Friday, November 9, 2007

Interview with Thelma Ekiyor of WACSI

Thelma Ekiyor is the Executive Director of West Africa Civil Society Institute and shared her views with the public on a two-day workshop organised by WACSI, UNDP and GAPVOD on the theme Reflectingon on Civil Society's Evolution in Ghana over the last 50 years. This workshop took place at La Palm Beach Hotel, Accra from the 8th to 9th November 2007.

The United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) Civil Society Resource Centre in Ghana in Collaboration with the Ghana Association of Private Voluntary Organisations in Development(GAPVOD) and West Africa Civil Society Institute(WASCI), established by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa(OSIWA) organised a two day seminar to reflect on Civil Society's evolution in Ghana over the last 50 years. the aim of the seminar was to provide a platform for civil society actors in Ghana and across West Africa, Government representatives, Donor Agencies and the private sector to discuss and deliberate on the roles civil society organisations in Ghana have played in fostering democracy, governance, peace and socio-economic development in Ghana. The seminar critically examined the the contributions Ghanaian civil society organisations have made to similar processes across West Africa.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Interview with Michael Quarshie of Persol

Mr. Quarshie shared his concern for collaboration between various partners in moving forward the private sector as the engine of growth at the launch of the Ghana Association of Software and IT Services Companies(GASSCOM) in Accra on 5th November 2007 at Alisa Hotels, North Ridge.He said GASSCOM is a premier trade association for the IT Software and Services Industry.

GASSCOM is registered as a non-profit company limited by guarantee under company's code of the republic of Ghana.GASSCOM was set up to facilitate business and trade in software and services and be a strong advocate in soliciting Government and other public sector support and encourage the advancement of the Industry as a key and strategic sector for the growth of the Ghanaian economy in the next millenium. For more information on GASSCOM and how to become a member, kindly watch the video.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Diffusion of ICTs in Ghanaian Schools

This Video documentary is about the state of affairs of ICTs integration in Ghanaian Schools.

The diffusion of Information Communication and Technologies (ICTs) in educational systems in Ghana and other sub-Saharan African nations is a major step to promoting innovation. However, like Ghana, many of these educational systems currently do not have any coherent ICT policy framework in place. The current lack of policy frameworks for ICTs implementation in these educational systems shows that they are not equipped to keep up with the ICT revolution that is
taking place across the world. However, education policy makers in Ghana still have the chance to take advantage of the technology that is becoming more widely available.

This ten minutes video documentary on ICTs integration in Ghanaian Schools was produced by Ebenezer Malcolm, a doctoral student in Instructional Technology at College of Education, Ohio University, USA. He is also the Project Manager of the Global Teenager Project (GTP), Ghana. The documentary featured a snap shot of ICTs integration in first and second cycle institutions in Ghana. The feature highlighted some of the achievements, challenges and prospects of ICT integration in Ghanaian Schools. For more information on this video documentary contac[1]t
Ebenezer Malcolm: or

To get access to this video, visit


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Interview with Juliano Bittencourt

Juliano was a participant and at the same time a resource person from Brazil at a workshop organised on the One Laptop per child project in Ghana.Juliano shared his experience in th implementation of the OLPC project in Brazil.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Interview with Charity Binka

Charity works with GBC Radio and she participated in the two-day training workshop organised by GINKS in collaboration with Penplusbytes to build the capacities of Journalists in the use of Web2.0 tools for development.This training took place from the 10th to the 11th of October 2007 at the Accra International Press Centre.
What is your Name and what organisation do you work for?
My name is Mrs. Charity Binka and I work for th Ghana Broadcasting Corporation primarily and I work as the chief editor of the Radio Newsroom division. Essentially, I am a gender activist and specialist and run an NGO by name Women Media and Change.
What lessons have you learnt from this two-day training woshop and what advice do you have for people on Web2.0 tools for devlopment?
The time has come for people to explore the Computer and the Internet because that is the way to go. There is no need to limit ourselves to just emails and chats on the Internet. There is so much we can learn. For the past two days, I have learnt alot and I want to challenge everybody out there who has Internet connection to go and explore and particularly the use of Web2.0 tools for development. I also want to say that the experts in these fields must also popularise the tools because people out of ignorance do not use them but if they know, they might definately be able to use them so go for it if you are not using the tools yet and if you have knowledge about the use of the tools, share it with the larger people so that we all come on board to make this World a better and earsier place.Thank you.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Interview with Hilde Eugelink from IICD

Hilde shared her views on the web2.0 conference currently underway in Rome from the 24th to the 27th September 2007.
What is your name, What organisation do you work for and what have you learnt so far from this workshop?
My name is Hilde Eugelink and I work for the International Institute of Communication and Development(IICD) based in the Hague. We are here in Rome and IICD is one of the organisers of the Web2.0 for development conference in Rome. I am part of the organisation, we prepared the whole conference with the use of Web2.0 tools so if you ask me what did I learn about Web2.0 tools during this conference, I will have to say that I learnt much more before the conference because I actually used all these tools. One of the great things of being able to use Web2.0 tools like Skype, blogs, Vlogs Unyte, Wikis and the rest is that it is much more efficient but on the other hand, their use is still quite challenging because of the social and cultural barriers. Nevertheless, they are collaborative networking tools .
What advise do you have for people towards the use of Web2.0 tools for Development?
Using Web2.0 tools, should you do it or not? I think you should because being able to use these kinds of tools really help you to network and collaborate, however, these new tools need to be adapted. You really need to be careful in using these tools in very different situations. I will advise people to first play around the tools and not shifting aside existing communication tools and I think that is what I have for people on th use of th tools.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Interview with Karen Hackshaw, participant from CTA

Karen shared her experience on what she has learnt from the opening session on the web 2.0 for development conference currently underway in Rome, Italy from the 24th to the 27th of September 2007

What is your name and which organisation are you coming from?

My name is Karen Hackshaw and I work with CTA

What have you learnt so far from this first session on Web2.0 Conference currently underway in Rome?

This session was quite interesting to me because yesturday, we had a good build-up of what we are doing today so today was very helpful because I think I have learnt more of the cultural, some of the more economical and more social issues that go into web2.0 and that combined with the technical session we had yesturday

What expectations do you have by the end of today's programme?

As I am seating down, I am just thinking about the ways I can actually change the banch of Ideas so I think after this, I would want to seat down and look at my various programmes and how I can actually make them more effective and fit into the dynamism of the web2.0 culture.Also think about a new and effctive way or fashion of getting through what we do.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Interview with Gabby Awumey, a farmer and a beneficiary of facility

Mr Awumey shared his experience and benefits as a farmer from the facility at the opening of the Hohoe Agribusiness Information Point in Hohoe in the Volta Region of Ghana on the 7th of November 2006.
On the 7th of November, 2007 the Daily Graphic published a story referring to a large glut of Maize of roughly 500,00 maxi bags lying in stock at the Afram Plains without buyers and even if there were buyers, they would buy at very low prices leaving the farmer poorer. Situations like this are not limited to the Afram Plains or to the Hohoe District alone: it is a common phenomenon all over Africa and would continue as long as buyers and sellers do not have accurate and timely Information on what is available, where, at what prices and who to contact.
About 3 years ago, USAID made available $11m to IFDC and challenged them to improve Agricultural market informaation systems that will help increase trade in Agricultural products. As a follow-up to this, an electronic trading platform was developed and about $1m was used to equip producer and trader associations in Computers and Internet connectivity. The project spent thousands of Dollars to do series of targeted training for producer and trader associations, members as well as MOFA staff to learn new skills in the use of the Computer. Several thousands of people belonging to producer and trader associations in West Africa benefited from training opportunities in the use of the Computer and Internet.
Today, they are not only capable of using the Computer and browsing the Internet but are also able to send and receive emails from their business partners and are using their cellular phones to enquire about prices and find buyers. The Hohoe District Agri-Business Information Point(ABIP) is one of the 150 being set up in the west African sub-region to revolutionalise the way we use the Computer and our Cellular phones. The ABIP will be used for training, browsing and a centre where people can walk in and register their cellular phones to receive or send Information on trade opportunities, alerts, prices and contacts.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Interview with Andrea Ebert from Microsoft

Following the Workshop held on the INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ON INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY - ISO/IEC DIS29500 OOXML at African Regent Hotel on the 14th of August, 2007 the Ghana Standards Board as a follow up organised a stakeholder workshop on 27th of August 2007 at the KOFI ANNAN INTERNATIONAL CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE IN ICT to further discuss and ballot on Ghana's position on the standard.Andrea Ebert from Microsoft participated and shared his views with you.
What is Open Standards all about?
Open Standards is one form to achieve the broader goal of interoperability. Interoperability is the technique to connect data, systems and humans together helping to achieve collaboration. Open Standards is one way of doing that. There are other options available like community and services so Standards and Open Standars is one important thing we can use to achieve interoperability.
What does the Government and the people of Ghana stand to benefit from participating in this process of Standard setting?
You need to distinguish between Governement involvement and the standardisation process. Standardisation by itself is an appreciation and specification for the future and the development of specifications is the responsibility of a standard body or a technical committee. Governments separately and independently have the option to use or not to use certain specifications in a way. So there is definately independency between Government involvement but it is more a Country's or standard body's objective to achieve a common agreement on how a standard should be agreed upon and implemented.
What is your advice to the Government on the issue of Standard Setting?
It is hard for me especially from the private industrty to give advice to the Governement but listening to the debate today as an observer, it is a very important role to play in the transformation it society into what is called a knowledg based society, so Government's contribution to this debate is a significant one and it will look forward to solving upcoming challenges and the journey the Governeement and its partners in this Country have on the way to a knowledge-based society.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Interview with Ebenezer Malcolm, the Project Manager of GTP

Malcolm shared his expectations and some skills acquired so far from the ten days wireless training taking place in Winneba from the 1st to the 10th of August 2007
What is your name and what organisation are you coming from?
My name is Ebenezer Malcolm, the project manager of the Global Teenager Project, Ghana.
What do you have to share as some of the skills acquired so far from the wireless training workshop?
We have been taken through a lot of issues such as introduction to wireless networking, how to configure computers in terms of forming an enclave of hot spots. We also learnt alot about creating or building local Antennas where you can develop your own Antenna in case you don't have the proprietory type and I feel that these things have really helped us to uderstand the nitty-gritty of wireless networking.
What are some of your expectations at the end of the ten days training and how will you impact some of the knowledge gained to others?
My expectation at this workshop is that, I will go back to the office at the end of the ten days training to impact the knowledge I have acquired over here to my colleagues and it will become like training of trainers type of workshop. In addition to that, we will also go back to the various Schools where we have School Computers and also try to build the capacity of the teachers that are working in these Computer Laboratories so that they can also know how to set-up simple wireless network. In addition to that also take them through how to solve some of the troubles when they ensue especially when the Computers are not working very well in terms of having Internet access.
I feel these are some of the expectations I will take back.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Interview with Stephen John Agbenyo

Stephen is the network Coordinator for Nothern Information Network for Schools who is a participant at the wireless training workshop taking place in Winneba from the 1st to 10th August 2007. Stephen shared his taught about the workshop.
What is your name and what organisation are you coming from?
My name is Agbenyo John Stephen.I am with NINS short for Northern Information Network for Schools.We are based in Savelugu in the North.Saveligu is just about 26 kilometers drive from Tamale, the regional Capital.
What have you learnt so far from the training workshop?
So far the training has been wonderful. We've undergone basic introduction into wireless technology.We also learnt about Wireless networking,we learnt about setting wireless network, network securities, currently we are on configuring wireless networks.
How will you use the knowledge gained from the training workshop to impact positively on your organisation and beyond?
Like I mentioned earlier, NINS is in Savelugu.We do not have any internet access around except Tamale and so if I want to check my mails, I need to go to Tamale.With this training, it will be of help getting connections from Tamale to Savelugu and it will be easier and also, since NINS is about Schools, it will even be a cheaper means of having access in Schools in Savelugu and around

Interview with Nwachukwu Eucharia

Echaria is a Network Administrator at the Information Communication Technology Centre at the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria. She shared her views about the Wireless training workshop taking place in Winneba from the 1st to the 10th of August 2007.
What is your name and what organisation are you coming from?
My name is Eucharia Nwachukwu. I work for the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria as a network Administrator and I have come here to get a wireless networking knowledge.
What have you learnt so far from the Wireless Training Workshop?
So far its been good, the facilitators are good, they know how to pass their information across and I now have basic knowledge and I am configuring wireless network from the Router to access point.By the time we are done, I think I will be perfect in that.
How are you going to extend the knowledge gained from this workshop to your other colleagues?
I came here because I have a need for the wireless network to set it up in my own University so that, we can manage the large number of customers we have in the University community. Most of them come with Laptops which has wireless and most of our ports are used by systems that is why I have to pay extra cost to get here and make sure I learnt it so as soon as I get home, I will try and see how I can configure it and start using it.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Interview with Gifty Dzah, Programme Assistant, ABANTU for Development

This video features Gifty Dzah who shared her view on how best ICTs could help facilitate the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act which was recently passed by the Ghanaian Parliament.
What is your name and what do you do with ABANTU for Development?
My name is Gifty Dzah and I work with ABANTU for Development and I am the programme assistant in charge of National Coalition on the Women Manifesto for Ghana as well as coordinate other programmes. I am actually in charge of advocacy and public awareness.
What is the domestic violence?
The domestic Violence Act was passed by Parliament and endorsed by the President on 3rd May 2007 and it is now a law that came about because Ghana's criminal code didn't completely cover all domestic violence issues. The Act is based on provisions from the UN declaration on human right and then our constitution and the Children's Act. The Domestic Violence Act basically looks at the definition of Domestic Violence, filing complains, police assistance then there is a session that looks at protection orders for both victims and people who report on behalf of victims then there is another session that looks at miscellanous provisions that is the fund to support the Domestic Violence Act and the management board among others.
What Role can ICTs play in the Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act?
When I think about the role ICTs will play in the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, I look at mobile phones, the internet, computers among others. So it is not only about sofwares and all that.Now I think that we need a national hotline which we don't have which I think ICTs can help us with that. All the mobile networks could set-up a code that is easily accessible.It could be toll free or call back and you don't pay anything for that.So far, our land phones do not have those special codes or pay phones do not have those special codes. So there is the need to set-up a national hotline and then to online counseling services. People do not always want to go and seat in front of a counselor and to talk about issues so those who have access to internet could visit the site and then talk to the counselor online and then again too for information dissemination as well as education of the public, we could have a website created and have regular programmes on TV and Radio.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Interview with Mr Joel Sam, GAINS Coordinator

Mr Joel Sam is the Coordinator for the Ghana Agriculture Information Network Systems(GAINS). He shared his opinion on IICD South Project Node Meeting organised in Accra on the 17th of July 2007.
I think it was very well organised in the first place and well patronised. The participants were forthcoming with their views and comments about coming together to share ideas as to how we can move the various projects forward. The ideas generated again was very good and will help the other projects in the way they do their things. Some lessons we learnt, some pitfalls were realised and that those projects starting new may not fall into such pitfalls. For me I think that we need to have more of such interactions both online and offline to continue to generate more ideas into the various projects.

Interview with Dr. Irene Susan Egyir

Dr. Irene Egyir was the lead researcher in the GINKS/IDRC Mfantsiman project .She shared her views a bout the project at an output dissemination workshop on the project.
What is your name and what position do you hold in the GINKS/IDRC Mfantsiman Project?
I am known as Dr. Mrs Irene Susan Egyir and i work with the University of Ghana, Legon as a lecturer but in GINKS, I am the lead Researcher for the Mfantsiman Research Project.
What was the purpose of the GINKS/IDRC Mfantsiman Project?
You know we have growth and poverty reduction strategy for the nation and I think GINKS is trying to enhance knowledge sharing for poverty reduction so its main objective for the research was to find mechanisms and tools for generating, storing, disseminating information through the use of modern ICTs but in order that we find out whether underprivileged communities can be part of the knowledge enhancing through ICTs, GINKS went there in 2005 to start such a research.
What were some on the interesting findings from the Mfantsiman Project?
The first objective was to have a best practice tour and one of the interesting findings in the tour was the fact that when you want to implement such a project, you should have a knowledge club so we were able to put together women who were basically old food producers into an ACCASI club. ACCASI stands for Atakwa Community Centre for Knowledge Sharing through ICTs. The second objective was to find out what they needed most and through sample surveys and focus group discussions, we found out that, they needed where to find low cost credit for their food production activities. Third was to also scout for what modern ICTs and other traditional and conventional ICTs they use to source for information. We realise that they don't use any modern ICTs, however, they know about computers but not much about internet. They also knew about television, they knew about digital radios but did not know how to use it, so we trying to use the internet, mobile phone and computers to link them to holders of knowledge. These holders of knowledge are service providers, the extension people, money or financial institutions and other groups that help in group dynamics so that is also one of the interesting things we have been able to achieve. we were also able to put together a resource centre in that village and train these women. Most of them were illiterate, some had some number of years of education and at the end of May 2007, we have able to get these people to break the myth concerning older women and gadgets. So they were able to operate DVDs and also log onto the computer and retrieve information that has been repackaged for them and I believe that these are some of the interesting findings that we came up with. The fact that women knew what they wanted, we could get what they wanted, repackage with them, put them on computers and they themselves can retrieve it at any time and share with others. These are some of the interesting findings that have come out of the GINKS/IDRC Mfantsiman project.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Interview with Shafiu Shaibu of SEND Foundation about

Shafiu Shaibu is the programmes coordinator of the ECAMIC Project of SEND Foundation supported by IICD. He was a participant at the just ended GINKS Technical follow-up meeting in Accra and shared his opinion on how the project will work with to improve market information for the farmers. The video is about 3 minutes long. Here's the transcript:
At Send Foundation we've been thinking over time how to facilitate the speed at which the market information which is gathered gets to the farmers. We found it difficult. We thought about the GSM model, but it needs back-up and technical skills. Tradenet appears the right solution because it has institutional background. Send will no longer be the technical body but will link farmers to Tradenet. Farmers will be registered on groups to received SMS alerts with market prices. Our area is now open to mobile phones, so we can set up centres. Tradenet will therefore be a very good solution for us. We are planning training on how to use SMS for the farmers. Tradenet will train us (train-the-trainer) and then we will train the farmers how to use SMS to get market information.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Global Teenager Project Video

This is a short documentary explaining how the Global Teenager Project(GTP)program connects youth in various countries through ICTS. The project is led by Ebenezer Malcolm.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Interview with Ogochukwu Nweke

Ogo is a Youth Advocate and runs an NGO by name the 42nd Generation.He was one of the participants at the ICT and Youth Forum organised by GINKS

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Interview with Mrs Shine Ofori

Mrs Shine Ofori, a Guidance and Conselling Coordinator had these to say when asked about her opinion on the ICT and Youth Forum organised by GINKS.
The programme was very educative.We had a variety of Resource Persons coming in to give us various dimensions of ICT in Education, Policy, Youth work really opening our minds what there is. We got to know about how to use ICT in Counselling, Career Counselling.We got to know about the job opportunities that are there for our young people in ICT. It has been very Educative and was an opportunity for the students to meet one another and also we got to know some Non-Governmental Organisations(NGOs) that are into ICT and how they can help, so from my point of view as a School Counseller, I think we will be making good use of these NGOs that are into Counselling and will be inviting them and will be linking up with them.
When you look at the discussion dimension that is to be set-up, when we can have a site/online space where students can go freely and ask questions, have people on the spot to give Information to them, answer their questions and when they have need for Counselling, they can establish rappour with individual Counsellers. I think much will be done so the programme was very helpful.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Interview with Adlaide Quarshie

Adlaide is a final year student at the Accra Girls Secondary School, one of the participating Institutions at the ICT and Youth Forum organised by GINKS on the theme"ICT and Youth Employment in Ghana". She shared he lessons.
What lessons have you learnt from the ICT and Youth Forum
I have learnt that Information and Communication Technology(ICT) is a very vital tool for the Youth especially to aid in the Development of Ghana. I have also learnt that you don't need to be a savvy to use ICT.ICT knowledge makes once carrier easier faster more reliable and accurate.

Interview with Clement Nutakor

Clement Nutakor is a student from the Accra Academy Secondary School who participated in the ICT and Youth Forum organised by GINKS.Clement Shared his views about some of the lessons he learnt from the Forum
I have learnt that, Parliament of Ghana has approved the ICT4AD Policy to regulate the ICT Sector in Ghana. I have also learnt that there are serious brains who are advocating for the training of young people on the use of ICT for development. I have also learnt that there is the Ghana Multimedia incubator Centre which tries to help young people with Innovative, creative ideas for the benefit of society and the best of all there is a counselling programme online where young people can get access to and talk freely to well developed databases

Monday, May 7, 2007

Interview with Dr. Osei Darkwa, President Ghana Telecom University College

Dr. Darkwa shared his views on Telemedicine and it benefits to the Ghanaian community.He stressed on the future of Telemedicine and some of the best practices of Telemedicine to be replicated in Ghana.
Does Telemedicine have a future in Ghana?
Telemedicine has a great future in Ghana because the Ghanaian healthcare system is confronted with several challenges.Hospitals and Clinics are unevenly distributed, braindrain is also a challenge and health personnels are not there. Medical information is another issue.These are however key challenges that we can use Telemedicine to address.
Are there best practices on Telemedicine in Africa that could be replicated in Gnana?
One of the best practices is the satle life health initiatve what is called a healthnet programme. Healthnet cuts across several different Countries and i know they are in Ghana as well.There is one in Accra and another in Tamale and they use low orbitting satellite to provide medical education. They are involved in research.I think it is one of the best health practices around the Country.

Interview with Dapo Ladimeji,a member of FOSSFA, UK

Ladimeji shared his views on how best open-source technology can benefit Ghanaians and the future of open-source in Ghana.
What is open-source all about?
Open-source is all about having software basically technology that you know how it is built, that you own, control and can develop.
What benefit does open-source have for the fututre of Ghana in particular and Africa in general?
Ghana has many many people with great talents.Open-source is one way of getting the children and the young people by talent to learn about the new technology, to build new things and get Ghana back to shake in the world with the talents and creativity of it people which i have enormous faith in.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Interview with Mr. A.D Koblavie, Deputy Director of Information Ministry of Information

The focus of the interview was on his views about the portal.
What in your opinion are the benefits of the portal to the Ghanaian community?
Before the portal came into being, Ghana was not known on the web.Invariably there used to be no formal information about Ghana on the world wide web.With the establishment of the portal, Ghana is now on the web.The portal is a one stop shop for information on Ghana.Since the advent of the portal, the world now can access information about Ghana especially on Government official information on set up, activities, speeches, press releases and programmes including financial statement of the year which is updated on daily basis. Various institutions are actually acknowledging the content of information on the portal.
Through the portal people have become aware of the potential of Ghana.Even tourists and researchers use the web master to gather lots more information about Ghana.The establishment of the portal has really enhanced information on Ghana for quick and easy access.
What are the challenges in generating and managing content for the portal?
It is a big job managing content for the national portal. In the initial stages, there were problems in getting vital and authentic information about Government or even about the set-up. It was very difficult getting people to provide responses to questionnaires in an attempt to get clearance for alot of things but in the long run, we have been able to work hard to establish links with the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies to get the consent of the Ministers and Chief Directors about the role of the portal in processing documents for the Ghanaian community. Through these linkages now have information from the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies on annual baisis for the portal. In addition we have collected the email contacts of various institutions to provide or feed the portal with on-line information. Eventhough we have passed through alot of stages, we are now getting used to the on-line business of communication.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Vikas Nath talking about gender and ICTs in good governance

Interview with Clara Da Costa Vroom on ICT and Women development in Ghana

This video is a short interview of Clara Da-Costa Vroom, a BPO Consultant and a pharmacist on her views about Social and Cultural issues in Ghana and how they impact on Women access to ICT and also her view about whether ICT's carry content that meets the information needs of Women in developing Countries.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Interview with Jonnie Akakpo

Jonnie Akakpo, chairman of GINKS, presented the results of an action-research on political mobilisation of ICTs in Ghana during the African e-gov conference in Accra. The action research took place in two communities in Northern Region as part of the Log-in Africa program of the UNDP. It departs from the idea that there are opportunities for changing modes of governance through ICTs. These opportunities will remain unexploited if the citizenry is not capacitated to use those opportunities. The video is almost 4 minutes. A summary is presented here in text:

What were the most surprising results of your action research in two communities in the Northern Region of Ghana?

There were no real surprises because we know the communities already. The most surprising thing was the attitude of the leaders, the inability of our leaders to engage with projects trying to improve their systems. They were never there and were a little hostile.

What innovative approaches do you have in mind, given the challenges in the Northern Region?

We thought about internet access points where people can engage parliament or the castle in real time, but we realized this was going to be more expensive than anticipated. Given the constraints, we are not thinking of purposely collecting information from the communities and making this information available to government.

We identified a large mass of illiterate people, who can engage with a medium like radio. We think that they should have a feel of computers too. So we thought about an information kiosk, which is not an innovation in itself. As a first step the project will provide computers and internet access with capacity building for community members so that they can start engaging with their parliamentarians.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Interview about GAINS

We did an interview with Clement Entsua-Mensah, Director of CSIR-NSTI about the experiences of the Ghana Agriculture Information Network Systems. The video is about 7 minutes long. Here's a summary of the interview:

Question: What is the objective of GAINS?

To provide information support to the agricultural sector, the research and academic community.

Question: How many institutes do you work with?

13 research institutes, 5 faculties of agriculture and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Question: In how far have you achieved your objective?

GAINS has been able to provide for the information needs of the research and academic community with the help of CTA, IICD and KIT the Netherlands. We provide databases for researchers, and other stakeholders including farmers and extension workers. One problem we had is that we can not provide information to the farmers, but have relied on intermediaries like FM community radio stations and agricultural information centers.

Question: How have the databases helped the researchers and extension workers to do their work?

The Ghana Agricultural Information Research Database is a historical database with regards to journals and articles. Most of the times we only have the abstracts. Often researchers want the full text then we order it for them. We use the TILL database, if the article is not there we search in the other databases, otherwise we go to KIT in the Netherlands.

Question: What would you advise a similar project in another country?

GAINS' experience shows that building a network should start from the building blocks, the partner institutions. Once the partners buy into the idea, they become more committed and feel part of it. We had a situation where the coordinating centre had to go out and encourage the partner organisations. Some institutes were more endowed than others. We had to advocate for resource for them to participate more effectively. As far as other organisations are concerned: building a network requires commitment of the partner institutions.

Question: What would you do differently next time?

Next time we'd have to sign contracts and get stakeholders and partner institutions to be seen as shareholders. Have to give some input and then you can reap some benefit. As partners there must be an input and output.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Ghana Information Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS), an ICT and knowledge sharing network finds it interesting and necessary to have a blog to share with members in the ICT4D community.
This blog will feature ICT4D stories in Ghana and will create links to the website of the network.GINKS blog will regularly be updated after every forthnight and we invite everybody to read from this post.