Textiles and advertisements

Ghana Summer 2012 Blog

Written by: Alessondra Springmann

July 27, 2012

In support of the Ghanaian textile industry, Ghanaians everywhere wear traditional African print clothing on Fridays.  This isn't limited to citizens: the UN offices in Accra have a policy that employees wear local fabric, or traditional garb from their home countries, at the end of the week, sort of an un-casual Friday.  I'm wearing the dress that our local seamstresses made while our students sport batik, print, and kente shirts, as well as dresses and skirts.  

This afternoon students are presenting their advertising and promotional schemes, whether radio spots, flyers, or other ways of getting the word out about what they're building.  Business plans have been turned in, and we'll be putting those on the team sites soon.  Watch this space!

Android development has been quickly adopted by the group and some teams are inspired enough that they intend to spend the entire weekend working on polishing their UIs.  So long as your underlying product works, sure.  Though it took a while to download Eclipse and the SDK, it's great how quickly you can get up to speed with building Android apps.

Unprompted, Darko today at lunch told me how much this program has inspired him and opened his eyes to what he can do with his computer science skills.  He's always been interested in entrepreneurship, but now feels like more things are possible as a result of AITI.  He handed me a proposal that he'd written on his own for a media distribution platform for Ghana using Android, web, and IVR.  "It took me so long to write!"  It was ten pages.  An evening?  "Three hours!" Darko exclaimed.  If there's one thing that's going well in this program it's that writing is getting easier for everyone involved.

Yesterday we had a rough demo day!  Each group sent a representative and a laptop to the front of the room to show off SMS receiving and sending systems, Android interfaces, and websites.  Earlier this week when I told them they'd be doing rough demos, they all expressed dismay, but by yesterday morning everyone knew they'd be fine.  I'm impressed with how good everything looks, and I'm very confident that by our demo day on Thursday that everything will be quite polished for our visiting judges.


Working further backward, yesterday morning we bid farewell to LiAn, who had to leave the program early to wrangle the visa overlords in China and Singapore before she starts work there the week after MIT AITI Ghana.  We had a sendoff party for her poolside on campus, and one of our local developer friends paid a visit.  We tried to azonto (this dance craze sweeping the nation) and played Set, befuddling students, instructors, and visitor alike.  Encouraging thinking and pattern matching outside of the lab?  Ey!



We have a couple of guest lectures scheduled for next week, on customer support and funding options for companies, but then things finish on Thursday for our final demo day.  It seems like ages ago that Jovana, Louis, LiAn, and I strode into the ICT Directorate building for our first day of teaching and Ubuntu installing.

Time to demo advertisements!