Ghana is full of music, colours, and good vibes. Still, it is safe to say its less connected to the cyber world than Senegal. So how are people communicating?
Mobile phone technology… it’s a communication revolution! The tall tower in the photo background (left) has resulted in impacts from reduced mortality rates to fatter wallets. For example, labour used to be risky for women and newborns, now with a call to the midwife, trained professionals are on hand. Rural producers earn much more money as they call to find out market prices before selling their goods to traders. It is a common sight to see women in the market chatting on phones as they organize collectively to access micro-credit for small businesses. People have much more time to do what they need and want. Where they once traveled long distances by road, foot, bicycle or otherwise to deliver messages, its now only a phone call away. The mobile phone is contributing to wealth, health and a new found freedom.
Internet? This word is still foreign to many people in the countryside. With slow connectivity, few cyber cafes and large distances to travel for a connection, the internet has not made its mark yet in northern Ghana. But, as one interviewee pointed out, “The more you learn about what exists, the more curious you get.” No doubt high speed is on its way.
The question remains, how to bridge the knowledge sharing gap between those who have and those who do not? How can we ensure that learning outside the cyber world is still distilled and disseminated? How can we ensure those not connected receive the learning being communicated across cyber space? How to manage (or not manage?) all these knowledge flows? These are some of the questions floating through my mind as I continue my evaluation journey of an IFAD funded knowledge sharing project.