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BloggingGhana Members in a pose at MEST, Ghana Campus

Ghana’s first organization for Social Media users, BloggingGhana announces its five year anniversary.

BloggingGhana started with eight members back in July 2008 and has since met monthly and today lists 250 blogs and has 40 active members.

Highlights include founding Ghana’s first Social Media Awards, moderating online discussions around the 2012 elections through the Ghana Decides project and holding social media workshops for organizations around the country including the yearly BlogCamp conference.

Co-founder and Chair of BloggingGhana, Kajsa Hallberg-Adu says:

I am happy the group of individuals that came together in 2008 is today a tool for positive change in Ghana. We have just concluded the Ghana Decides project which by all measures was a success and we are in the planning stage for upcoming projects using technology for more voices to be heard. We also welcome new members!

The anniversary is celebrated with a birthday party on Sat 21 Sept, 2013 together with Bless The Mic, a platform for upcoming artists in Ghana, also celebrating five years.

Bless The Mic will be celebrating with a string of events starting the same weekend. At the party BloggingGhana’s new aggregator website will be launched.

Learn more about BloggingGhana on BloggingGhana.org or follow us on Facebook.com/bloggingghana or on Twitter @BloggingGhana

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Kajsa Hallberg-Adu – Kajsa@bloggingghana.org or Edward Amartey-Tagoe – Edward@bloggingghana.org

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National Volunteer Day is being instituted by the GhanaThink Foundation to come off every September 21st in Ghana. The initiative is to get as many people as possible in Ghana to volunteer their time or do community service on the Founder’s Day Holiday. While volunteerism is not very popular and part of our society’s fabric, many individuals and organizations volunteer occasionally. National Volunteer Day is to increase these numbers and unify efforts in volunteerism in Ghana.

The mission of the GhanaThink Foundation, a Ghana and US based NGO, is to mobilize talent and support idea generation to projects and ventures. Through our Barcamps, we have built a network of over 3000 Ghanaian change makers, doers and entrepreneurs through 20 events in Ghana. We want to use this network and other channels to build a bigger network of volunteers in Ghana. We believe volunteerism is the heart of community development.

We want to encourage more people to do community service within Ghana. That’s the same spirit our founding fathers engendered within our citizenry. By having volunteer or community service activities on September 21, we would be cherishing the ideals of founding Ghana and joining a national effort to work for Ghana. Volunteering demonstrates initiative and hard work, two ideals that many organizations look for while hiring. We believe that by participating in NVDay, participants would be building their CVs.

Different individuals and organizations have planned volunteer activities for September 21st. Utopia Wishlist is organizing a kids career fair in Omanjor near Accra. Some others are greening a school in Madina while others paint schools in East Legon, also in Accra. Some friends are gathering other friends to donate blood on NVDay in Accra and Tamale while others gather to clean up a taxi rank in Ashaiman. Young people are coming together to mentor SHS students in Kumasi while others organize a reading clinic for orphanage kids in Kasoa.

We expect at least 233 different activities on the day. You can find info about these activities and more on nvday13.eventbrite.com. If you need more info on what to do or how to contribute to National Volunteer Day, visit the same link. Interested groups,organizations and individuals should register/RSVP at the National volunteer Day eventbrite website (nvday13.eventbrite.com). National Volunteer Day 2013 has the following media partners – The Diva Show on TV3, Focus 94.3 FM, Sunsum 98.7 FM, Anidado 97.9 FM and MPWR Show on Y 107.9 FM. Join us to move Ghana forward.

Stay tuned via our social media. Twitter Facebook Google+

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Chale Wote Street Art FestivalGoing to Jamestown almost always creates mixed feelings for me, for different reasons. First of all, it is supposed to be my hometown, yet I never visit the area or go there to find out what shape my great-grandparents’ house is in. Extending this argument may lead to a very important discussion about what should be defined a one’s ‘hometown’? But that is a discussion we should delve in onto another day. The second reason behind my mixed feeling situation is the explosion behind the major event which has been held there since 2011; Chale Wote 2013.

On Sept 7th and 8th the 3rd annual CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival takes place in James Town . The festival is produced by ACCRA [dot] ALT in association with The Foundation for Contemporary Art – Ghana, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Institut Français, Alliance Française, Dr. Monk, No Limits Charity, Absolut Vodka, CitiFM, BloggingGhana and The Attukwei Art Foundation.

I was touched by the previous Chale Wote Festival where Generik Vapeur and his team of blue-faced French masqueraders drummed barrels in a rhythmic fashion of the streets lining the James and Usher Forts. It was a unique and an entertaining version of what I usually see on Tv. So when the Accra dot Alt organisers mentioned this year’s Chale Wote Street Art Festival would go beyond a day….oh boy was I crystallised in happiness. As a member of one of the partnering groups, BloggingGhana, I was also tasked with documenting this historic event on the popular social media platforms. We recounted the happenings of the event on twitter, took photographic accounts and posted them on Google+, Facebook and Instagram. Though I was on duty, my responsibilities never stopped me from consuming and enjoying the exciting bits of this art festival, and that makes the work of a blogger more enjoyable!

Frankly it was just too touch to taste and experience all the many pockets of art and entertainment spots scattered on the Attah-Mills Highway right by the sea. There was al lot attendees could benefit from. From the line-up of local accessories and designs at the bazaar to the lighthouse with an overview of Accra. I liked every bit of it. The part which got me wanting more was, the People I met. After every step, there would someone you knew or who knew you who would offer to catch up on an old conversation or just say hi. For me as always that has been the icing on the Chale Wote Cake considering all the 3 sessions I have attended since 2011.

I also admired the way the organizers made a conscious effort to offer the cross section of attendees something interesting. At the light-house end of the highway was the Children’s village set up to engage the younger IMG_7138generation, there was a beach jam in the evening of the second day to appease the twerk-loving folks. And oh yea, there was an opportunity for individuals with talent to exhibit such gifts in many different ways, from artists to entrepreneurs. Such events were mixed with discussion points, sports, music and dance.

Finally I feel the Art Festival would have been a lot for amazing for many more if we had found a way to control the over-energized kids whose community we had invaded. Some of the got so interested in the event they started engaging some of the visitors in a way a few of them were not too comfortable with. I see this to be a major challenge the Accra dot Alt team would have to go round, especially because they have the same right to be a part of the event as anyone else. I feel the next Chale Wote will reduce some of these Challenges and see Chale Wote rise to become a national Festival if not an International one.

For see more from the Festival, Check our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ Pages.
If you were at the event, share with us, let us know what you think.

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If you were on Twitter this past weekend and following tweets from Ghana, my bet is you saw one or two photos, vines, tweets or retweets from Chale Wote 2013. Chale Wote is a street arts festival organized annually in Jamestown, Accra and brings art, music, dance & performance out into the streets & public spaces.

When Edward and I talked about attending Chale Wote 2013, I didn’t know what to expect. Haven missed the last two, I was full of expectations and it didn’t disappointment. I was totally blown away! The art, installations, music, level of detail kept a smile on my face.

Day 1 was fun–packed with all the murals going up on the walls. It was really amazing that from the Old Kings Way to Ga Mashie Development Agency (GAMADA), there was art everywhere; on the walls,on the streets and on the gleeful faces. The installations were fascinating and it was even more refreshing to see the children of Jamestown help with the murals and other activities. Nii Thompson’s art stole the show for me and got me thinking and taken the conversation beyond the two days. By looking at the the pictures below, can you guess what story the artist is trying to tell?

Chale Wote 3

ChaleWote

Highlight of day 2 for me was the Talk Party series with Blogging Ghana. In the words of my cousin, “I didn’t just have fun, I got educated.” The panel moderated by Kobina Graham was as real as it can get. The honesty in their submissions and the knowledge shared is worth sharing with others. Mae-Ling Lokko even went ahead to suggest a pocket park which she built had failed and she had taken lessons from it. That is not something we hear often at events.

I cannot forget the street boxing on Day 2. I kept nodding and saying to myself; so, this is how old world champions Azumah Nelson & Ike Quartey started. It really brought out the crowd and the young lads had the thirst to be the street champions.

Not even the rain on Sunday could stop Chale Wote. It actually added to the fun bringing back memories of when we used to play in the rain growing up. That make it a lot more fun for me. I never get to walk in the rain as much as I would like to.

Like all other events, Chale Wote has a lot of room for improvement. ACCRA [dot] ALT, organizers of Chale Wote can look at providing (more) trash bins. Although a company was contracted to clean up, I think having trash bins all over would be a better option.

Just as Seton Nicholas on the Talk Party panel remarked, we shouldn’t be surprised to see people from the sub-region and beyond jump on planes and buses to come see Chale Wote in the coming. I can’t wait for what the organizers got coming next year. Chale Wote is indeed an international festival in the making.

Check out BloggingGhana’s images from the event and see you at Chale Wote 2014.

Art by Julian Nicco-Annan

Art by Julian Nicco-Annan

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ACCRA, 28 August 2013: Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of The ONE Campaign and (RED), met with Ghanaian entrepreneurs to hear how technology is transforming Ghana and discussed ways in which digital innovation can spur economic development and increase transparency in health, agriculture and government services.

Approximately 70 people joined the session at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), including internationally renowned Ghanaian business leaders and entrepreneurs such as Bright Simons of mPedigree, Edward Amartey-Tagoe of Nandimobile and Eyram Tawia of Leti Games.
Bono was joined at the visit by a diverse delegation of leaders from the international policymaking, business and creative communities who are traveling with him in Ghana as part of a ONE/(RED) listening and learning trip to the region.

Bono said: “Technology can play a huge part in eradicating extreme poverty. As well as building thriving businesses, it can be used to battle corruption by helping citizens hold corporations and governments to account. Transparency is the best vaccine against corruption, and harnessing the talent of these tech-savvy innovators could dramatically change the game against those trying to game the system.”

Bono and ONE have been working over the past few years with African partners on the fight for greater transparency and accountability in development, with a focus on increasing transparency in the extractives industry, and on how to increase international investment in Africa.

The group at Meltwater also discussed how technology can serve as a tool to ensure grassroots voices are heard as the future of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are discussed. The MDGs, created by former UN secretary general, Ghanaian Kofi Anan and adopted in 2000, are a set of globally-agreed development goals that aim to halve extreme poverty and hunger and massively reduce disease by 2015. As that deadline approaches, world leaders are debating what should follow. It is important that the voices of the citizens in developing nations are heard in this process. ONE’s ‘You Choose’ campaign used mobile technology to ask people in South Africa, Zambia and Malawi what their priorities are for the future.

Jorn Lyseggen, Founder and CEO of Meltwater and MEST, added that “MEST was started on the fundamental belief that technology entrepreneurship is one Africa’s most exciting untapped opportunities. We are proud that Bono and one.org chose MEST as the venue to discuss how tech can help address Africa’s challenges”.
Earlier today, the group also visited the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital to see the difference being made by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. (RED), which partners with corporations to drive funding to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa, has generated almost US $215 million for the Global Fund to date.
Prior to arriving in Ghana yesterday, the group was in Liberia meeting with local leaders in government, business, healthcare and the energy sector. Bono and members of the ONE / (RED) team met President Sirleaf in Monrovia and President Mahama in Accra.

About ONE: ONE is a grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support effective policies and programs that are saving lives, helping to put kids in school and improving futures. Strictly nonpartisan, ONE works closely with African activists and policy makers and achieves change by building popular and political support for government funding of effective programs such as the Global Fund and PEPFAR. ONE is not a grant-making organization, and it does not solicit funding from the public. To learn more, go to ONE.org/Africa.
About (RED): (RED) was created in 2006 to engage the corporate sector in the fight against AIDS in Africa by partnering with businesses who contribute up to 50% of their profits from (RED)-branded goods and services to fight AIDS through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. To date, (RED) has generated close to $215million for the Global Fund, with 100% of the money going to work on the ground, impacting the lives of over 14 million people.

About MEST: The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and the MEST Incubator program provide training, investment and mentoring for aspiring software entrepreneurs with the goal of creating globally successful companies that create wealth and jobs locally in Africa.
MEST is based in Accra, Ghana and is fully funded and run by Meltwater Group through the non-profit organization, Meltwater Foundation
Since 2008 MEST has trained over 100 tech entrepreneurs and has invested over $1.5M in 13 tech start-ups in Ghana. MEST companies have raised external capital, competed in top technology events such as TechCrunch Disrupt, DEMO, and the Launch Festival, and have gained admittance to top accelerator programs such as HealthXL and 500 Startups.

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