Blogging and Your Place under the Baobab

On September 17th I will kick off a three-part webinar series for Kabissa: Engaging Blogging for African Civil Society.

In Africa (so I've learned) kings, elders, and leaders would hold meetings under baobabs to discuss important matters. So when I created a graphic for webinar series on blogging, I chose the baobab as a symbol.

In my career I have lived in Africa and have worked in several African countries, and I have worked with many African organizations.

However, the truth is that I have never participated in a meeting under a baobab tree. Whatever it is that those kings, elders, and leaders are discussing under those trees, they have never seen fit to invite me to these discussions.

Not pictured: me.

Meeting_under_a_baobab_tree.jpg

Why not? I'm sort of a smart guy. I know stuff.

The serious answer to the silly question is this: Nobody is going to ask me to share my wisdom under any tree unless I have been visibly engaged in a community over time demonstrating expertise, talent -- something of value to that community.

Blogging can be a valuable part of your communication strategy. Your organization does important work, doesn’t it? With blogging, you can reach and engage with the audiences who should know about the work that you do. Blogging can help to inform and remind people that you belong under the baobab tree, at the policy table, in the planning sessions, or in the implementation phase.

In the webinar series, we will talk about how to write and publish and disseminate effective content that will build audience and authority for your organization.

Regardless of the blogging platform you use, you can increase the impact of the posts you publish.

This series will cover writing, strategy, and some technical how-to. The lessons learned in the first two sessions will be applied when participants post on Blog Action Day, Oct 16 2014.

Blog Action Day is an opportunity to bring new readers to your blog, when bloggers around the world will publish on the topic of inequality.

The third session will cover evaluation the success of your blog following Blog Action Day, and going forward.

Click Here to Register for the Webinar >>

Click Here to Register for Blog Action Day >>

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Baobab graphic © Nevit Dilmen [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Baobab photo © ACEI Cheung [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kabissa Roundtable event featured in official CiviCRM Newsletter

Thank you CiviCRM for featuring Kabissa in the CiviCRM Newsletter and in this blog post crossposted below from the CiviCRM case studies and user stories blog. Kabissa and CiviCRM go way back so we appreciate the honor!

This attention is also timely - we are keen to bring more CiviCRM wizards on board as volunteers so if anyone reading this has spare cycles or an interest to join a great and fun volunteer team longer term please contact me ASAP. The next project we are starting up right now is to upgrade our kabissa.org platform (both Drupal and CiviCRM) and also improve our setup by shifting as much of our custom workflows and functionality as possible to core... hopefully without breaking anything! We also are grappling with a database cleanup process at the moment which is a fun challenge for a CiviCRM savvy database wrangler. Erik has created some pretty nifty scripts to semi-automate the process of figuring out who is active and who needs to be contact to update their details, but there is still alot of manual work to do. Beyond that we would very much like to update our newsletter templates, donation forms, event registration forms, and more fully configure CiviCRM's advanced features including the newish CiviVisualize so we are better able to deliver on our mission to connect and empower African civil society organizations - and show our impact while we are at it. Good stuff. 

I was not aware that Friends of the Earth International is also using CiviCRM to raise funds for their important Ebola fighting efforts in Liberia. That is great to see and I really hope they are successful - the Ebola situation is really scary and I have friends and colleagues in affected countries that I worry about. 

CIVICUS, the other organization besides MSF South Africa that we featured in our roundtable about CiviCRM is actually a very interesting use case and I'm sorry it was not included in the newsletter after all - do take a look at the Kabissa forum post about the roundtable to learn about how CIVICUS uses CiviCRM to power their membership system which is rather sophisticated. They have "Associate" and "Voting" membership levels for both individuals and organizations, and provide signup forms for all of these levels directly on their website - getting this right is hard and they seem to have done so. 

Please note that the two stunning photos attributed to Kabissa in the newsletter are actually from Kabissa members. Mozambikes won the Kabissa photo competition (photo on Flickr) with that amazing photo of a cyclist in Mozambique transporting more coal one would think is possible. The Maasai Girls Education Fund is the source of the photo of the Maasai meeting, which they used among many other great photos in an update back in 2010.

5th African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AFPIF): 26-28 August 2014, Dakar

The 5th African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AFPIF) will be held over a 3-day period in August 2014 in Dakar, Senegal to discuss the future of peering in an era where the cost of transit is declining. The event will also seek to discuss regional interconnection dynamics and content issues that are critical components of transit deficits.

Applications due this Friday, 8/8 for MOTECH Suite workshop in Accra, Ghana

Hi everyone,

Dimagi and Grameen Foundation are hosting the first ever MOTECH Suite workshop from August 27-29 in Accra, Ghana! Applications are due this Friday, August 8th (http://www.commcarehq.org/workshops/ghana2014/). 

MOTECH Suite (http://motechsuite.org/) is an open source software platform that enables organizations to deploy and manage a wide range of mobile health applications. MOTECH Suite is being developed to deliver economies of scale by supporting multiple use cases to be scaled on the same platform, and by supporting integration to national information and reporting systems.

The goals of the workshop are to: 
- Build a community of mHealth implementers in Ghana
- Share best practices & strategies for mHealth projects running at scale
- Enable participants to be leaders in mHealth within their organizations
- Introduce attendees to MOTECH Suite's array of tools, including CommCare, CommTrack, CommConnect, and core MOTECH systems
- Share case studies about regional mHealth programs and how they use mobile technology

Workshop Details: 
- Dates: Wednesday, August 27th through Friday, August 29th
- Time: 9:00AM -- 5:00PM
- Location: Kofi Annan Center for Excellence in ICT
- Who should attend? Directors, program managers, and heads of departments from NGOs, IGOs, funding organizations, research institutions, and government agencies
- Language: The workshop will be run in English
- Workshop fee: $75 for the entire workshop. Lunch and coffee will be provided daily. - Per diems or travel stipends are not available. 

For those interested in attending, please submit your application by this Friday, August 8, 2014 (http://www.commcarehq.org/workshops/ghana2014/). Attendance will be limited to 35 participants.

Please refer any questions you have about this workshop and similar workshops to [email protected]

Thanks, 
Gillian

Promoting Net Neutrality: Full Report of Seminar by I-Vision in Cameroon and Upcoming Seminar

A capacity building seminar was organized in Douala-Cameroon on the 18th of July 2014 at hotel Lewat by I-Vision International with the theme: Promoting Net Neutrality through multi stakeholder capacity building and dialogue. Forty two participants were trained on the concept of Net Neutrality including its historical background, how to detect abuse, its importance and impact if it is not mentioned.

This is one in a series of seminars to be organized in a project funded by the Web we Want campaign.

EACO Promoting Bee Keeping in Uganda, you can Join the Team!

EACO has empowered rural vulnerable people with knowledge and skills in beekeeping, as a way of addressing rural poverty and general health issues and to provide them with a set of basic tools and support to help them get off the poverty trap.

We are so happy for this project, you can also join us for phase 2 where we want to purchase the items that will be used while harvesting. Volunteers can also join to train, students can join the team.

Photos on Facebook

Anyone can help!

Farm work

Are you interested in working with animals, bees? By special arrangement you might be able to join our farm team. We have a dedicated Monday to Friday group who support the farmer and new opportunities occasionally arise.

Gardening

Do you have green fingers and like to work outside in a beautiful setting? Or maybe you’re just keen to join in and learn. We currently have a gardening club. Tasks include weeding, planting and maintaining the market garden, and so on.

Beekeeping

Are you interested in joining our bee team? An enthusiasm for bees and honey production and a regular commitment is all you need. The bee team do valuable work for the bees as well as for us… Learn how to maintain the hives on the farm – we give full training.

Broadening our Horizons

Africa is at the tipping point where we all need to get our acts together and push our limits. As we work with the youths especially, we must make them realize that we can go from an aid recieving continent to an aid giving one.

From the reports that are posted by organizations, we know that what is missing is not the ability to develop mentally and technologically that is lacking but it is the enabling environment to expand our horizon. We must not be so discouraged by the great inventions that have been accomplished by others that we now think there is nothing more to invent.

Every era is faced with these limitations where people think that human society cannot pass a certain level only for inventions and discoveries to break bring down these walls. As we repair bicycles and make use of second hand computers and other donated items, let us look at how we can use these as leverage for our own contribution to better the human existence.

LOOK BEYOND WHAT YOU SEE AND IMAGINE WHAT YOU CAN ADD.

The Bicycle Project: Making a Difference in the Lives of Children in Ghana

HuD Afrika is a humanitarian organization with the primary goal of serving the interest of the poor and the vulnerable from all walks of life in partnership with development minded forces, while constantly seeking innovative approaches to responding to the dynamics of human development. The project is run in collaboration with the Bosomtwe District Education Directorate of Ghana Education Services.

As part of our objectives to ease access to education for school children in rural communities, HuD Afrika partnered with the Village Bicycles Project of USA to support school children with quality used bicycles at highly subsidized cost. This project aims at offering high quality used bicycles at subsidized prices to school children in primary and junior high schools of rural communities around Lake Bosomtwe in Ashanti region of Ghana. The bicycle project activities involves:

  • Community sensitization
  • Workshops on bicycle mechanics
  • Bicycle Distribution, and
  • Sustainability visits

The programme begins with community sensitization and participant registration.

There are technical workshops run to develop the capacity of the bicycle beneficiaries to be able to care, maintain and carry out minor repairs on the bikes. All beneficiaries learn how to fix punctures, service the chain, fix pedals and general care for the bicycles. As a rule, all bicycle beneficiaries go through the workshop before a bicycle is given finally distributed as part of the workshop graduation ceremony.

The bicycle distribution to the graduates of the bicycle workshop is only part of the process but not an end in itself. Below is a graduation class and after this session the students take a ride home.

After the ceremony the student ride home as proud owners of quality bicycle and the sustainability visits by the HuD Afrika continues. Please click on the icon below and ride home with the students who through this Bicycle Project have improved access to education.

Phishing alert: Beware fake emails asking for your passwords!

From two members today I was asked about exactly the same email purporting to be from "our tech support team" and asking for confidential information that should never be shared by email to anyone, ever. If you received this message, please just delete it - don't even bother responding. And definitely do not do as it says and respond with password information. 

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