By Mawutodzi K. Abissath
Indeed, the popular adage that “Rome was not built in a day” is a universal truism. Even the Supreme Creator Him/Herself, who could have created the world in a second, took seven long days to accomplish the task of creation, according to scriptures.
|M.K.Abissath, Workshop Facilitator|
It is against this backdrop that the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) of the Ministry of Communications, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Ministry of Information and the United Nations Fund for Development (UNDP) a two-day capacity building workshop for District Information Officers (DIOs) and CIC Managers in Accra.
Held under a broad theme of Capacity Building in Digital Content Creation and Management at the District Level, the workshop brought together 40 participants made up of one DIO and one CIC Manager each drawn from selected 20 districts where the CICs are reported to be doing well.
Basically, the objective of the workshop was to update and upgrade the knowledge and skills of DIOs and Managers of CICs to enable them to put to good use new Desktop television equipment that was procured by GIFEC for their respective CICS for the benefit of the rural people with their designated communities.
The Desktop television is a multimedia facility that will enable CICs to telecast relevant socio-economic activities, development news, educational campaigns as well as entertainment and recreational events being organized by the people and for the enjoyment of people themselves at with their communities in their own districts.
The Desktop television technology is an innovative multimedia facility that does not need internet connectivity to operate. It can be used broadcast locally created contents using basic tools such as digital cameras for information gathering, multimedia packaging in audio-visual, text and photograph to tell interesting stories as well do business with the outside world if networked.
Thus, for the DIOs and CIC Managers to acquire the needed skills to make maximum use of the technology, they were taken through digital content creation techniques such as blogging, basic video documentary production, writing for the web, photo editing and video editing techniques and how to upload pictures to illustrate stories on their own blogs.
Even though there have been some technological challenges because one or two participants, especially DIOs were having the opportunity to use the computer for the first time, majority of demonstrated they were up to the task.
This was reflected in their output when the workshop was broken for group work. At the end of it all participants were able within the short span of 48 hours created blogs and produced short video documentaries after the hands-exercise. As a matter of fact, two days was extremely too short a period to master any new technology. But the creativity and ingenuity of the participants was amply demonstrated for what they were able to display within the time constraint.
Brightening the Corner where you are
|Hon. Kofi Attoh, CEO, GIFEC|
Mr. Kofi Attoh, Chief Executive Administrator of the GIFEC, who formally brought down the curtain on the two-day workshop on Wednesday, 27th June 2012 at the Ghana Multimedia Incubator Centre (GMIC) here in the capital city of Accra, advised DIOs and CIC Managers to endeavour to add value to their respective CICs for the benefit of their communities and for their own self-actualisation. “You must brighten the corner where you are,” Mr. Koffi Attoh counseled them.
According to Mr. Attoh, the selection of workshop participants was not done, as he put it, on the basis of a ‘coin-tossing’ fashion as in the case of two football captains to determine who plays from right to left and vice versa. “You have been selected from among 93 other operational CICs to be trained because GIFEC, and for that matter, Government has provided your Centres with Desktop Television equipment in addition to the usual computers and internet facilities at your Centres,” he noted.
Mr. Attoh explained that the first 20 Desktop television equipment were procured at very high cost and distributed free of charge to the CICs that were deemed to be doing well. This, he said was to enable them to display the activities, programmes and development projects taking place in their Municipal, Metropolitan and District Assemblies (MMDAs) for the information, education and entertainment of the rural brothers and sisters, especially the youth.
The GIFEC Boss intimated participants were brought to Accra for training so that they would know how to use the new technology to serve its intended purpose. “If you provide equipment or gadgets for the CICs and the people don’t know how to use them, then its better you did not acquire them in the first place,” he pointed out.
Mr. Kofi Attoh said efforts were being made to provide the new technology to other CICs in due course. Hon. Attoh tossed the idea for GIFEC to consider sponsoring some DIOS and CIC Managers for further training courses at the Ghana Institute of Public Administration (GIMPA) and other institutions of higher learning to upgrade their knowledge and skills to enhance their academic and professional competencies.
Mr. Attoh urged the DIOs to explore the potential of ICT platforms to promote and project investment opportunities, tourism attractions, the economic activity, festivals, and unique cultural heritage of their respective districts to be uploaded on their districts blogs or websites to be accessed globally to attract investors and tourists to their communities.
“The world is at your doorstep, must bring investors and tourists to district blogs or websites to see your farm produce and other cash crops available in your districts. You must tell your story to world while at the same time informing and educating your people to know development activities taking place in and around them,” he stressed.
Mr. Kofi Attoh advised the CIC managers to collaborate with DIOs by using their technical know-how to support them when they create the local content for it to be uploaded on the blogs become more accessible globally.
The GIFEC Boss urged CIC Managers to be proactive and innovative in the day to day running of the Centres. This, he said they must do in collaboration with expected CIC governing committees including DIOs, District Planning Officers, District Budget Officers,Traditional Authorities, Women Groups as well as some Community Based Non-governmental Organisations.
“You must endeavour to sensitise your Municipal, Metropolitan and District Assembly (MMDAs) members, government officials, farmers, traders, fisher folks, teachers, students, especially the youth on the use of the internet and its advantages and benefits.
“When mountain does come to David, David must go to the mountain,” so to speak, philosophised Mr. Attoh. He gingered the CIC Managers not to sit down with their hands in their laps, lamenting that people are not coming to their Centres to do business.
“You must communicate and educate the people about the internet as a two-way process in which data and information are sent and received between two and more parties. It is your duty to tell the people how knowledge and understanding the use of data and information can lead to their own empowerment and improvement of their standard of living standards,” Mr. Attoh opined.
For example, if the farmer or fisherman has information about more competitive prices of their produce in Kumasi than Accra, they would prefer selling the goods and services to the highest bidder. “And this will make them earn more income to pay their children’s school fees and live about life.”
The GIFEC Chief Administrator, therefore, urged DIOs and CIC Managers to put on their thinking cup and search for new and innovative ways to harness the power of the Information Technology (IT) to enhance the economic, social, cultural, educational and development objective of the people at the grassroots level to minimise the incidence of urban-rural migration or exodus in search non-existing greener pastures and their consequences including wrongdoings.
Mr. Attoh that pointed out that this explains why Government is making tremendous efforts at using ICT and innovative ways to address the some of the multiple challenges confronting rural populations under a single roof, providing simple, single-point access to information and services to rural people though the Community Information Centres.
|Alhaji Botingnaa Alhansan, LGS|
Alhaji Botingnaa M.B.Alhansan, Coordinating Director of Local Government Services (LGS), disclosed the Local Government Service Council has adopted ICT policy to ensure that local government services are automated and computerised to promote local and national development strategies.
According to Alhaji Alhasan, the Local Government Service in collaboration with UNDP is working to provide internet access to district assemblies nationwide to automate human resource data for efficient and effective human resource management for better planning and implementation of policies.
The Local Government Service Coordinating Director has revealed that the Service has adopted a new scheme of service for IT technicians to help retain them the public service. “A career path in IT and Information management Systems can be taken at Local Government Service with clear opportunities for progression,” hinted.
Alhaji Alhasan told participants that the basic entry point for the ICT category staff is “Data Entry Clerk through Assistant Director of Management Information Systems to Director Management Information Systems,” he concluded.
Ms. Vivian Ayeboah, CIC Manager for Ga East Municipal Assembly, Greater Accra, who was elected Class Captain spoke on behalf of course participants. He was full of praise for the organisers of the programme, and assured GFEC that they knowledge they acquired would be put to good use.
Ms. Yeboah, however, used the occasion to appeal to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to impress on MMDAs to effectively involve DIOs and CIC Managers in all their activities and programmes to enable them obtain relevant data and information for video documentation and blogging for the benefit of visitors to the Community Information Centres.
Mr. Philip Prempeh, GIFEC, Mr. Mawutodzi Abissath, ISD/Ministry of Information, Mr. Truth Lumor, UNDP and Mr. Kudjo Tsiagbe, Integrated Multi-Media served as workshop Facilitators. Topics treated included Digital Content Creation at the District Level, Web Development and Content Management, Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management and Desktop Television Operation at the CICs.
Chick here to view more pictures of the workshop
Story and Photographs by M.K.Abissath Deputy Director/Head of IT, ISD, Ministry of Information