I remember the inspirational efforts of Benin state native in Nigeria, Osaji and the impact he is making single handedly with his Godsent foundation to solve the challenge of every day people. Helping pregnant women get off the streets, paying for the fees of brilliant students to go to school, setting up hard working people on the streets to be more self sustaining and many others. His actions inspire me and his efforts and his use of social media to get help is even awesome.
My heart missed a beat when I was shown images of the Dixcove Methodist Basic School in the Western region of Ghana that is currently a death trap and serves as shelter for many children who are the next generation of Ghana.
So while this is a concern that government should really consider and have it fixed immediately, it as equally a concern of the natives. Today, I want us to look outside of government and see how we can rally support to save this school.
Chances are that, there are many natives of Dixcove living abroad or in the city centers with enough connections to raise an appreciable amount of money to restore the school and champion many other development in the area.
I see that there is enough earth there and I know a company called Hive Earth that can transform that school and build an eco friendly habitat that would be a great learning environment for these kids. The cost of construction is far cheaper than everyday materials, but much sustainable and would serve the purpose.
So let’s not go to the government, let me challenge each of you reading this today to call a friend to call another friend, let’s rally efforts and save those children. Let’s not wait until its too late. When Samuel Kojo Brace did the needful and brought this to the worlds attention, I expected observers from his wall who read the post to all start asking the most fundamental question.
So how do we help fix this challenge, how can we rally resources to fix this. Talk is cheap and if we must speak, at least let’s make it count for something. Talking constructively about it and finding ways to fix the challenge is a sure way of addressing the matter. Now wait, stop, pause and let’s take action. Its all within our reach, we can fix this. Join the #mifridixcove campaign and let’s drive change and development into this area.
Romania Cultural Institute, London
Most people think being an ambassador is am appointment that must be conferred on you by your government to conduct specific assignments in another country to represent its interests. While most of this is true, it is not limited to the scope.
Any one who travels outside their home country first represents that country. This is why when this individual achieves great exploits, the country receives credit as well as get noticed if something unfortunate happens.
I have tried to be a good steward of my country and represented it the best way I know how.
These are a few characteristics every good ambassador should possess.
A good ambassador is trustworthy. The employers, whether those employers are from a school, business or country, need to know that what they share with the ambassador is not shared indiscriminately. Anything shared is to be used judiciously. A steadfast ambassador stays loyal to the employer or country — even when she is not in total agreement or is tempted to switch loyalties.
Mediator and Negotiator
An ambassador must deal with lots of different situations, personalities and political undercurrents. A good ambassador often deals with less than ideal situations and with those who do not wish to come to terms. A productive ambassador knows how to mediate a tense situation and negotiate a compromise that presents a winning situation for all sides.
Enjoys Cultural Diversity
An ambassador who is not afraid of different cultures or people is a definite asset. While some people do not adjust well to situations, including cultures and languages outside their comfort zone, an effective ambassador relishes the opportunities for interaction with those who are different from what he may be used to from his own experiences. A dedicated ambassador quickly picks up on nuances of those with whom he deals with, and learns to work within their cultural framework.
It is critical that a strong ambassador be an effective and clear communicator. The ambassador needs to speak and enunciate clearly. She also must sense how best to communicate what needs to be conveyed, whether this is the stand of her country, a proposal or negotiations. Different cultures may interpret language, idioms and phrasing differently. A good ambassador takes the time to learn how best to communicate with the other party without giving offense. Good communication includes gestures, mannerisms and polite affectations that may mean the difference between a positive or negative exchange.
A good ambassador should have expertise in the area of employment. If a person is asked to be an ambassador for agriculture, for example, he needs to understand the farming community he represents. Furthermore, he needs to understand those with whom he works on a regular basis to convey information from those he represents. A solid ambassador takes the time to learn what is necessary, becoming an expert in the field in which he works as an ambassador.
A good ambassador cares not just about those she represents, but also about those with whom she interacts on a regular basis. She cares about other countries and people. She learns the culture and seeks to integrate into the social framework of those with whom she serves as ambassador.
In a recent conversation that I had with some American business owners, a few things ran through, key to which was the expression. “I have done business with companies for many years and haven’t met any of them physically” While the processes in America and elsewhere has being able to embrace the technological climate and its advancement, the same can’t be told of other places, example Africa.
Its still a cash society and making it a cashless one although many are beginning to embrace it, seems to take the power of being in control as there seem to be a sense of authority when people carried physical cash rather than the virtual currency. The banks introduction of debit cards as a convenient way of carrying cash is embraced by a section of the elite and slowly catching up with the informal sector.
Give you a personal example, I got introduced to a potential business partner and on proximity sake, I schedule a video conference to meet the team for the initial meet and greet and later subsequent deliberations after we had gotten past the initial nondisclosure agreements.
Our initial meeting was very successful and productive and we were able to share many information including documents back and forth, one which we won’t be able to achieve if we had a physical meeting. I think the virtual engagements allows for flexibility and convenience.
So my question is,why is it that people are not responsive to this type of digital change? Well, to answer this question, change isn’t easy, people are usually in a certain comfort zone and getting them to consider another perspective to doing things isn’t something that come easily, but with some resistance.
The world today has over 1.28 billion active users on Facebook, actually considered to be the fourth largest virtual population in the world so we can’t ignore the new age of doing business, where audiovisuals would be the driving force and we would be minimizing considerably the cost of doing business.
The advancement in e-commerce, has chartered this cause and many business especially in the retail space has being conducted with very minimal physical contact.
Companies with offices all over the world, are able to collaborate using various applications and audio visual infrastructure from their various base stations.
So my question is, why isn’t this so responsive in African countries? I would attempt to answer this question from my very perspective and leave you in the comment section to contribute and share your thoughts why this is so.
Well, like any country, I think that the culture has a very strong influence on how business is done and although there has being the adaptation of the new world trends, its acceptance and implementation on the continent is rather gradual than fast.
There has being a lot of improvement in the banking sector for instance to reduce face to face transactions. In Ghana and Kenya, mobile money has being an innovative way to replace the cash system and adapt the virtual reality. In Ghana, some banks have moved a step higher and with a short code, you are able to make a deposit from your mobile money wallet direct into your bank account and vice versa.
There are also third party applications like expresspay and slydepay that is able to allow you carry a lot of online transactions. The express pay platform has a unique feature called bank direct which is able to get you to send money from the platform directly to another bank account.
While there is still a lot of work to be done, some people and businesses still can’t trust in a virtual reality and although they might see an individual or hear their voice, they want to be able to physically engage with each other. While this is the most preferred option, is this still feasible and cost effective in operating in this new global dispensation?
It’s understandable that people would like to build confidence in your brand, be assured with a high level of integrity prior to accepting you as a vendor or a business associate.
Businesses that have seen the need of the new age of technological advancement, have invested also in social media to be an untapped market place and are engaging there to attract the millennial.
The advent of social media however, makes it very easy to connect with people from different backgrounds and is the most familiar and best example of bridging the virtual reality gap where people and businesses can actually connect with each other via this platform and able to find mutual people they know. If in doubt, making reference from mutual contacts is a sure way of authenticating the validity of any business or individual to have clarity with doing business together.