The digital transformation happening in Walewale and Damongo

Photography by Jr Noble W

Traditional journalism is becoming less and less popular, social media has provided an equal platform for content creators worldwide. Access and opportunities to bring ideas to life are still significant challenges for some content creators, nevertheless, Ghana Tech Lab has given young people in the North of Ghana access and opportunity in the digital space beyond any government intervention.

As Mr James Andrew Lewis rightly said the internet and the digital technologies that create cyberspace are transforming society, business, and politics as people respond to new opportunities online and change their behaviour accordingly.

These effects are reshaping politics and are the result of the nature of the online environment itself, where the combination of technology, information, and instinctive mental processes can unconsciously reshape how people think.

Nearly all the regions in the North of Ghana are benefiting from the base program initiated by Ghana Tech Lab, our team in the newsroom has been invited a couple of times to Northern Innovation Lab and Ivalley Ghana in the last 3 years. These two spaces are beaming with potential and hope, the very existence of the space is influencing social reforms, gender barriers, entrepreneurial innovations etc.

The majority of beneficiaries of this year’s cohort were nursing mothers and senior high school leavers. Speaking with the Co-founder of NIL, Mr Alfred said it was not a deliberate action by the hub to have more nursing mothers in this cohort. According to him, they have always strived to empower everyone in the community in that they find themselves.

The North East region which was carved out of the greater Northern Region less than five years ago, barely three years in the North East Region, Northern Innovation Lab (NIL) have successfully crafted a niche for itself in terms of bridging the digital divide between the urban and rural communities in the region through their innovative approach in introducing digital technology.

September 12th 2020, was an all-girls affair at the maiden edition of the Walewale Startup pitch summit. The amazing thing about the maiden edition was that most of the start-ups who won on the day had no previous ICT knowledge. The target was unemployed graduates but due to COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown, the category of people who took advantage of the opportunity were Senior High School graduates tertiary students, and a few tertiary graduates.

Founded in 2019, ivalley Ghana held its first consultative stakeholder meeting in Damongo on the 10th of June 2021 to discuss the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the newly created Savannah Region. Celebrating 3years of stable growth in the safari city, trainees are redefining and remapping the entire region one step at a time.

Ms Sherifatu, an SHS graduate is leading the crusade in the remapping and positioning of the tourist sites in the savannah region while Sofo Aliu, a nurse by profession is growing food and going green. Under the hub Base Innovation Program and Covid-19 recovery program, digital record-keeping, research into seeds and seedlings, targetting buyers and delivery to clients are basic skills Sofo Aliu has acquired.

Zoori Media was birthed inside Northern Innovation Lab, aimed at Exposing and promoting hidden and already-known tour sites in the North-East Region using the Media, led by the team leader Chris Ato Quamina, whereas Savannah Tours is an initiative co-founded and led by Abubakari Sherifatu.

Both ideas are sustainable thanks to mobile journalism, It is a trend in news covering and broadcasting and has the potential to become the new standard in journalism practice, especially to report breaking news.

With the continuous digital training offered by Ghana Tech Lab through its partners like Ivalley Ghana, Northern Innovation Lab, among others, young people are gradually telling their own stories, deciding which story is worth the nation’s attention, and are in the position to seek accountability if the authority fails.

I just seek to understand why people of the 3 regions of the northern part of Ghana are left behind when it comes to sponsoring events and most other things that can affect the social change we all seem to crave. Most of the big co-operations that actively participate in the celebrations and social interventions initiated to the benefit of southern Ghana operate in the 3 northern regions, so why don’t they take our activities seriously?

There are about 26 traditional festivals in these 3 regions; Are they not worth publicizing or are they not worthy of being associated with any co-operation/s? My interactions with various people who have tried to get a form of sponsorship for activities they initiate around these festivals to suggest seemingly no interest from co-operate Ghana.

 Atigsi Badek

There has been total neglect in the North when issues of tourism is been discussed, even now that we have a tourism ministry headed by a Northerner, there is absolutely nothing to point at with regard to infrastructure or rebranding.

Ibrahim Nayi Issahku in an interview urged Dr Mohammed Awal, minister-designate for tourism, arts and culture to work closely with the founder of the Savannah Centre for Contemporary art. According to Mr Nayi, we must begin to think of reorganizing and rebranding our cultural festivals and also take a critical look at the following potential tourist sites; Adiboo, Cherizong zole, Yeni Dabari, Nyemandu, Namburigu, Bagliga, and many others.

It is undeniable fact that these areas were major sources of our internally generated fund (IGF). The youth as drivers of local development must push and lobby through opinion leaders, politicians, and our chiefs to accept and embrace these initiatives. We must assure them of our full support and cooperation in this proposed initiative

We are confronted with these challenges because the kingdom lacks a well-developed and spacious modern edifice as our cultural centre with a traditional museum to take custody of our valuable cultural assets.

Our current Regional Center for National Culture is abandoned and no development or rehabilitation is seen over the last many decades thereby resulting in the facility not being able to function effectively and efficiently to serve the purpose upon which it was created.

The region has not considered this facility as much important and potential reservoir for the preservation of our traditional cultural expressions and folklore. The entire building has deteriorated to the extent that most activities related to the cultural exhibition and other important ceremonies do not longer take place there due to its current bad state which consequently affects its internally generated funds.

Ibrahim Nayi Issahku

Dagbon has over the years been branded (justifiably or not) as a conflict-prone area, with little to attract tourists and other travellers to the area. This brandishing of Ghana’s oldest kingdom has forced the area and its rich cultural heritage to remain in its shells, with the world unable to appreciate the history of the area, Mr Mumuni Yunus exclaimed.

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