Showing posts with label ICT4AD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ICT4AD. Show all posts

Thursday, March 27, 2014

VOTOmobile platform Hackathon

Photo Credit: www.votomobile.org

Earlier this week, I caught up with George, who works with VOTO Mobile, and asked him a few questions on the company's hackathon happening at iSpace tomorrow.

Here's the discourse:
Me: Who are you and what do you do? (Of course I know him, but I asked for the benefit of you, my readers)
George: I am George Arthur-Sarpong, I am a Senior Software Engineer at VOTO Mobile.

Me: How long have you worked with VOTO Mobile?
George: I have been on #teamVOTO since January 2013.

Me: What exactly does VOTO Mobile do?
George: At VOTO Mobile, we look to solving solutions to communication barriers between organizations, governments and institutions and the people they serve.
Our tools, available via the VOTO platform enables organizations to engage thousands to millions of people in decision making, feedback gathering, monitoring and evaluation, general information dissemination and    mass education through a simple phone call in the language of the receiving individual.
Our hopes are that these tools amplify the 'voices' of the under heard making them important stakeholders in decision making. It in turn directs and makes organization projects and programmes much more effective by reaching the masses through channels they can easily understand and thus achieving impact.

Me:
What is the hackathon about? What  are participants expected to get out of it?
George: Our Mobile Engagement platform for voice and SMS has been developed over the past year into a robust and global platform with excitingly new features every two weeks.
Also in line with our vision for open communication and towards Social impact, we created our API to engage firstly as in the case of this weekend's hackathon, the Ghana developer community on smart and innovative tools and apps that can be built to reach masses via voice and or SMS.
Let's call it an 'out-dooring' where it's officially open to third party app developers to do wonderful things with it.
Participants would be motivated and rewarded for their efforts at the end of the 2-day event.
They would be judged and awarded in three categories
  1. Most innovative application: The one that causes us to step back and say, "Wow – never thought of that!"
  2. Strongest execution: The most complete, most polished, ready-to-use application
  3. Strongest social impact potential: An idea that thoughtfully creates impact on a local or national issue.
So yeah there is a lot of interesting and thrilling prospects for the Hackathon happening at iSpace in Osu-Accra this weekend and of course, the entire #teamVOTO is in Accra to join our Accra developer community hack with VOTO.

Me: Why is the event being held in Accra, as VOTO Mobile is a Kumasi-based firm?
George: Yeah we are based in Kumasi operating globally, and we had and still have interactions with our local developer community in Kumasi.
We chose Accra this time to also have a feel of the developer community outside Kumasi.
So yes, it's an opportunity to interact and see what's the latest also in Accra, and meet and hack with the developers you know via mail or social media in person.

Me: Okay, sounds like a fun-packed weekend. Thanks for this opportunity. (hand shake)
George: Thanks for the time. Glad I was able to do this with you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The 'Sin' of inaction...

Are you afraid of failure? Me too -- at least until I had a sober introspection recently. I've always been reluctant to make a move,and follow up on an idea, simply because I feel I'm not 'perfect'/well prepared yet. "When at all would you be ready?",I asked myself during my reflection. Let me share a couple of my inaction with you.

In my senior year at the university, we took a course in Entrepreneurship. One of our mini projects was to write a business plan for any business of our choosing. My teammates and I targeted the transport sector, and decided to write a business plan for the cab (taxi) business. It included online booking and other such features. We FAILED to follow up on the plan and implement it -- we felt we were not ready yet (at least i thought so). Imagine the ambivalent feeling I had when I learnt of a similar idea being implemented in Nigeria now -- TaxiPark.

Another inaction of mine was not following up on an idea to develop a web/SMS-based results (grade) notification for students in my alma mater. This idea I got while doing my national service. I was not however surprised when mFriday came out with a similar app.

I can go on and on. The point I'm trying to make is that we should try even when we are not sure of the outcome. Face our fears. Inaction is devastating -- very devastating. No wonder the Confiteor (said during the Catholic Mass), has a line that goes thus, "..., in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, ..."

Join me this Saturday at the Methodist University campus in Accra, for the mother of all Barcamps in Ghana -- Barcamp Accra. Let's pledge to make efforts and thus fail so much that failure has no other choice than to let us be.

Register for Barcamp Accra here: http://barcampaccra12.eventbrite.com/

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Tamale Experience

Over the weekend, I was in Ghana's Northern Regional capital, Tamale. Amazing place.
I was first welcomed by the Central Mosque which made me miss my trips to Abuja (in Nigeria) last year. The roads are a must-see. The sense of culture abounds in this town. It's full of life.
My word, was I surprised to actually see a lot of motorcycles. Most being ridden by ladies. The sad part of that for me though was the riders not being in their helmets (about 2 in 25 did have helmets on).
I was actually there to participate in a Barcamp event, to meet and interact with people to see how best the condition of the people can be improved, and their stories told to the world. Whoever said the youth are the future of any nation is right. A lot of ideas were floated, and action plans made.
Personally, the future of Tamale and indeed Ghana is secured and bright.
A picture of the Larambaga mosque. Photo credit: Barcampers


Sunday, May 6, 2012

BlogCamp 2012 -- The Experience

Blog? Social Media? What has the Law got to do with Social Media? Oh, can I really make a living from blogs?
If these are questions you find yourself asking, then you should have been at the first-ever -- yes, you heard me -- first-ever Blogcamp event in Ghana, which took place at the AITI-KACE. The theme was Voice of a New Generation.

A Blogcamp is actually a gathering of bloggers (newbies and oldies) to discuss the world of blogs, share ideas, and find ways of using social media to impact their communities in a positive way. The event was organised by the largest association of bloggers in Ghana, BloggingGhana. Almost 400 participants 'invaded' the venue -- the burning passion and quest for knowledge was simply overwhelming.

I had awakenings, epiphanies and inspirations throughout the event.

Highlights

  • The first highlight of the event for me, was when we had the pleasure of interacting with Brett Morgan of Google via Google+ hangout, as he talked on "Making blogs graphical with HTML5" -- 'twas really cool.
  • The second was when Nana Yaw Asiedu was called upon to talk on "Social Media and the Law". I know a lot of the attendees share what I'm about to say. He was introduced as a lawyer and so the 'Ghanaian' mind expected to see an 'old' (used relatively) individual. But no, we saw this unassuming young man step up, take the mic, and 'school' us on the topic with undiluted authority. Mindblowing! I dubbed him, "The Coolest Legal mind at the event". ;-)
  • The breakout session on Photoblogging was amazingly handled by Nana Kofi Acquah.
    Mac-Jordan Degadjor's session on Social Media for Corporate bodies was engaging. I particularly love the point he momentarily turned the session into a 'mini movie theatre' by playing a video on 'What a Blog is'!
  • The main sponsor of the day, Vodafone Ghana had three raffles and gave prizes to winning participants. The prices included Android torres phones, Mi-Fis, and Web Boxes! Others also won free BloggingGhana T-Shirts -- myself inclusive. :-)
  • The biggest highlight for me was the launching of the Social Media Awards by Golda Addo.

Memorable Quotes

The day had its fair share of quotes that should be in ink:
We never really know where it'll lead us, but we have to start from a place of integrity.
~ Nana Kofi Acquah
" It's impossible to be politically correct as a blogger and be taken seriously. "
~ Nana Kofi Acquah
" You need to take a stance. It's either you are a mouse or a cat, you can't be a mat. "
~ Nana Kofi Acquah
" Truth is the best defence in defamation, but it should be truth you can prove. "
~ Nana Yaw Asiedu
" Those in most need are the ones to really exercise their democratic franchise. "
~ @kinnareads
" If for nothing at all, joining BloggingGhana allows you a lot of reach. "
~ Kajsa Hallberg Adu
" It annoys me that a lot of people are interested in poverty in Africa. "
~ Kobina Graham

It was a great event -- thanks to the organisers and the sponsors.
In the words of the in-law in a Ghanaian TV advert, I end by saying, "mE ba aha dabia abE didi"!

I know you folks have got other exciting experiences to share about the BlogCamp event. I'd love to hear them. Do leave a comment, and let's get interactive.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

First-ever Barcamp Sunyani -- The experience

The first-ever Barcamp event in Sunyani ended almost three hours ago – boy was I blown away (no hyperbole intended). Ideas. Energy. Networking. These were all in full supply at the event, which took place at the FFRT (KNUST-SYI).

A barcamp is simply a FREE networking event that brings individuals together to brainstorm and find solutions to problems affecting their communities and propose ways of developing their communities and the country as a whole. A novel idea, don’t you think?

I attended my first-ever barcamp event in Kumasi, three weeks ago at the KNUST campus. What makes today’s event even more remarkable – apart from the organisation – is the number of ladies present. These ladies were bold and they cogently defended their ideas in a clear manner. Women of substance. Wow. The event also had a number of highlights:

1. A discussion on whether Sunyani is a worthy candidate as the capital city of Ghana? A number of positives and negatives were identified, but in all, we realised it could be the capital of Ghana if enough thought, energy and planning is employed by our leaders.
Sunyani – better known as the Sun City, is simply a town to love. ;-)
2. A representative of the Youth Council implored us to really take part in the on-going biometric voter registration and actually go on to vote. No sitting on the fence. From his speech, I learnt that the word ‘youth’ is not found – not even once – in the 1992 constitution! Can you believe that?
3. Mr. Agbozo, a lecturer at the Catholic University, gave an insightful talk on Entrepreneurship. He shared the results of a survey he carried out in his class based on priorities and surprisingly, achievement was at the bottom while love was fourth. Even learning didn’t place. (No surprise for me.) Good news though is that, barcamp participants decided to change their attitude. This I believe would diffuse and take our youth by storm. Go Ghana!
The next speaker was the General Manager of Eusbett Hotel, Mr. Mensah. He also gave a lot of insight into where Sunyani has come from in terms of development and the opportunities still lurking around. I bet you a number of his ideas would see fruition by the close of the year.
The BloggingGhana crew was also there to talk on their #iRegistered campaign which seeks to cover the registration and voting processes via social media (blogs, tweets, Facebook, Google+, Instagram et cetera.)
4. During the breakout session, a number of topics were discussed:
  • How to develop the Sunyani Township?
  • What GTUG is all about?
  • How to keep Sunyani clean?
  • The (correct) use of Social Media
5. A GTUG coordinator, Jojoo Imbeah, demonstrated how culture can be fused into technology. He actually used the Mozilla Firefox browser in Akan!
6. The last, but definitely not the least highlight was when participants ended the event by singing the national Anthem, “God Bless our Homeland Ghana…”
Participants are of the view that, barcamp Sunyani should be held frequently. Taking into consideration the number of barcamps in the country, I would propose that it is organised twice in a year.
God be the oga, oshe!