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New Arrivals at Fantsuam!

Regular followers of our Wednesday meetings will realise that we can never predict exactly what will unfold. Predictably, this week was no exception.

Despite travelling, John was fully apprised of events at Fantsuam Foundation and joined the Skype meeting to fill us in. His first input was to let the UK team know that no-one else from Fantsuam would be online - because they were in the middle of some exciting developments.

These centred around a huge effort to get their new Community Communication Centre up and running. New equipment ordered from the US had just arrived, so workers were busying themselves with myriad installations, challenges and teething problems as they set up technology for this innovative project.

We were told that another reason the Fantsuam team could not attend was that Demas was attending a water and sanitation workshop in Abuja, and Comfort a DFID meeting in Abuja.

Todays First Thursdays

This is our plan for Today's First Thursday.

Informal chat before and after the main session.
We can chat informally before and after our main session, but in the main session we will focus on some set topics. If people arrive during the main session then Nikki will greet them on behalf of all of us.

Set topics for discussion.

The set topics reflect the interests of people who said in advance that they hope to attend. These topics are:

Last Mile Connectivity - the realities

Today's online meeting illustrated perfectly the type of difficulties which can potentially beset our weekly Skype link-ups between Nigeria and the UK.

It first became apparent that all was not well after we were joined in the session by Bala, Manager of Zittnet and a regular team member. The Nigerian team quickly explained that they were experiencing problems with their network.

Dadamac's Posterous

I have just started to explore posterous - which describes itself as "the dead simple way to put anything online using email" and says "We're super excited to see what happens when blogging becomes as easy as email, and we hope you enjoy posterous as much as we do. Thanks for trying it."

Posterous can be used in lots of ways. For myself, I simply hope to use it as a kind of in-between point - somewhere between blogging and sending personal emails.

You can see what I mean by checking my first three posts there. They are, in reverse order:

Starting a new Dadamac OK project - SCD with People's Uni

Dadamac and People's Uni have joined forces to develop a Sickle Cell Disease course. This is coming about in typical Dadamac "responding to need" fashion. The description below serves two purposes. It introduces the way things happen in Dadamac. It provides possible collaborators with an idea of where we are now and the steps we are taking.

Technology 4 Communication

At the risk of repeating myself, I am always amazed by the dynamic and unpredictable nature of our Wednesday online meetings.

As always this week, we began with the basic format of an hour-long Skype group chat, modelled around an agenda circulated a few days before the meeting.

However, the UK team were very keen to introduce Elaine Hickey to their Nigerian counterparts. (Elaine is helping Dadamac UK by inputting her project management skills).

I have to admit I haven't actually had a chance to meet Elaine who is currently working in Ireland. Fortunately for us, she had a holiday due to that country's St Patrick's Day celebrations and was able to give us some of her free time. (Coincidentally Elaine informed us that St Patrick is also the patron saint of Nigeria - so her inclusion at the meeting seemed even more apt!)

Cicely, a VSO at Fantsuam chaired this week's meeting and asked if she could also invite her colleague Teleri, who had not previously experienced an online Dadamac Team meeting and who wished to format a proposal.

First Thursday - aims and practicalities

Hi Vijay

Welcome back. Thanks for your helpful feedback on your First Thursday experience. You raise many good points and I would like to address them all very seriously. I suggest that we take our time to explore them all in more detail, so in this post I will give an overall response and suggest some structure for our discussions.

What Should First Thursday Aim to Do?

Hi Pam,

It feels good to be back on Dadamac after a long time. The other day, you asked me about my views on the latest First Thursday, in which I tried to participate but could not do much. And I wrote the reason for that in a recent blog comment. Here goes:

"For one, I was having a problem with the Net connection on the First Thursday. And also, to be frank, I just could not connect with the agenda. I felt like a total stranger, groping in the dark.

This is not to belittle the thought and efforts behind First Thursday, but I would ideally like to participate in a lively interaction and exchange of ideas, where I get enriched by the knowledge flow and (try to) enlighten somebody else with whatever little I know.

This time, I felt things were getting quite listless. And I hope I am wrong. For the next chat, can we talk on a couple of topics or more, so that there are enough talking points.

A lot of time gets wasted on pleasantries--and before one gets to focus on the topic, the discussion veers off in some other direction. So as an anchor, you might have to take the tough line, and make participants tow the line.

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