Monday, February 23, 2009

Random thoughts on Ex-gratia, vetting...

This post is inspired partially by this blog post
( )and
partially by ECG. Yes, ECG! There's 'light off' as we say in Ghana and
my phone is the only thing alive.

Like the title states random thoughts and I contradict myself plenty of times.

Ex-gratia: I think the issue about the 'amounts and numbers' of money
and items must be treated delicately.

What, cars and houses?
Look I also agree it would be better if the State Protocol Department
would host the ex-presidents 'guests'.

But what happens when the SPD boss gets 'annoyed' with an
ex-president. Our societal nuances, lack of political maturity and
other issues means if this alt route is used it must be made into law,
else President Jimmy Carter visiting President Kuffuor sucessfully
depends on the whims of the SPD boss and how he feels about the
ex-president and the same will apply for President Mills if NPP is in

$1 milion Foundation?
If we can build a system to ensure the foundation is not abused it
could be good. President Mills we know loves sports and it means we
will probably get a 1 million dollar sports education fund or a 1
million dollar boxing training academy, etc. What about President
Jerry Rawlings who loves Art. Ghana's first art school perhaps?

So why can't they do this while in government? Because we need a 1
million storage facility in the North, or clean, drinking water
or...... You can't indulge yourself with things you like when in
power. Out of power they can ensure something they are passionate
about gets done.

Wait a minute you say, $ 1 million, you mean 1/60th of the minimum
capitalisation of foreign banks as stated by BoG or 1/600th of the
estimated cost of the Boankra Inland Port (my dream project for job
creation) but we don't have that kind of money to waste!

Well since a foundation and a fund are cousins or at least related
and the most sucessful schemes of recent times are all fund based
(GETFund, NHIS) maybe we should find the money.

Vetting papa paa!!!
I am worried about the vetting process and yet it was a powerful
'state of the mindset' address'

I dare not doubt the character, competence and experince of the
nominees after all I have not yet achieved anything near what most of
them have done. Here's what I learnt.

Tax: the most feared 3 letter word in America, UK don't scare nobody
here in Ghana. The honourable nominee for Women & Childrens
Affair was (she has resigned hopeful as she said) Chairman of an NGOn
actually I think she registered it, and didn't know NGOs have a tax
obligation. Most people live a tax free life and who suffers, Mr
Highway, Mrs Clean Water and their children who are now on Social
Welfare! I think any government that can increase the number of people
paying taxes will do well. I think President Mills agrees with mw on
this as he"s set up a supervisory board. Another board!

Talking of boards, why did the president rush to disslove public
boards handicapping some of the activities of the organisations who
need boards to approve funds (hint:NHIS is one such og).

Anyway. CV. How can big men and women, accomplished so much have such
awful CVs. Full of typos, inconsistencies, all live on national TV.

Oopss or rather Yes!
The power is back and I will leave off my musings to do some work
(maybe a short movie then, work).

Just before I go.

ECG. They do this too much. They say theu need some plenty money($149
million just for the south, I must check the fig) to fix the power
cuts. Yesterday their Manager incharge of Debts was smiling while
telling us people owed them almost $20 million from as far back as
2005 (a single company owed 78,000)
Well hope the conversational manner of this blog is refreshingly
different from my other posts! More powercuts right!

Sent from my mobile device

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wireless Ghana, bridging the Digital Divide.

Much has been said about the 'digital divide' and how it excludes
Africa from participating fully in the revolution that is happening
through and on the internet. Although a myriad of issues ( See my post) contribute to the digital divide, one major issue has been Affordable
Access, especially in rural Africa.

Well I am enthused but suprised to stumble on Wireless Ghana, a project using ad hoc MESH networks to provide affordable internet and wide area connectiity to rural communities.

Why surprised? Because it has taken me this long to even hear of such
an initiative. If there is anyone reading who has prior knowledge of
this project why have you not continued to make noise.

Two main things I love about this initiative;

1. Action, Not words, policy, unconferences....

Wireless Ghana has the tagline "interconnectivity for West African
communities" and they are delivering small steps at a time.

The project was lauched in 2005 and currently operates a 20km wide
MESH network (Akwapim Community Wireless Network) using Open Source software and commercial network and PC hardware to share a 128 kbps VSAT internet
access across ten nodes.

It benefits schools, NGOs,small business owners across 6 towns in the Akwapim District of the Eastern Region of Ghana.


The MESH network is built using;

a. Open Source Software: CUWiNWare (Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network)

b. Antenna: Rugged (probably local made) well suited for the terrain

c. Routers: Old unwanted PCs and New Wireless Cards (recycle, reuse)

I love this hands-on, hack stuff together approach because its about
using what's available and usual lowers cost.

( See Flickr Album)

So who are the people behind it?

Three people manage it;
Project Director: Mr. John Atkinson (Peace Corps Ghana); doubles as teacher.

Project co-ordinator; Mr. Gideon Kofi Amoah

Chief Officer of Technology: Mr. Ebenezer Boateng.

Ultimately it belongs to the whole community.

Sent from my mobile device

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Twestival : The Power of Social Media

First I must admit shame that I made a mistake of assuming twestival was for only US and Europe and did not even bother to read a post on it in my Google Reader.

So, what is Twestival ?

On 12 February 2009 175+ cities around the world will be hosting Twestivals which bring together Twitter communities for an evening of fun and to raise money and awareness for charity: water

This is a manifestation of what innovative use of Social Media channels can do in all areas of our life. Twitter is everywhere and using that huge community for charity is brilliant, smart and powerful.

Twestival, the brainchild of a handful of users, debuted in London in September, 2008. Intended to be a local networking affair where attendees could meet their contemporaries behind twitter avatars while also doing it’s bit for charity, it has evolved into much more.

Participants will gather in cities all over the world, joining forces to raise money for, a nonprofit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Real people, real time, real power to make a difference.

I believe I have not read any posts or tweets ( I will do a more comprehensive search later) about Ghanaian twitterers getting involved.

Lagos is hosting a Twestival thanks toFrancis Oghuma (@qubestreet) and it has put Lagos on the Map. The other African locations are: Johannesburg, Cape Town and Lusaka.

Accra it seems will not be part of Twestival and sadly I may be as much to blame as any other twitterer in Ghana. This would have been an opportunity to firmly register Accra on the Twitter map since we could have generated hashtags to last months pointing to Ghanaian twitterers and Accra itself.

I sadly have to say GO LAGOS. I am officially a Lagos Twestivalian!!

LESSON: In this Global era of Social Media never assume you cannot be a part of any event. If I had just paid more attention a week ago, my trip to Accra would have read:

1. Get marketing material to University of Ghana, Legon

2. Attend TWESTIVAL ACCRA .........

Here is my attempt to make up for my shame!

I hope all Twestivals are a huge success.
People Power Rules!