“Welcome back to Ghana and to the IHAV conference 2019. Hello Limitless Fash.” That’s the sentence that flashed in my mind on the 24th of July, 2019. It’s always a delight for me to visit Ghana. I am not sure exactly what it is, but there is always a fine little smile blushing inside of me.
This time, I went for a conference that is dear to my heart and the work I do – Education (in every form of it). In 2019, I decided that I will no longer wait to get fully funded opportunities to take it on.
After all, the folks that fund others’ trips are just human beings like me. Why can’t I fund myself too and begin to live in the consciousness of funding others (especially international travels) in the future?
My trip to Ghana made it the 4th Country I visited in 2019 (My plan was to visit at least 5 before the end of the year).
I was selected to attend the 4th IHAV Conference, organized by IHAV Foundation. It held from July 24th to 27th, 2019 at the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra Ghana. IHAV means ‘I have a Vision’ and the theme of the conference was SDGoal 4: Quality Education. For $70 (300 Ghana Cedi), we were camped for 4 days, fed and given conference writing materials.
The expected outcome of the conference was:
– to give participants a better understanding of the global goals and the roles we can play in achieving them with emphasis on goal 4.
– Increased interest to actively engage in current economic and continental (global) issues.
– Heightened responsibility to apply their learnings to be the best they can be and increase their productivity and creativity.
– Greater knowledge and appreciation of other African countries and cultures.
– Break cultural diversity and political barriers through teamwork and regional collaborations to tackle issues that are common to our communities and region
– Make young people critical thinkers and innovative problem solvers (employable).
I had an awesome time learning, sharing, listening (mostly), unlearning and relearning and some of the major highlights for me were:
– The visit to the former president of Ghana
He had a 90 minutes conversation with us and there were pretty loads of wisdom that he shared.
One powerful insight he hinted on that will stay with me for a long time is:
‘It is easier to become a President than the Chief of a  community. If you have money and your goons that have influence, anyone can become a President. To be a Chief, you may not have money or goons, but just a worthy character’
That struck me really hard. After the conversation, it dawned on me that it is better to have all it takes (be it money, influential goons and worthy character) to birth the change that you want to see in the world.
– Panelist sessions
There were some panelist sessions that came through as spicy and enchanting.
I noted points such as, ‘structure your business and initiatives in a way that it can withstand any policies for the next 100 years. Don’t create it to bend to political rules – it changes too often’
– Visit to the Ghana Innovation Hub
I find it interesting that tech and innovation are spreading in different places across Africa. I didn’t find it unusual to see that Accra has an innovation hub, with information sessions and other programs running in there.
Most innovation hubs are found in the cites and usually several of them are found in the capital or major cities. There is a need to spread innovation hubs, like Prikkle Academy is doing, to grassroots communities, to decentralized innovation.
– The Visit to Ghana Art Center.
The hands of these artists and creatives had perfect synchronization with their head. You can’t exhaust the brilliance and creative energy that is put in every day by different men and women to make indigenous art wears and designs.
One thing that I found interesting is, as a creative you also need to have business acumen. What is the point of being able to create phenomenal designs but unable to sell it?
I fell that the men and women here should be leveraging on digital tools and resources to get the exposure, leads and revenue they deserve from their creation.
– The project creation and pitching session.
I have been to a number of conferences and one other thing that I loved about the IHAV conference 2019 was the idea of creating a completely new project that should be implementable with a team.
I was in group 4 and we came up with a fine way of putting the learning responsibility on the learners (students – teenagers).
In many developing countries, it is usual to hear about all the things that don’t make education (schooling, basically) to make sense – lack of government’s funding, infrastructures, teachers absenteeism and so on.
My group was tired of joining the bandwagon, rehearsing and retelling the same narrative of education. For us, we wanted to pull the students off the seats and allow them to move to the steering position of their own learning – after all, they had been doing this informally all these years.
We also wanted to create a simple and interesting way for parents to actively participate in the education of their children. I am impressed with the zeal of my group (made up of 4 Nigerians and 2 Ghanaians) to finally birth the idea and presentation it to the own participants.
We were the runners-up winner. This gives our idea access to seed funding, mentoring and other resources that will help us to make a pilot phase, then we can scale things going forward. I can’t wait to see what my team and I will be able to make out of this idea. I am super pumped about it and I will be happy to give it what it takes to make it grow.
– Looking Forward: Flowing Ideas
I am glad that IHAV Conference team asked us for suggestions on how to keep the professional bond, and friendship alive.
Some of the points raised were good and it included:
+ Continuous check-in on the participants (peer to peer and by IHAV Africa.
+ Connect via Emails, Whatsapp, Skype and other means.
+ Set periodic goals that can be achieved together.
+ Share resources that can help participants look forward to wanting to reconnect.
On that note, the conference ended on Saturday 27th July and I had a quick outing to see an old-time friend, Femi Jegede and fulfilled a promised visit to Naomi.
See you again, Ghana! See you again IHAV Conference.
Side Note:
I had a rough (extremely slow and sluggish) trip with Chisco Transport when I was going for this trip to Accra from Lagos.
A trip that ought to start at 7:30 am, finally left at 11 am. That bus didn’t reach Badagry until 6:00 pm from Mazamaza park. No, No holdups too, just sheer sluggishness and unnecessary stopovers.
Got to Benin Republic at 8:53 pm We finally got to Accra at 11:45 am the next day. That’s a whole freaking day, a trip that was supposed to be just 10-13 hours.
Recommendation: Go with Chisco buses that leave as early as 3 am from Lagos to Accra, instead of the ones that leave after 6 am.