Regional Conferences for Local Communities: NetSquared in Kribi, Cameroon
NetSquared's local organizers around the world are the real superheroes delivering the global NetSquared's mission on the ground.Â Organizers have created groups that provide consistent opportunities for local communities to come together to learn about new technologies that benefit social impact work. Organizers are also stepping up to create events and opportunities for even deeper learning and collaboration around the world.
NetSquared's local organizers around the world are the real superheroes delivering the global NetSquared's mission on the ground. Organizers have created groups that provide consistent opportunities for local communities to come together to learn about new technologies that benefit social impact work. Organizers are also stepping up to create events and opportunities for even deeper learning and collaboration around the world. Here's the story of organizers in Cameroon who recently held a regional conference!
NetSquared is a global network of local communities. Local organizers bring together anyone interested in technology and social impact to learn, share, and collaborateâ€”whether it's innovators or entrepreneurs, nonprofits or foundations, governments or service providers, techies or non-techies. These local groups are now meeting every month in over 50 cities around the world (with more getting started all the time). As more groups get started, and the network builds, so do the opportunities for creating more than monthly meetings. NetSquared's local communities now convene workshops, provide training to area organizations, and much more.
Asama abel Excel, the organizer of the Douala, Cameroon, NetSquared group, along with 6 others worked very hard to pull together this 3-day conference to happen in Kribi, Cameroon. The story and pictures they sent made me SO sad I couldn't be there to join them!
Here's the report from the Kribi Conference Team:
During the day 1 of our visit, we met with the City Council's Secretary General, the Mayor of the kribi I council, and the Regional Delegate of tourism with whom we had a working
session each. The mission of Net ² was clearly explained to the various actors who were amazed at such a wonderful vision. On behalf of their various institutions, they all promised to do everything necessary to foster development in their local communities in partnership with the local Net ² group, and gave us the go ahead to meet the people and visit the various sites according to our program.
Day 2-3 of our schedule was basically a time to move around town and visit the various sites of attraction. We visited the NGONYE beach at the entrance of the town a little forest, a pig farm, an orphanage (Mission de la paix), and Hotel Kribi Plaza, just a stone throw from the beach.. While at the beach, we met citizens individually to talk about our mission to Kribi and took the opportunity to invite them for the seminar programmed for 6pm. We also went swimming though most of my friends were afraid to approach the sea, for that was the first time they ever saw the sea!
Day two ended with an exposÃ© titled: A successful community based project. Daniel MOUNDZEGO, President of ARSF explained to the people the importance of a community driven project and what it takes to succeed. He went on encouraging the people to love one another and accept to listen to others for Meetup is all about bringing talents together for a common goal.
Olivier Njiokeng, presented a seven steps model to grant writing, followed by the mission, objectives and activities of Netsquared presented by Excel ASAMA.
The Netsquared annual conference (N2Y4) drew the attention of many, who express doubts in the effectiveness of such a program since it is difficult to get VISA to the USA. When they were informed that someone (Valery Colong) from Cameroon was present in the N2Y4 conference and is back with us, they were all assured. The reason for this doubt was the fact that their projects could be voted, but might end up not defended in the USA because of VISA problems.
We had more than 80 participants for the two days we organized the seminars.
Met with at least 200 people face to face, talking about Netsquared at different venues of the town, making a total of 280 and more 25 persons registered manually to Netsquared since we could not have access to the net.
We had to come back to Douala to register them. The registration process will continue through this week as we receive their picturesâ€¦
It is surprising that just two persons had an email address at that moment. These guys need a lot of motivation from us to go ahead. Considering the large amount of work we have, the speed to accomplish this task will be slowed down a bit.
- Internet connexion is very slow in kribi, with just six (6) cybercafÃ©s in a town of more than 100.000 inhabitants. It is not even possible to upload an image file in kribi in an hours time.
- Expensive nature of the town. Most items are very expensive in Kribi as compared to in Douala, and there is a very low availability of basic necessities. For example, Mini DV cassette for our handy camera is twice as expensive as in Douala.
- Ignorance of the people. It is scandalous to know that at the time we finished the seminar; only two people in the hall had an email address. The people are not computer literates, and have financial and material difficulties to get formal training. The politicians and those managing the town on daily basis have failed in this noble task of social development. We received some requests to come back and train the people on the ICT even from the authorities we met. Government offices lack both computers and an internet connexion, but for the city council that can be proud of a few Pentium III computers at the secretariat.
- The second phase of this campaign will be Yaounde, then Buea, Kumba and Bamenda. In the remaining regions of the country, we need to multiply our efforts if we must have maximum impact. We need to deploy Internet, video projector, laptops etc. This will permit us to register new members on the spot. Audio-visual spots, banners and flyers must be put in place, to draw crowds during such programs. The means at our disposal are not sufficient to accomplish this mission. Not only the other cities are further from Douala than Kribi (Bamenda & yaounde), communication to these towns is not all that easy.
We are planning to set up a TV program on the social web called NETSQUARED.
We strongly believe that this will boast the mission of Netsquared in Cameroon in particular and development as a whole. Our job will be lighter, and the impact will be more visible at the CEMAC region which is composed of six countries (Gabon, Cameroon, Congo, Central African Republic and Chad) A bi-monthly program will not cost all that much. It will be a success story for Cameroon.
Find out more about NetSquared's local groups around the world: find your local group or start one in your city! You can also read interviews with organizers from around the world, sharing their ideas about organizing for change locally.