Since its inception, Esoko has been a fervent supporter of open data. Our social enterprise began by collecting data and sharing this information with farmers over SMS. Studies conducted on Esoko show that access to this data has helped smallholder farmers increase their income levels. More details of these findings will be given later in the post. Suffice it to say for now that, at Esoko we can attest to the potential for data to transform lives, by informing better decisions.
Esoko Ghana, a leader in rural information service delivery, has officially launched its office branch in Tamale, in the Northern Region of Ghana. The launch activities took place over the 23rd to 24th of August 2016; starting with a 3-hour float through the streets of Tamale, a launch ceremony and culminating with Esoko’s second open house event of the year. Out of the 10 countries Esoko works in, this is the first time the company has established a second branch in the same country.
by Gordon Kotey Nikoi (Esoko Ghana), Samuel Partey (CCAFS West Africa) and Robert Zougmore (CCAFS West Africa)
Innovative partnerships enables up to 1000 farmers to access useful climate information services for improved livelihoods.
Livelihoods in the Northern part of Ghana are characterized by chronic poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation. These continue to worsen due to the region’s vulnerability to climate change. In the quest to improve the capacity of farmers to better manage climate-related risks and build more resilient livelihoods, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) West Africa initiated a sound approach entailing climate information services. This includes designing tailored climate information services and communicating them appropriately to farmers for their farm management decision making.
One of the key skills that separates great athletes from good is their ability to anticipate. This means that great athletes are better able to accurately anticipate opponent’s’ intentions before they take a shot or hit the ball. Researchers have found that these athletes are just better at identifying which information to pay attention to, and which information to block out, and are able to extract meaning from the important information more efficiently and effectively than novices (Mann, Williams, Ward & Janelle, 2007). Of course strength and endurance matter, but what matters just as much is the ability to anticipate.
“Grit” is the combination of someone’s passion to achieve a goal combined with a tenacious drive to achieve it. Few people exemplify grit more than a tiny American gymnast named Kerri Strug. In the 1996 Olympics, Strug severely damaged her ankle in her landing from the vault. She limped over to her coach and asked him whether the team needed her to complete her second vault in order to win the gold medal. He said yes. And what happened next was breath-taking. She ran full speed toward the vault on a damaged ankle, stuck the landing, saluted the judges, and collapsed to her knees. As a result, the Americans won the gold.
Team Esoko First means that we are not Kenyans and Ghanaians first. We are not Product or Sales or HR first. Team Esoko First means that our first priority is to achieve our purpose of improving the lives of the poor through innovation. Team Esoko First means never saying “that’s not my job”.
In the month of May, Esoko welcomed four Google employees to our Ghana office for a 3-week volunteer consulting project. We got a chance to sit down with Ariel, Bo, Dori and Fareed at the end of their project to talk about their experience. Here’s what they had to say:
Esoko’s second value is to “give everyone a remarkable experience”. But how do we know what remarkable looks like? Surely, the definition of a remarkable experience is highly subjective. What’s remarkable to you may be not be remarkable to me. So how do we know what makes an experience remarkable?
Digital Africa Global Consult (of which I am part) recently hosted its 4th International Conference with the theme, “Accelerated Development of Africa with Internet of Everything”, in Abuja, from 1-3 June 2016. A number of African and international speakers spoke about Internet of Everything (IoE – connecting people, data, processes, and things to make networked connections relevant) and Internet of Things (IoT – linking smart objects to the Internet); what these technologies are all about, how they are being used in the West, what kind of a role they can play in the African development process, and so on. However, being made aware of what awaits us in the future left many more scary thoughts on my mind (as far as Africa’s future is concerned) than IoE or IoT.