Silently he sits next to his best friend in the upper lecture hall of the three-storey university building in Tamale. The friend with a laptop. Himself with pen and paper. WordPress is noted with the absorbing power of eagerness. WordPress. A widely used content management system that lets you to create a website easy and quick. <! – More ->
Matthew comes from Nandom, a small town in the North West of Ghana. After receiving his high school diploma, he moved to Tamale, the capital of the northern region and was admitted to the Polytechnic. The only place in Tamale for affordable higher education. His interest in computers and technology did Matthew decide, in addition to his training, to become a member of Tech Support Ghana.
Tech Support Ghana is a community active in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and creates jobs through a combination of practical training and involvement of businesses. This answer to the harrowing gap between unemployed youth and the needs of local businesses in information and communication technology skilled personnel and related services arose more than one and a half years ago out of a unique gathering between Kenedy Kubuga (Bold Tech), The International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) and myself.
Create local opportunities
High unemployment, particularly among youth creates a pressing social and economic challenge. At least 25% of young people are unemployed and the Ghanaian education system is inefficient and fails to prepare young people to succeed in the job market. Since Accra has more options, unemployment leads to tension between the north and south of Ghana. There is economic migration and the likelihood of criminal activity increases when there is a lack of income and the feeling of being excluded from the job market.
The young generation fortunately has a lot of positive energy. Humour, hope and a yearn for a better future is the reason why these young boys and girls come together. It is a powerful movement with the potential to shape their own lives independently.
Tech Support as the alternative
Tech Support therefore began in 2013 with just an extension cord, a projector and an informal atmosphere with a practical training. A training linked to real jobs to bridge the gap between theoretical and practical skills and local capacity building in order to prevent the loss of jobs and economic migration. It is an alternative to expensive and theoretical education in Tamale and at the same time a reliable network of junior and senior technicians is established.
In no time the group grew from 12 personally recruited and enlisted young people up to 30 members and within 8 weeks 3 sites, fully developed returned to the customers. The euphoria was immense and confidence in their own abilities, spontaneously grew new initiatives. There were 7 personal websites being realized, guest lectures held, events organized, friends invited and a logo, website and Facebook page being set up. Just before the close of 2013, the development of a school management system, a major project by the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD), was awarded to Tech Support.
In 2014, the course offerings greatly expanded and together with (local) partners Tech Support worked hard to develop the School Management System and to implement the system in four schools in the northern region of Ghana. In 2015, the system will be installed in 21 schools and Tech Support will be working together with Butterfly Works and Bibir Ghana to establish the seventh BITS Digital Design School, the first one in West Africa!
“Through Tech Support, I have gained a lot of knowledge from others and I learned how I can create a website with WordPress within a few weeks time. I do it because it can help me in setting up my own company or accomplish a client assignment and I believe Tech Support can positively change my life. “
Tech Support’s approach combines the Ghanaian way of living together (sharing is caring) with the weight of local ownership and pro activeness so that all members can contribute to the development of the group and take advantage of self-made employment through practical, on-the-job training. It is an honest, bottom-up and on reality-based initiative, promoting economic development inland.
Matthew wrote everything down and built, using a computer in an Internet café, his own website within several weeks. He managed to get this website working on the laptop of his best friend and got to present it at an official ceremony to the public. Matthew participated in several courses that provided him with technical and teaching skills and connected him with like-minded colleagues.
At present, Matthew is one of the familiar faces of Tech Support. It is because of his commitment and dedication that made him an inspiring trainer for new members and allowed for him to participate in commercial contracts that helps financing his last year at the Polytechnic.
This post is also available in: Dutch