Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Voter experience: #GhanaDecides 2016

Showing off my political manicure

Today's elections went on smoothly as expected.
I got to my polling station at 8:47am and voted at 10:12am.

I had misplaced voter ID card and therefore went to the polling station with my passport.
I initially didn't want to vote, but decided to test the system and see if I could really vote without my voter ID, especially as I didn't partake in the verification exercise.

My polling station in the Brong Ahafo region -- Mmredane -- was really organised.
This year, there were two queues. One for those whose names fell within the A-G alphabets, and the other H-Z.
This allowed for the smooth election process that took place.

An observation though is that voters sometimes got confused as to the correct queue they had to join. Most thought the queues used first names, others thought their surnames had to be used.
We however discovered that the EC officers were using the very first name on the voter ID card and not first names or surnames.
I was disappointed because we registered by filling a form that explicitly asked for surnames and first, and middle names. I therefore expected the cards to be printed with the same template. Anyways...

I left the polling station immediately after voting as I wasn't playing any social media reporting role as I did for GhanaDecides in the 2012 elections.

I have been glued to my TV set since.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Press Release: Information Skills - Competence in Research

 The Goethe Institut in Ghana is organising a 3-day information Skills workshop from August 23 - 25, 2016. It takes place at the Institut from 9am to 6pm daily.
This is a free workshop targeting individuals that deal with research on a daily basis: university tutors, writers, librarians, journalists, bloggers, among others.

Rouven Rech, a German documentary film maker, is the main facilitator for the workshop. The head of Library & Information Centre at the institute, Gudrun Widlok, is the coordinator.
Rouven will be teaching participants where and how to obtain information, evaluate and analyse it, and how best to use it. His unique skills as a documentary filmmaker would be greatly brought to bare.

This is the first part of a series of workshops the Institut is organising this year. The other workshops would be facilitated by the German journalist Nataly Bleuel, and the Wikipedia Group Ghana, respectively.

A participant of last year's workshop shared his experience here

For participation, please send a brief letter of motivation and an overview of your field of work to: info[at]accra.goethe.org

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Slangish


In the January issue of The Rotarian magazine, author Frank Bures shared his insight into the growing distance between words and their meanings.
I shared my opinion on his article, which got published in this month's edition of the magazine (with the same title as this blog post). Read on:

Frank Bures' article on "Frankenwords" {January) and how they're affecting our culture resonated with me. 

It brought to mind another aspect of word creation that is taking Social media (specifically instant messaging) to a whole new level -- the creation of shorthand.

As a social media enthusiast, I find myself in a number of online groups where issues of interest are discussed on a daily basis. The WhatsApp platform is one where I'm in almost 20 groups.
I come across a lot of shorthand that either annoys me or does not make sense at all. Because of this, I often have to seek clarification before getting the importance of the message. 
Nowadays,  apparently, it's normal to see "girls" spelled "gels", "boys" spelled "bois",  "you" is "yu" (which conventionally, should at least be "u"), "all right" is now "ayt", and some other crazy and confusing ones like "naa" for "no" (note that Naa is a name for a Ga girl in Ghana).
Most of these are created on the spur of the moment by the individual sending the  message.
This irks me a lot, especially when letters of the new shorthand are equal to or even longer than those in the actual word.

In the case of the shorthand, not only is meaning distorted, it actually has a negative effect on the writing skill of its creators and users. As an educator, I've come across some of these while grading students' papers, and it really gets me down. It's a personal assignment I've given myself now, to prompt people to use full words when chatting and occasionally use conventional shorthand.

I will like to hear your thoughts on this phenomenon as well, via the comments section. Thanks

Monday, February 1, 2016

TOURISM: Duasidan Monkey Sanctuary

Trying out a selfie. Didn't work out well. :-)
Duasidan is a community in the Dormaa District of the Brong Ahafo Region in Ghana. It is approximately 10Km along the western end of the Dormaa-Gonokrom Road. Do keep an eye out for the Customs check point. The road to the community is immediately after it (on the left).
The sanctuary, which is a small forest preserved as an ancestral grove, has three species of monkeys:
  • Campell’s monkey (Kwakuo in Akan)
  • Spot-nosed monkey (Ahenhema in Akan) and
  • Olive Colobus monkey (Asibe in Akan)

The monkeys were discovered by the ancestors of the community, over a century ago. They are considered sacred and therefore are not to be harmed, or killed by anybody. To paraphrase the words of a guide at the sanctuary, “If you plan to kill, or harm any of the monkeys, you won’t live to execute that plan.”
Female Campell feeding her young
I've got my eyes on you, tourists!

The community has a number of objectives which personally I think would go a long way to develop the community, while placing the sanctuary (launched in 2007) at par with its sister sanctuary at Buabeng-Fiema. These include:
  • Building a guest house to accommodate and entertain tourists
  • Seek financial help from NGOs and the District Assembly
  • Solicit technical assistance from the Wildlife Division and Government.