If social media is changing communication patterns in the West, it sure has not fallen short of touching interesting places on the African continent. During the 2008 Ghana Presidential elections, many Ghanaians took to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to share concerns and opinions about the process. When the winner of the race was announced, these same sites became spots for jubilation – at least for supporters of the winning party.
Online celebration events have been scheduled, for instance, after the 2008 U.S. Presidential elections, and thousands of people from all over the world have signed up to attend, virtually. So it is no surprise that people from this same digital era have decided to take advantage of the techno-crazed lifestyle and jump on an Accra Twestival in Ghana. Well, this time it will take place offline.
MacJordan, one of Global Voices’ own, is collaborating with Rodney Quarcoo, a recognized Ghanaian photographer to bring this seemingly entertaining event to the people of Ghana. But this is no ordinary affair. As MacJordan coined it in a post about the event:
[It] is aimed at supporting a great cause; that is securing Educational materials for children in deprived areas in Ghana.
He further elaborates in the post:
On Thursday 25 March 2010, people in hundreds of cities around the world including Accra will come together offline to rally around the important cause of Education by hosting local events to have fun and create awareness. Twestival™ (or Twitter Festival) uses social media for social good. All of the local events are organized 100% by volunteers and 100% of all donations go direct to projects.
Where will the funds go? The same thread provides this information:
Each city hosting a Twestival will be given the opportunity to select an area of education to support. This will be recognized with a special icon on their website once they have set a goal. For as little as $28USD they can provide the uniform, books, pencils, and paper a child needs to attend one year of school. Concern Worldwide is able to guarantee that 100% of Twestival funds will go direct to project costs. This means that the money would be used for material purchases (curriculum, desks, pencils) as well as project activities such as construction of schools; rehabilitation of classrooms; teacher/management training; PTAs; HIV/AIDS school clubs; water and sanitation in schools; health education in schools; education advocacy; vocational/life-skills training for youth, farmers and women; and curriculum development for secondary school/university.
The vibrantly designed logo for this event, created by Quarcoo, does a great job of evoking excitement about the festival. A February 9th tweet on Quarcoo’s Twitter page in response to the announcement of the event read:
Let's go tweople. Let's make it happen.
Accra Twestival’s Twitter Page has been calling on people to sign up to volunteer at the event. According to this page, the organizers seem to be reaching out to some of Ghana’s popular music artists to get involved and make a event successful.
An eye-catching message on Accra Twestival’s Twitter page read:
Education gives people a voice in their communities. It also makes people aware of their rights and opportunities.
Indeed. Education is an area with much need of intervention on the continent, especially rural Africa. It would be interesting to see how much need is met with Accra’s Twestival.