is an urgent need to liaise with government, businesses, and the larger society to adopt research as a critical tool for development. The achievement of this feat requires entrepreneurial acumen on a scale similar to what pertains in the business context. Our long-term challenge, therefore, is to create educational opportunities that would enhance the inculcation of critical skills among learners at various educational levels. In the short-term, government must invest more in science education and research. The current situation where less than 0.5% of GDP is allocated to science and technology in Ghana is not only shocking but shameful.
Re-educating ourselves for the new entrepreneurial world requires raising leaders in politics, business and communication, to create revenue-generating projects and to position our country in a favourable light in the global milieu. Just as important is the task to increase the quality of science education and the level of scientific thinking in the general population. We need to build the right environment for scientific research that would lead to inventions and innovations. Also, we need to encourage a maker culture through collaborations between our universities, research institutes and informal makers. I am sure someone said this at the barcamp: "what are we going to market when we do not produce much?"

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Discussing Entrepreneurial Education and Remembering Eli Aidam at BarCamp Ho 2014

I've not written any posts on this blog or elsewhere online in a while because I was busy with the dissertation phase of my masters degree. I learnt a lot over the past year, especially from working on my final project. I am thankful for successfully completing the course.    

BarCamp Ho 2014 is upon us; this is Volta region's fourth barcamp since the first event in 2011. Find details about this year's event in the flyer below. 

We're dedicating this year's barcamp to the memory of Eli Aidam, our colleague from GhanaThink who tragically passed on earlier this year. 

Eli Aidam: Youth leader- GhanaThink, CCY, etc [Credit: Elvis Bomassah]
Eli, Eric Nii Tackie Tawiah, Bless Nkegbe and myself held the initial meeting at the Ghana Tourist Board Office [Eric's workplace] in October 2011, to plan the first BarCamp Ho. Back then, I quietly admired Eli's pragmatism, resourcefulness, and extensive networking skills. Eli then moved on to become the 'engine' of the Ho barcamps in later years. He was  a true connector, and this came to bear in his work with Centre for Creative Youth, a youth-led initiative focused on nurturing the creative talent of the youth for social change. When Ghana Decides was looking for partners for youth engagement, and later social media training, towards the 2012 elections, Eli was instrumental in bringing CCY on board. We remember Eli for his dreams, hard work, and selflessness, But, perhaps more importantly, we would remember him for being our friend.

So join us at the University of Health and Allied Sciences this Saturday 25th October to map out creative ways of personal development to aid youth to function in an increasingly entrepreneurial world, while we remember a dear colleague who exemplified that philosophy.