Showing posts with label #BloGh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #BloGh. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How my mum sustains Customer Experience (CX)?

Snapshot of my mum's charcoal table
For as long as I can remember, my mother's charcoal business has helped in seeing my siblings and me, through school. It's a family business we are proud of. I have wondered how she's sustained her customers over the years. Here are some strategies she's applied to retain and grow her customer base, while ensuring they are satisfied with the product and her services:

Make sure the product is always available
One evening, I sold the last charcoal on the table, and wondered when my mum would be able to travel to Mamfe or any of the charcoal-producing towns in Ghana to buy more sacks. The following day, she went to the Tema Kwasiadjoaso and returned with five sacks of charcoal. She had actually gone for it so she sells it for the market lady. I was disappointed and didn't understand why she did that, more so when I realised she didn't make any profit on them. She noticed my displeasure and explained that the move was meant to retain her customers. Imagine what will happen when they come to buy charcoal and she has none -- she'll lose them to her competition. She jokingly asked, "If I lose them, and I am finally able to travel and buy my own stock, would I go round door-to-door or with a gong and ask my customers to come buy charcoal from me?"

Respect and Cherish your customers
Every morning, I observed my mother interact with customers while she packs the charcoal on her table. A couple of these customers were very punctual as they came to our home earlier than my mother began her work. I observed how they shared family issues and the interest my mother took in their lives, sharing in their joys and sorrows. The relationships grew from business to personal ones. This was good for business as referrals came in. On our part as her children and 'employees', we were made to understand what a smile can do to enhance the customer experience. We learnt to be fair but firm with the customers as some took our business for granted and may buy on credit and never pay. There were times some customers came to buy the charcoal in very bad moods. Our calm and respectful nature was the remedy.

Give value
Some customers usually came to buy the charcoal with nothing to carry them in. I realised my mum started keeping the polythene bags she got from vendors at the market whenever she buys groceries for our home. These polythene bags were used to serve her customers. She made sure nothing got wasted. There were roasted plantain sellers who loved the smaller sized charcoal, and there were chop bar operators who loved the bigger one. For some of the customers who liked to buy a sack from time to time, my mother showed them how to tell good charcoal from bad ones (even when they were in a sack).

Request for and act on feedback
My mum encourages feedback from her customers with respect to the charcoal they've bought or how her 'employees' relate to them. This informed her decisions on changing a particular supplier, or scolding us for being disrespectful and unprofessional.

I decided to share this, as I reflect on how some organisations pride themselves with qualifications of their staff, but fail to perform such little acts to enhance the customer experience they so desire to achieve.

Book sense no be sense o.





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.

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.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

What is my GROW Model?

Credit: Coaching Journey

Yesterday, Barcamp CapeCoast had a discussion on the theme, “Equipping the Youth to plan their Future Today”.
It was a successful, insightful programme – as ALL Barcamps in Ghana are.
The main speaker at the event, adviced barcampers to find out who they are, and what they want to be while in school. I suggested further, that attendees do a stakeholder mapping, by asking family and friends to tell them the qualities they see in attendees. This will help attendees understand how they are wired, thus pursing stuff they are passionate about.


In this post I share how we can apply the GROW model to achieving our visions/plans.

So, let’s say I want to be a Data Scientist, what do I do?

Goal - How SMART is my goal? How would I know I’ve succeeded in achieving my goal?
I want to be a Data Scientist by December, 2015. I would know I’ve succeeded when I’m able to perform data analysis, and create visualisations that contribute to development (in health, education, and other sectors of interest).
Also, being useful to organisations, either as a freelance data scientist, or in-house data analyst will indicate my achievement of my goal.

RealityWhat is currently happening in my life (work/school/home)? Have I already taken any step towards my goal? Does this conflict any other goal that I have?
My job gives me enough time to pursue this goal if I want to. As a student, you’d have enough time too. This goal fits perfectly into my career development plans, so no conflicts there. I’ve got basic statistics, mathematics, and programming skills. Currently, there are a number of books and online courses I could use to help me achieve my goal. However, I’m not doing that because I spend a LOT of time on social media, instant messaging, and watching TV Series. I am yet to take any step to achieve my goal.

Options - What else can I do, differently? Any constraints with this option(s)?
Based on my current reality, I can reduce the time I spend watching TV Series and movies. I will take online Data Science courses available on Udacity, edx, and Coursera, while reading books and blogs on the subject.
I will find datasets, or create my own, and use them in personal projects, thus creating a portfolio.
I will also join Data Science groups, forums online, and contribute to them.
A constraint would be the availability of reliable internet connectivity, and constantly motivating myself when progress is slow.

WillWhat do I need to do now, and when? How can I keep myself motivated? When do I review my progress?
I look forward to dedicating 4-6 hours a week, to study Data Science (including the R and Python programming languages). While studying, I will also use the Pomodoro Technique to help me be focused on my studies.(This app switches off internet data while you use it).
I will do well to contribute to Data Science groups I will join, frequently. I will review my success weekly. I am sure my plan of action will yield 90-100% success rate.

It is my hope this helps someone out there as it has helped me – and still does.

Do share your thoughts via the comment section. Thanks

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Why my (2) barbers cannot charge me equally

Credit: Pinterest

Some days ago, I overhead a conversation where a rep of an institution had tried to justify why his outfit was charging its customers a certain amount for services rendered.
He compared his institution to another that delivered far better services than his.

His mistake.

You see, I've got two barbers who are good at their jobs. They both deliver the same services, but the quality of their service delivery, differ.
The first one has an air-conditioned salon, nice sitting area, with newspapers and magazines, and a fully stocked fridge of customers' favourite drinks.
He uses smaller clippers, rather than razor blades in trimming the edges of customers' hairs. Instead of the 'usual alcohol' used by the second barber after a shave, he uses Nivea's after shave. He disposes off the heated towels used on cleaning clients' head before applying hair cream to it. He's got a back up electricity power system that ensures customers are attended to, even when dumsɔ hits.

My second barber doesn't have these investments to enhance his service delivery. He therefore cannot charge the same rate as my first barber.

In service delivery, we are sometimes tempted to charge rates based on what our competitors charge, without doing.a proper homework on improving our services to match the rates we are charging.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

GhanaThink Foundation's #JCIP is a career booster

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Meet the 10 enterprising SHS interns of the JCIP

The first ever paid internship for Senior High School students in Ghana, being run by the Junior Camp Ghana initiative of the GhanaThink Foundation has passed its first month. Another month awaits. Here are the first 10 interns of the JCIP, sharing their reasons for applying to the programme:

Felix Dewornu, Lamudi Ghana
(Alumnus, St. Augustine's College)
"I see the JCIP as a networking platform to create relationships that would go a long way to help me identify my innate skills, and map them to my future career goals.I see myself in the military, with a degree in Pharmacy. I hope to further my education while in the military, and enter the corporate world as an entrepreneur. My hobbies are reading,watching movies,playing video games,playing and watching soccer. My favorite position is right full back(2) and my favorite team is Chelsea fc, my favorite Chelsea player is Willian Borges da Silva."
Benjamin Kornu, Hatua Solutions
(Alumnus, St. Mary's Seminary High School)
"The JCIP I believe would help me gain skills, and experience needed to achieve my dreams. I trust the programme will help me get an ideal idea about my career goals. I want to become an IT Engineer in future, with a great interest in humanitarian development. I enjoy playing soccer,watching movies, playing the comic relief, and using the computer."
Georgina Damilie, Agripro
(Alumna, Accra Girls' High School)
"I relish the immense networking opportunity the JCIP promises to provide me. I hope to learn of relevant skills and trends that would inform my career decisions. I’ve developed a curiosity for journalism and communications related careers, and hope to pursue a degree in broadcast journalism and marketing communications."
Felix Gborglah, Impact Hub Accra
(Alumnus, Pacesetters Senior High School)
"I see the JCIP as a platform to ‘test drive’ possible jobs based on my interests. The possibility of gaining new insights that can’t be got from the classroom is an attraction of mine to the programme. I aspire to become a medical doctor, to help fight diseases and find permanent solutions to some tropical ones."
Cedric Nudanu, Jovago Ghana
(Alumnus, St. Martin's Senior High School)
"I applied to participate in the Junior Camp Internship Programme because of the experience and exposure I believe I’d gain. I also see it as a launch pad into my tertiary education and career. I want to become a lawyer in future, to help promote justice in my community. I have interests in Archaeology and Heritage Studies."
Maame Yaa Serwaa Bona-Mensa, iSpace
(Alumna, Archbishop Porter's Girls Senior High School)
"I am optimistic the JCIP would help me focus my interests better to achieving my career goals. I believe it will improve my networking skills as well, while making me discover my strengths and weaknesses. My career interests are diverse: Engineering, Music and Arts, and Film-making! My hobbies are; listening to music, writing my journal and poems, acting in my mirror, taking pictures, reading interesting books, watching interesting movies, funny videos and music videos."
Ishmael Adjei, Oilseed Investments
(Alumnus, Osu Presbyterian Senior High School)
"I believe the JCIP would set me apart from other candidates as I progress in life. Networking with my fellow participants and other stakeholders is also an attraction for me applying to the programme. I aspire to be an investigative journalist in future, and harbour a passionate interest for graphic design, which I wish to use to enhance communication of information to the public. I enjoy advocating on radio and on social media too as well, aside that, I also like designing and writing poems in relation to issues affecting young people and the world at large. I envision a world where, children enjoy their rights and other policies also work."
Thomas Agoe Armah, Agripro
(Alumnus, Nungua Senior High School)
"I applied to the JCIP to experience the work environment and also gain a great insight into my chosen field. I look forward to honing my skills and meeting other individuals from different backgrounds. I hope to attain the highest academic laurel I can, and work in the medical or agricultural fields."
Thelma Agbakpe, Impact Hub Accra
(Alumna, Keta Senior High & Technical School)
"I see Ghana as a country where there’s more talk, and less action. I applied to the JCIP as I believe it would help me perfect my potentials which would be geared towards making a positive impact in my community. I am looking forward to studying English at the university and see myself as a public speaker, author, and lawyer."
Sheilla Gyamfi Lamudi Ghana
(Alumna, Swedru Senior High School)
"I see the JCIP as a platform, to enable young people develop their skills and talents while waiting to further their education. I look forward to networking with other individuals and putting into practice what I learnt in the classroom. I want to study Business Administration, and build a career in Organizational Planning and Management."

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sobolo chemistry, and flour dough physics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Students and teachers will celebrate the achievements of Lab_13 Ghana, a pilot project which has been running in the Bosomtwe District since March, on Saturday 1 August.

Lab_13, a space dedicated to practical experimentation and hands on learning, is aiming to change the way science is taught in schools, starting with the Bosomtwe District.
Pushing books aside, instead of pictures of circuits, students of Lab_13 Ghana have wired up standing fans, handkerchief driers, and moving boats. Instead of reading about how aeroplanes can fly, students have explored principles of aerodynamics with paper aeroplanes, ping pong balls and straws.

The closing ceremony will be held at the lab's host school, Agape Academy, Jachie, Bosomtwe District, and will take place between 9am and 3pm. The programme wil be run by the Lab_13 Ghana Student Management Comittee, 7 students from JHS1 and JHS2 who oversee the running of the lab space.
The ceremony will showcase some of the activities LAb_13 Ghana have carried out over the last four months and will include speeches from the Students Management Committee, science demonstrations, and cultural displays. Work from the Lab_13 students will be exhibited, including boats from the Lab_13 Titanic 2015 inter-schools boat making competition, and inventions and creations from the Lab_13 Saturday Science Club.

The Lab, which has been been working closely with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has provided hands-on learning opportunities to over 800 students from 30 different schools overt the last four months.

Saviour Okine, alumnus of KNUST, and Scientist in Residence of Lab_13 Ghana, is one of the facilitators making the lab a success.
The ability to solve problems through practical scientific approaches is a prerequisite in the development of generational leaders. Lab_13 Ghana gives students the opportunity to question and to experiment, it provides a space where they can harness the skills they, and Ghana, need for success, growth and positive change.
Teachers in the Bosomtwe district have been extremely positive about the lab.
Obed Adjei, Science Master at the Future Academy, Adagya said, "There has been a tremdous impact on my students from the Lab_13 Ghana project. Not only has Lab_13 helped encourage as an interest in science but it has also improved the confidence levels, communication skills and practical abilities of my students."

The end of term celebration will mark the end of phase 1 of the project. Phase 1 was supported through an online crowd-sourcing campaign run by UK Science charities, Lightyear Foundation, and Ignite Futures.

Moving forward the project is looking for support through local sponsorship. Phase 2 of the project sees the Lab expands to ore districts through the support of an Advisory Board made up of Ghanaian experts in education, science and industry.

Gameli Adzaho, member of the Ghanaian Advisory Board for the project said, "As a science educator, I recognise the potential of the Lab_Ghana model in transforming the cognitive and problem-solving skills of the pupils under training.
Having interacted extensively with Lab_13 Ghana junior scientists and SiRs, I have no doubt the project is igniting dreams and shining the spotlight on the brilliance of the pupils and the difference they can make to Bosomtwe and beyond.
we want to take this further afield, maybe one day to the other parts of Ghana. What we need now are funds and other logistics to bring our aspirations to life. Too many times good ideas in Ghana wither away due to lack of support.
The Ghanaian Advisory Board is committed to partnering with interested individuals and organisations to ensure that the project thrives and continues making the amazing impact already in motion."

ENDS

For further information, please contact the Lab_13 Ghana:
Lab_13Ghana(at)lightyearfoundation(dot)org

Monday, July 6, 2015

A bit of me revealed?

Last night, my friends (university classmates) on WhatsApp put me on the group's 'Hot Seat'.
This is a practice we began last week to get to know ourselves better and also get answers to some questions we've long wanted to ask one another.
Here's a record of how mine went. I understand it's the first round of questions for me. (oops!)

Monday, May 11, 2015

What Yahoo! can learn from a kelewele seller

Yahoo! says Flicker isn't available in Ghana
 Naa Merley is one of the earliest Kelewele sellers in her neighbourhood.
She enjoyed a greater share of the market until other Kelewele sellers began operations in the same neighbourhood. Naa wasn't disturbed because she still had customers loyal to her 'brand'.

Then reality hit.

Customers were patronising other vendors who had both kelewele and groundnuts for sale. They no longer bought Naa's kelewele, as it meant they had to go to another place to get the groundnuts.

The above scenario is what Yahoo! is facing. As a Yahoo! Mail user in Ghana, I am able to download and use the mobile app, but then I'm surprised I can't download and use the Flickr app -- Yahoo! says it's unavailable in Ghana.

I. Don't. Get. It.

If I can use the web versions of both services in Ghana, why can't I equally use the mobile apps?
Yahoo! Mail App is ready to be installed.


Customer retention is based on value being got out of using a product. If Yahoo! is really looking at gaining popularity and usage for its photo-sharing app Flickr, it has to make it available in countries -- like Ghana -- where photo marketing; local content creation using pictures is gaining ground.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Live blogging of #BlogCamp15: Social media for good

Projected banner for #BlogCamp15

The 4th Blogacamp to be held in Ghana takes place outside Accra -- for the first time.
The venue is the College of Science auditorium at the KNUST.

The event began this morning with a photowalk by social media enthusiasts in three areas of Kumasi: Suame, Adum, and Asafo.
A link to the pictures will be updated soon.
For updates, checkout #BlogCamp15 on Twitter.

A panel discussion on Social media for good is ongoing. Three panelists from PZ Cussons, Blogging Ghana,and the creative art industry are sharing how they use social media in their work, for the good of all.
PZ Cussons applies Social media in it CSR

  • Cussing Baby Ghana
  • Recipes of Life Ghana
  • Cared Ghana
These have widened the reach of the company in interacting with its customers.

Blogging Ghana has helped in the application of social media in politics. Remember GhanaDecides in 2012?
This project helped educate the electorate on their rights and responsibilities. It also helped to push 'responsible' citizen journalism.
Another project of theirs is InformGhana.

The third speaker uses plastic for furniture and other cool stuff. He uses social media to learn new stuff, market himself and his projects, and networking. He believes social media  is a great resource.

Do we feel social media has made us 'non serious'?
A participant thinks it really hasn't as it helps relieve some stress.
Another doesn't think it's either here or there. So long as we are discussing issues of relevance.
How has social media helped in solving unemployment?
Yes it has. A number of people are now creating and managing content for organisations. This is even increasing the ROI of such companies.
A panelist believes Googling is also a way of getting information and ideas on how to implement ideas an individual may have. He uses his story of getting a name for his project as an example.
Crowdsourcing.

For bloggers looking at getting a piece of the digital marketing growth in Ghana, they are advised to position themselves very well by creating a niche for themselves as 'experts' in a particular field Hatfield relevance to an organisation's marketing goals.
Nehemiah thinks children should not be left out of the social media crusade. "If they can be guided to learn how to code, they equally can be guided to use social media."

Messages from sponsors:
Jeanne from the U.S. Embassy is glad to be a part of this event, especially with the female presence. She believes that the creation of local, relevant content is imperative.
On the YALI fellowships, she mentions that the number will be increased for next year.

#####Breakout sessions #####
So topics for the sessions are:

  1. Blogging 101
How does one at start a blog in 5 steps?
  • Think about what you want to say
  • Name your blog
  • Sign up with a blogging platform
  • Create content regularly
  • Share your work with the world

2. Can Social Media cause change
I am participating in the second session.
Edward asks whether it is enough to talk about issues on Social media, and whether this is enough to cause change. Is it enough to create awareness?

Always think it's not just creating awareness, but how touching -- how affective --how substantive is your message?
A participant believes that the awareness of a campaign lies on two things, logic and emotions. This awareness also needs to be targeted at a particular group/audience.
The more voices we have speaking on an issue, the higher probability there is for change to occur. Some participants believe that, but Eddie thinks otherwise. He thinks more voices joined the #BringBackOurGirls chants, but little efforts were made in rescuing them. Do you agree?

Do you feel that social media is to account for the public figure who 'branded' 30+ year old Ghanaian spinster as prostitutes?

Some campaigns that have influenced participants, on Social media:

  • Ebola
  • Nepal's earthquake
  • #NoChobo
Currently, we have the gangs of the photowalk competition presenting their pictures. The story of the #suamegang is a compelling one.
Children playing in dangerous environment, and accidents/injuries occurring.
The #Asafogang's theme is Resistance. A historical perspective of the Asafo market area is the basis of their presentation.
The #Adumgang showcase a clean central business district.

The Winner will be chosen soon.
And the winners are:
Suame Gang
Asafo Gang
Adum Gang
My team and I are leaving for Sunyani soon.
I hope this live blogging of today's event has been fun.

Did I mention that the transportation of the Sunyani team was sponsored by Blogging Ghana?





Friday, April 10, 2015

Final day of Information Skills Workshop: Internet Research

Rouven & Gudrun, with some participants
To get a complete sense of the need to get information from all angles necessary for a research, Rouven took participants through Internet research today.

Google -- for most researchers -- has become the go-to place. However the engine doesn't have all the answers to questions a researcher has.
Participants were also advised to turn off instant results occasionally so as to get exactly what they were looking for.
This guide shows how one can apply some operators in their queries on Google Search to help them get better results. Additionally, one can also take this self-paced Google Search online course. I highly recommend it. ;-)

Here are some links one can use to augment the information Google has to offer:


The 'perception' that an information found on the Internet must be correct needs to be watched. To test participants, Rouven gave a number of tasks on verifying information found online.
This. Was. Interesting.

Two resources one can consult to check domain ownership are WHOis.net and IANA WHOis Service.
Also read this blog post on how to verify a tweet.

This workshop has been fun, educative, and inspirational. It's my hope that my colleagues at the workshop -- and myself -- will go on to enrich our research careers, by applying all that we learnt.
As for you my fellow reader, I'm sure these posts of mine equip you as well to enrich your research approaches as well.
Thanks.

Related stories:

Day 2 of Information Skills Workshop: Field research

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day 2 of Information Skills Workshop: Field research

Screenshot of the online survey for my research
Today began with participants of the Information Skills for Research workshop, at the Goethe Institute, undertaking their research (on the field): interviewing respondents, creating/designing questionnaires and online surveys, observing respondents, et cetera.

In the afternoon, participants gathered to discuss their research plan, detailing steps they took in gathering data, insights got from the field research, and the results got from the research.
From the discussions, participants understood some perks of research, while identifying mistakes they made, and how to rectify them next time.

Personally, the field research showed a courage I hadn't tapped -- to go out and interview people, getting to understand them by listening actively, and gaining insights that went to improve my research (because I kept an open mind).

My research was on the user experience (UX) in using ATMs in Ghana. I wanted to understand how users felt about the services their banks' ATMs provided, and whether users expected more services.
I also wanted to understand the sense of security users had in using the ATMs and whether they felt safe while making transactions. 
Moreso, I was bent on learning the ease of use of these ATMs by users.
This research interest has been on my mind for close to a year, but it became more pressing when I helped a Professor of mine to withdraw money from an Ecobank ATM, and was frustrated when the interface didn't show 'Current' as part of the accounts one can withdraw from. It rather had Checking, Savings, and Credit Card. This made me ask if the bank -- and indeed all banks in Ghana, had a manual they gave to first-time ATM users.

An insight I got also from my research while interviewing a staff at the Fidelity bank was the fact that users who didn't bank with the bank could withdraw money using the banks ATM! This is a cardless transaction that makes use of SMS. It's a form of mobile banking.

A detailed report of my research will be shared shortly. I need more inputs, so kindly take this survey if you've not. It will be greatly appreciated.

Related stories:

Who needs a card to use an ATM?




Who needs a card to use an ATM?

SMS sent to initiator with 2nd part of 8-digit code
Do you really need to have an ATM card before using the machine to withdraw cash?
Is it possible to give a user a mobile money 'feel' that is enabled by an ATM machine?
I was intrigued this morning when I learned of Fidelity Bank's cardless ATM transaction. It's a transaction that enables an individual to transfer money from his or her Fidelity account, so that a non Fidelity Bank customer (recipient) can withdraw the money, using the bank's ATM!
How it works?
The initiator sends a short code to their telco (for now, this works for MTN and Vodafone subscribers). This connects them to their account(s). After choosing the account, they enter the phone number of the recipient, then specifies the amount to be transferred.
A SMS is sent to the recipient with the first part of an 8-digit code, needed for the withdrawal. The 2nd part of the code is sent to the initiator.
This is a security measure. The recipient therefore has to contact the initiator for the second part of the code.
Recipient at the ATM
The welcome screen has an option 'Cardless transaction', that the recipient chooses.
He/She then enters their phone number, followed by the 8-digit code, then the amount that was transferred.
The recipient has to withdraw ALL the amount that has been transferred.
Then viola!
Mobile banking has come to stay, and technologies/innovations such as this are welcome interventions.

I stumbled on this info while researching on ATM usage in Ghana. It was an assignment for the workshop I'm attending.

Related stories:

How do you tell stories through research?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How do you tell stories through research?

Some answers got from the task given before the workshop began
The Goethe Institut in Ghana began a 3-day information Skills workshop today.
This is a free workshop targeting individuals that deal with research on a daily basis: .
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.

To get a sense of research methods being used by participants, they were given a fact-finding task prior to the start of the workshop. These were:
  1. Ask the next seller how much 1 mango or 3 bananas will cost, and find out how the seller calculates the price.
  2. How much is a regular lunch in your area?
  3. How much does your neighbour(s) spend on electricity monthly?

This really set the tone for the workshop as participants discovered 'truths' about research they have been overlooking.

News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising. - Lord Northcliffe

Being a film maker with a journalism background, Rouven showed a movie, Adopted, that he'd produced with Gudrun. It showed how Ghanaians were opened to adopt lonely Europeans.
Yes, it's real.

Rouven advised participants to be courageous in their research endeavours, while taking note of the fact that research isn't easy. Based on responses to the task given prior to the workshop, Rouven emphasised the need for active listening, and open-mindedness to be important skills for any researcher to have.
An activity that users also undertook was to read the same story in different sources (mostly newspapers), to put to test, their understanding of the 5 Ws and 1 H of research.
He further went on to explain the different kinds of research available, the various impulses/triggers that informs a researcher's facts, and a checklist to consult when on a fact-finding mission.

The day ended with participants choosing topics of interest to them, and tasked to go on fact-finding missions, culminating in research proposals, and recommendations.
The results of their research would be presented and discussed tomorrow.

Did you get the impression I am a participant at this workshop?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Ghana's SHS graduates to get paid internships

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

From June to August 2015, Junior Camp Ghana is rolling out a Ten-Week Internship Programme for Senior High School leavers. This programme is meant to expose them to the world of work. The Internship Programme will focus on grooming 10 participants in their various fields of interest, as they undergo 8-week internships at companies in Ghana. These will include Agriculture, Technology, Art, among others.

The Junior Camp Internship Programme (JCIP) will boost their confidence and capacity to improve their employability.  
“Experience is the best teacher, which is why internships are so valuable for career development,” Thelma Boamah, the JCIP project lead said. “JCIP participants will be supported to gain a better understanding of their career interests and, through practical experience, develop the soft skills employers want to see.”
Final year students in Senior High Schools in Ghana should apply via Bit.ly/JCIPAppForm before 1st May, 2015.

Junior Camp Ghana is a career guidance and mentorship programme run by the GhanaThink Foundation. This foundation believes in investing in the potentials of young Ghanaians, especially at the Junior High School and Senior High School level. They believe this will help heighten their interest and participation in ensuring the progress of the country. The main message in the Junior Camps is to encourage students to build skills. JCIP will give 10 driven high school graduates the opportunity to experience work and implement learnings as they continue to build skills.

Last year, over 3,000 students benefitted from the career guidance and counselling sessions on their campuses with mentors from various industries. This is an extension of the overall vision of the GhanaThink Foundation which has the slogan; “Less Talk, More Action”. JCIP is an effort to put more action to all the talks where students learnt about building skills in the previous year. The internship programme will offer successful applicants a unique opportunity to gain vital work experience and industry exposure.

Stay updated on this internship program and Junior Camp Ghana via our Twitter, Facebook and Google+ channels.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Course-prep: A blended learning platform

JHS1 Students of Glory Kindercare Complex exploring the platform
Last Monday, I was privileged to introduce a blended learning platform -- Course-prep -- to first year students of the Glory Kindercare Learning Complex JHS, in Sunyani.

"Blended learning is the integration of online technology/learning, with the traditional face-to-face class activities, in a planned, pedagogical, valuable manner". - Online Learning Consortium

Features of Course-prep
Randomised Questions and Answers: Questions and answers (MCQs) are randomly displayed to prevent cheating during in-class quizzes.
Multimedia Course Material Supplement: Supplementary course materials such as videos, audios and other e-learning files can be uploaded to augment face-to-face teaching.
Students' Performance Statistics: Review of quiz results by individual students, showing them how they compare to the overall average. 
Available Online, and on-premise: Course-prep can be deployed online for assignments, or deployed locally on a school's LAN for in-class assignments. 

If you'd like to try the free version of Course-prep, kindly submit your request here.
You can also contact via e-mail for inquiry and support.

Screenshot of a Revision quiz question

A student reviews his performance after a practice quiz

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Chale, where (did) my credit go?

Mobile Data under Phone's Settings


Mobile internet bundles have contributed to the low patronage of Internet Cafes in Ghana. The other 'culprit' in this regard are the modems from the telecommunication networks.
Inasmuch as these mobile bundle services have increased the convenience of users, a number of grievances still abound.
A trivial one has to be with 'stolen' credit when users buy credit vouchers and find out they can't bundle data because 'they don't have enough credit units'.

Really?

Take my friend Kofi, who bought a GHS20 worth of  Vodafone airtime the other day. He loads it onto his phone, and enters the short code to begin the bundle process. All goes accordingly until the final step, where he chooses the bundle that he wants (1.6GB), and is told he has insufficient credit.
Surprised, he checks his balance and realises it's GHS1.99456! He starts cussing.
Chale, where my credit go?

I'm sure we've experienced this before. I know I have.

I approach Kofi and ask him if his mobile data is on. With confusion drawn on his face, I take his phone from him and show him the mobile data in his phone's settings page. In other phones, this is simply known as Background data.

His mobile data was on, so I had to explain to him how leaving the data on before recharging airtime isn't a good idea. You see, once your mobile data is on, it allows apps on your mobile phone to access the Internet in the background. This uses your airtime.

Kofi was grateful for this hack that I showed him.




Thursday, October 23, 2014

Choosing referees, and supervisors


Making a choice of who to contact to act a referee and give you a recommendation (for a job, or to further one's education), can be a headache sometimes.
I've had this problem before, and currently see a number of my friends and students going through the same dilemma.
Who qualifies as referee/reference? A person who can be asked for information about another person's character, abilities, et cetera. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
I've learnt that, it is not as clear-cut a choice, as it seems to be.
Here are some tips:

  • Consider the job, or course you intend to read. This makes it easier to choose a referee who has considerable experience in that particular industry (i.e. for the job application), or field of study (i.e. for the intended course of study).
  • For job applications, an former boss is ideal, as they can really give the needed information on a your abilities and attitude.
    If it's for an entry position, and you do not have any work experience, relations and acquaintances can make the recommendation.
    If the requirement for such an entry position is a university degree, then the you would have to fall on former lecturers to recommend you. This can be a lecturer who taught you a relevant course, the intended course of study or job expects you to have knowledge of. It can also be your final year project supervisor, or a supervisor for any project you undertook as a student.

This brings me to the issue of 'choosing' a supervisor.
Most institutions in Ghana, choose supervisors for students. Sometimes students (i.e. Postgrads) get to choose their supervisors.
I've had a number of encounters with students who had wished to have a particular individual as their supervisor, and as such were disappointed with the choice their institutions had made for them.
As a student, choose a supervisor who has a keen interest in your research/ project. This can be a published researcher/expert in your research domain. The advantage is that they can guide you to make the best out of your research, by making worthwhile contributions.
Choosing someone you are 'comfortable' with does not always help you as a researcher, or with your finished project. There have been instances where projects are assigned to supervisors who are not interested in them and so just 'manage' their given roles till the end of the project. Others also do not have a clue what the research/project is all about, and the student is left to fend for himself/herself, like a lost sheep with no shepherd.
Other times, the case is reverse, where you have a student choose a project or research area they are not interested in, and expect their supervisor to do all the work.
That. Won't. Happen.
For now, these come to mind. If you have any other comments, please don't hesitate to share them via the comment section. Thanks.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Preliminary study: Social Commerce growth in Ghana

Photo: Social Media Today
The growth of social media in Ghana has grown in the last couple of years. However, it is not clear how the phenomenon has influenced buying and selling online. What online vendors use their social media accounts for is not clear. The features required of an e-commerce website that would attract and retain the Ghanaian online shopper are also not well documented.
I therefore conducted an empirical study to investigate the influence of social media on the growth of e-commerce in Ghana. 

Some questions I considered were:
  1. To what extent are online shoppers aware of e-commerce vendors in Ghana?
  2. What features of an e-commerce website attract and retain an online shopper?
  3. How long have Ghanaians been shopping online?
  4. How long have Ghanaian e-commerce vendors been selling online?
  5. What types of e-payment solution s are being used by vendors in Ghana?
  6. What e-payment challenges are faced by both vendors and shoppers?
  7. Has social media had an impact on the sales revenue of online vendors?
Deductions from the results show that a great number of Ghanaians are active on social networks, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, YouTube, Vine, just to name a few. Most of the respondents accessed their social network accounts via their computers. However, a growing number of them are doing so via their mobile phones (and hand held devices like tablets/phablets), which supports the assertion that mobile phone revolutions are on the increase in Africa (Jidenma, 2014) – and that Africa is a mobile only continent (Shapshak, 2012). This also indicates a great potential for the growth of mobile commerce (m-commerce).

Most online vendors use their social network accounts for advertisement (sales promotion). This supports the assertion that online advertisements would overtake traditional print media such as catalogues and magazines (Takahashi, 2011).  They also use it for raffles and competitions, where customers are rewarded for their loyalty. It was also observed from the study that little (or no) trend analysis is being done by online vendors. This doesn’t really look good as it would be difficult for such vendors to understand their customers and thus satisfy their needs fully. A small percentage (50%) of vendors also use their social media outlets for lead generation (i.e. mostly start-ups).

The study also found that electronic payments are a challenge to both Ghanaian shoppers and vendors online. The blacklisting of the country by PayPal is a worry, as there is no ‘formalised’ platform electronic payments can be made on. Newer platform such as mPowerPayments, Everzero, Ozinbo Pay, are yet to get the needed patronage. As late adopters in the online payments market, Ghanaians have their reservations, and would rather employ tried and tested platforms like PayPal. Security is a great concern and a challenge for online shoppers. Such shoppers are worried of the standards being followed by Ghanaian vendors in ensuring secured transactions.

Other challenges being faced in the e-commerce market space in Ghana include vendors’ wish for a solution that would make it less expensive to ship outside Ghana. As shoppers, the slowness of the internet is a major challenge being faced. Also as most of the identified vendors are located in the capital, Accra, delivery and pickup is another challenge faced by online shoppers.
On the issue of whether social media has influenced the growth of e-commerce in Ghana, both online shoppers and vendors are equally found on both sides of the continuum. This means a lot more work needs to be done, by vendors mostly, in leveraging social media to market their products and services. Also such networks should extend their e-commerce capabilities to African countries, to enable their users enjoy such benefits. This would go a long way in increasing the revenue of online vendors.

The study has shown (however premature it may seem) that social media indeed has influenced the growth of electronic commerce in Ghana. Though it is in its infancy, e-commerce has a bright future with the alternative of using mobile money as a means of electronic payments. The trend of Ghanaians having mobile phones and using them for online activities sets the tone for mobile commerce implementation in the country. Further research should be done in finding a solution to leveraging mobile money on the internet such that online shoppers can pay for products and services via their smart/feature phones.

NB: I had a handful of respondents for this study, especially vendors.
If you are a vendor, please take this survey.
If you buy online, please take this survey.
Thanks.

Do not forget to add your thoughts on this phenomenon via the comments section.


REFERENCES
Jidenma, N. How Africa’s mobile revolution is disrupting the continent. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/24/business/davos-africa-mobile-explosion/ Retrieved on 12th April, 2014.
Shapshak, T. Africa not just a mobile-first continent – it’s mobile only. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/10/04/tech/mobile/africa-mobile-opinion/ Retrieved on 30th April, 2014.
Takahashi, D. Internet Ads Finally Surpass Newspapers. VentureBeat, April 14, 2011.