On November the new RSA UK-Africa Network was announced in the RSA London Region Newsletter along with an invitation to register for "Africa-UK Connections in Practice - New Approaches for 2015" on Saturday January 10th at Westminster Hub
This blog explains the connection between the two.
I'm the founder of the RSA UK-Africa Network. My connection with Africa has always been as a communication link. Think of me as a kind of unofficial UK office, and Internet connection, helping some impressive African friends who are doing innovative work in their local communities.
I got involved almost by accident (to help a Nigerian friend, the late Peter Adetunji Oyawale, who was living in London) and I only intended to help out with a few emails, phone calls and such like. That was back in 2000. I had no intention of going to Africa - but things turned out rather differently.
Fast forward to the present and the event at Hub Westminster in January. Nikki Fishman and I are organising that and we will be sharing lessons learned from our work with John Dada of Fantsuam Foundation in North Central Nigeria.
Since 2004 I have been working closely with John Dada (including trips to Fantsuam Foundation) and Nikki has helped me in many ways over the years here in the UK. Our work has been characterised by its unique Internet aspects. These have been make possible because John and I share an interest in how the Internet can be used to support Education and Development (see the John Dada interview here ). Some of the lessons we have learned regarding online collaboration will form the basis of our "reality checks" at the January event.
Given that I live in London most of the time, one of the ways I've been able to help my friends in Africa is by using my good Internet connectivity on their behalf. Even John Dada, who is a trailblazer in the provision rural Internet services in West Africa, is "bandwidth challenged" but I am "bandwidth rich".
One of my "online communities" is a very open group called the First Thursday Group. It has recently found a new home on the Kabissa Forum - see https://forum.kabissa.org/t/dadamac-first-thursday-group-december-2014/2640/4
Until recently most of the networking I did here in London was online, but recently I have made attempts to make face-to-face connections with people in London who might have similar interests to mine. When Francis Sealey of GlobalNet 21 invited members to set up special interest groups I set up one on Africa and Change. GlobalNet21 has helped me to run some meetings, make interesting new contacts, and, most recently, it has given me the opportunity to run a webinar (see webinar announcement and webinar recording).
When London Region RSA invited fellows to set up some new groups I jumped at the chance. The event in January is open to everyone, and was planned well before the opportunity came to set up the RSA UK-Africa network. It will serve as an ideal focus and jumping off point for the RSA UK-Africa network. It will provide an opportunity for people from RSA to network with each other, and a wider related community, and to see how the RSA UK-Africa network fits in a wider picture.