Theme: Mobilizing ICT Professionals for Ghana’s Digital Transformation Agenda
“It is exciting to see what started as a WhatsApp group conversation transform into a fully functional organization which is now impacting our ICT ecosystem positively and attracting partners and followers.” These were the opening remarks of Mr. David Gowu, the Executive Director of the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana (IIPGH) at a colorful ceremony to commemorate the 5th Anniversary Celebration held at the auditorium of IIPGH secretariat in Accra.
After 5 years of mobilizing professionals, businesses, and students, 26th March 2022 was set aside as the day to reflect on the activities of the Institute for the past period. The founding members, the board of directors, partners, members, and students who benefited from the coding program converged to celebrate this first milestone of the institute. The short and colorful ceremony was moderated by Mr. Kafui Dey, GTV Breakfast Show and Public Speaking Expert.
The overview of Key Milestones and Achievements of IIPGH
Before the delivery of the overview of IIPGH, Mrs. Louisa Bediako, Engineering Manager for Radio Network Performance, Vodafone Ghana, and a member of IIPGH delivered the opening remarks and summarized the purpose of the event. The Director of Operations of IIPGH Mr. Richard Kafui Amanfu in delivering the overview of the major activities and successes chalked by the Institute touched on three (3) major initiatives namely: the mobilization of professionals and capacity building in ICT, Media publications to educate the public on usefulness of ICT for development, and the Coding initiative to help kids, teenagers, and adults to acquire emerging digital skills.
“In partnership with AFOS foundation we set up the Industry-Academia Tech Dialogue (INDAC-TED) which is a platform where we bring together lecturers, students, and professionals from the industry to learn from one another and improve ICT education and development” Mr. Amanfu revealed. He added that together with AFOS the Institute also organized a Tech Job Fair at Accra International Conference Centre in February 2022. The Tech Job Fair was first initiated by the Institute in 2021 as a virtual program.
The Director of Operations of IIPGH also touched on the ‘Academy Division’ of the Institute. “This is presently focused on providing ICT skills training, continuous professional development (CPD), and other forms of capacity building to support the digital transformation agenda of the country. So far, together with our partners, the Academy has trained over 10,000 people in digital skills, various computer programming languages, web technologies, data science, and cybersecurity. As a professional association, IIPGH also leverages on the rich experience and expertise of its members, in both domestic and international ICT markets, to deliver cutting-edge consultancy services,” he concluded.
The Institute has taken a keen interest in developing the skills of Women and Girls to bridge the Digital Gender Gap. This, according to Madam Gifty Mottey, the Director of Administration, has led to several initiatives to extend skills development and scholarship programs to girls and other female students in deprived communities. “Every year, we organize workshops and skills training programs for girls on International Girls in ICT Day and International Day of the Girl Child. Last year, for instance, we organized a coding practical skills program for 150 girls from selected schools in Kasoa in the Central Region of Ghana. Similar workshops also organized in 2019 for girls of Adonten SHS, Aburi and OLA Girls, Ho,” she remarked.
The History of IIPGH
The Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana was founded on 7th March 2017 as a professional association for ICT practitioners in Ghana. The genesis of the group can be traced to a WhatsApp platform that was established by David Gowu. He then invited his colleagues in the ICT profession namely, Abraham Kuuku Sam, Francis Gatsi, Frederick Suwera, and Osei Asamoah to register the organization. They were later joined by Richard Kafui Amanfu, Alex Ankomah, Osman Issah, Prince Frempong, Eugene Amekugee, Muniratu Musah, and some other 50 ICT professionals.
At the time of incorporation, the vision of IIPGH was “to become the most reliable partner in ICT development in Ghana and beyond” and its mission was “to mobilize all ICT professionals under one professional body to positively influence the development, standardization, and delivery of information and communication technology (ICT) across Ghana.” In the last 5 years, there has been little doubt that IIPGH meant business when it took upon itself these lofty ideals. In recent times, especially, the institute has been working hard at establishing both local and international partnerships to achieve its vision and mission.
With a membership base of about 2,000 comprising certified professionals, students, and corporate businesses from various domains of ICT practice, the institute is today a connector of professionals from ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs), educational institutions, corporate organizations, start-ups, investors, and civil society organizations who together create an animated ecosystem. The institute widely uses its platform to equip professionals with skills in emerging technologies needed for digital transformation in today’s fast-moving technological world.
Building the Institute
Addressing the audience, the co-founder and Executive Director of the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana recalled how initially his friends and colleagues embraced the concept but later withdrew leaving just a few committed ones to push the vision of the organization until it started attracting international partners. “I would like to advise anyone here planning to start something new. First, a lot of people will embrace the idea. This initial enthusiasm will fade away, then you will go through a low and difficult period as most of those early people will leave and go back to their normal life. It will take determination and commitment of very few people to move from that low point, overcome the financial and other organizational setup challenges into a self-sustaining institution,” he explained.
Governance Structure of IIPGH
In terms of governance, IIPGH is well run by an executive council (Board of Directors) which is the highest decision-making body of the institute. The administrative setup of the organization is headed by an executive director who is supported by a functional management team comprising an administrative director, operations director, director for professional services, director for communications, and a data protection officer, as well as a core office staff.
Message from the Board of IIPGH
In delivering a message from the board of directors on this special day of the 5th anniversary of the Institute, Prof. Fred McBagonluri, the Board Chair of IIPGH and the President of Academic City University College recounted how he put the team to the test of an early morning appointment to drive up the hills of Berekuso for a meeting when he was in Ashesi University and he was surprised we made it on time. Since then, he believed in the concept and has been supporting the organization for the past 5years.
“We all know what ICT can do in the next few years. I hope our leaders are listening, and our members are evangelizing the initiatives being introduced because I believe these things will help transform our country,” Prof. McBagonluri emphasized.
Guest of Honour
The board and management could not settle on any other person than Kwame Larnyoh, the CEO of Admin Telecom. Mr. Larnyoh gave out his office premises and other facilities to be used by the founding members of IIPGH 5 years ago when the concept was still in its infant state. Beyond supporting the organization with logistical support, Admin Telecom led by Mr. Larnyoh and the Managing Director Madam Florence Ekon made a cash donation of 5,000.00 Ghana Cedis in 2017 to facilitate the first video production to unveil the board of directors of IIPGH. For the entire 5 years, Admin Telecom provided support whenever required. “When Mr. David Gowu and his team approached me with the concept straight away, we knew it was a good venture, so we provided the needed support in cash and in-kind to help them set up. We are still committed and will provide more support to the organization to ensure a better ecosystem can be created,” Mr. Larnyoh reiterated.
Although there were a number of speakers on the program line-up, all speakers kept their presentations short and precise to the amazement of the moderator. Before wrapping up the ceremony, the MC, Kafui Dey, then launched the 5th-anniversary magazine. He displayed softcopies of the cover page and key highlights of the content of the magazine with the promise that the hard-printed copy will be made available later. The anniversary cake was on display, and everyone had a piece of it when it was cut.
To sum up the day’s activities, Mrs. Amma Benneh-Amponsah, the Chief Human Resource Officer of MTN and a board member of IIPGH, delivered the closing remarks. She noted that for initiatives like this to succeed; it takes determination and great family support. “The partners and the board also supported to ensure we achieve this milestone,” she added.
The 5th-anniversary ceremony ended with a call for professionals, businesses, and students to join the association to continue with the impactful initiatives for a brighter future for the ICT ecosystem in Ghana and beyond. The ultimate objective of the institute is to build the ICT capacity of other professionals and corporate organizations, as well as train and certify professionals, and provide opportunities through networking, public education, and technology advocacy.
Author: David Gowu—Executive Director, Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana
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