Thursday, 13 May 2010
Monday, 15 March 2010
Monday, 22 February 2010
Nothing inherently wrong with the decision, except:
a) timing - almost halfway through the mandate doesn't seem a good place for a fresh new start.
b) loss of institutional memory
c) lack of replacement - not all vacated positions have a clear replacement
d) lack of transparency in the selection for the new entrants
e) total disruption of normal activities and,
f) utter confusion
My boss has been relocated to an ad hoc new agency, and his replacement, in charge from today, has conveniently taken two weeks off (to prepare for the task?).
While at the high floors important people play internal politics they seem to forget that there is a country to run out there.
The title of this post comes from the circular issued by the minister announcing the new appointments. Will they?
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Monday, 4 January 2010
I was already half way through a long ramble on the ridiculous amount of training that civil servants get here. My boss has effectively been out on training to Canada, Tunisia, Italy, Washington (ehm... bankland), Japan and a bunch of other places I can't remember, which means that I have barely seen him in the past 3 months.
For as important as I clearly am :-) , there are other more important people and matters he has to deal with which pile up on is desk or queue up in fort of his door. No one else can take decisions, everything waits.
Halfway through, I mentioned the fact to a colleague, who burst in laughter and told me "Do you know how much he would make just by sitting in office? 500 cedis a month" (about $350).
I shut up.
Monday, 21 December 2009
Sunday, 20 December 2009
5. Dept head gets back to be saying, Yes, the mission is confirmed you'd better contact Person who knows more about it as he will be there himself.
6. Person: I will be in Ghana attending any mission that the UNPEDO office will arrange for me
7. Dept head: Dear sir I inform you that on such day our mission will be in town, and we would like to arrange for a meeting with you.
WTF? The whole exchange sounded so stupid that I have drawn a map of it.
Friday, 18 December 2009
My experience with UN agencies is limited, but if I were to draw conclusions from this....uhm.
A few weeks ago we registered rumors that there is a UNPEDO mission due in january. (No mission statement, no ToR, nothing). To find out what's going on I dropped them an email to Person.
1. Person 1: yes, the mission is confirmed, I am on it, but know nothing about it and have no time to explain, please contact the country head.
2. Country head: Yes the mission is confirmed, but I know nothing about it, please contact Mr Random. (attaching no contact of Mr Random - Dept head)
3. Dept head (who's email I found on google, bless it!): Is out of office.
4. I get annoyed and call the two contact numbers on the UNPEDO website.
The numbers are wrong.
UNPEDO is just a made up name ( I think), the story is not.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
A power cut two weeks ago finally killed some important piece of electrical equipment I had never heard of before leaving my block (the nevralgic center of the ministry!) in the dark and more seriously - in the heat.
Now, with no power (we got an extension cable from the next block to the server room to get internet going) the whole of the block was temporarily relocated to the documentation center.
This is very interesting because
a) you can see immediately who is working and who is not, and you realize how few people you need to run a ministry
b) after a week of sharing the same long desk people from different units and even from within the same unit started to talk!
All of a sudden information circulated freely and everyone was available right there. Amazing.
I think they should knock down the walls and make the ministry a massive open space area.
Shame the power came back this afternoon.
Monday, 9 November 2009
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Thursday, 22 October 2009
Last night I recieved a call from a friend saying my ministry was on fire.
Not quite. but foriegn affairs is no more.
We took a ride down to ministry and this is what we found.
here is the article on the bbc.
Monday, 19 October 2009
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Today we talk about long term planning and implementation.
This is how things should go:
There is a long term plan - build 100 schools in 10 years (keep it simple),
which informs the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) - build 30 in the next 3 years,
which in turn informs 3 years of budget - build 10 next year.
And then so on...
Following the budget, the money should go where the long term plan indicates.
This is how they go.
There is a long term plan, developped by an external consultant, very few in the ministry are familiar with or can be bothered to read that says - build 100 schools (for a change)
The budget office, like evryone else, is either not interested in the plan, not aware of it's existence, or cannot be bothered to adapt the budget to it. So, it produces a budget very similar to the previous year's that says - blah
And the MTEF? oh! the MTEF! it's too late now, let's paste the budget into year 1 of the MTEF and leave year 2 and 3 empty, at the end of the day how is the budget office supposed to know how to fill year 2 and 3?
And so on.
Don't believe me? Pick up a copy of the 2009 MTEF and see if you can find a single figure in the column for 2010 .
10 years down the line you wonder what happened to those 100 schools.
Monday, 5 October 2009
Some of you might remember about the OLPC story.
Well in the same sneaky way those laptop found their way into the basement of the ministry where they silently sat and rusted for six months, they are now gone.
Where? to the constituency of the Minister, deputies, and those of the MPs that could be bothered to get involved.
Targeting requirements? schools must have electricity.
Where teachers trained to deal with laptops in class? no
Was the curriculum adjusted to be compatible with laptops? no
Go Ghana! that's what I call planning.
Meanwhile it appears that the government is trying to cancel the order for the remaining 9000 which are alleged to be on the way.
So welcome back to Accra, where the rainy season is over and new flashy buildings are popping up like mushrooms.
Piece of exciting news: A branch of the GLO-1 submarine cable connecting Lagos to London has recently reached Accra. It should be operational in 2 - 3 years (the infrastructure is nowhere near to be ready yet) and it is expected to lower costs and improve quality of internet connections significantly.
You can see GLO-1 in yellow in on the map underneath (kindly borrowed from here). Interestingly, GLO-1 is the only submarine cable completely owned by 1 person.
Friday, 2 October 2009
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone.
It's not warm when she's away.
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And she's always gone too long anytime she goes away.
Wonder this time where she's gone,
Wonder if she's gone to stay
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And this house just ain't no home anytime she goes away.
Thursday, 30 July 2009
From the left; Matt, Paul and special guest Jordain de Muizon (!). just crossed the Togolese border (cross the gate and keep smiling approach). Enjoying good french food and incredibly good live jazz at Le Galion.
The cash man at hotel Equateur... need to change money? here he comes.
Mount Agbo, near kpalime, the highest peak in west africa (700m, maybe?) , a vey good hike for who likes it, we had a huge "truck", as Paul calls it, and drove all the way up.
The view from the military base at the top was somewhat unspectacular. a good excuse not to pay the bribe to the guard. Me come back tomorrow, today weather no good (or that's what it sounded like in french)
Crossing Back into Ghana from Kpalime was one of the wildest border crossing experiences I ever had. The road, well... that tiny stirp of mud generously scattered with potholes of the size of the truck, hadn't seen a vehicle in a long time. The togolese border was undistinguishable from one of the many police check points where you try to avoid leaving money by telling the policeman how good his french is. And finally, once officially out of Togo, we drove on for 45 min in the middle of no-man's-jungle wondering where the hell the ghanaian border would be. It's all on Paul's camera, I hope to get the pictures soon.
Second weekend; Busua beach, great surfing spot.
While having breakfast on the first morning, Franky from the surf shop hands me a giant shark tooth asking me how my shark-tooth necklace was made. I took it, and it was still bleedy! First reaction... URGH!. second reaction... WTF?
And yes! Local fishermen had caught this beast (a young bull shark?) after four days at sea Needless to say, the fishing boat is like a big canoe and the fishermen not always make it back. A canadian bloke had it for dinner that same night in coconut sauce.
Marc braving the waters... any fins around?
Chilling on the beach.
Saturday, 11 July 2009
Good morning and welcome back on radio Ghana.
After...wow, a month long break we are back on air.
Highlight of the day: Obama is in town!
It's been two intense weeks of re-painting the edges of the sidewalks white and plastering the city with massive ads like the ones you see above. And now, we are finally ready to welcome change and discuss with him about the oil that will start flowing from 2010.
Obama's arrival created a good deal of confusion, yesterday at the ministry someone circulated the voice that all the roads would be blocked from 1 pm onwards. Clearly not true but a great excuse for everyone to rush home. Roads were effectively blocked later on for a few hours, but nothig of the apocaliptic scenario people immagined.
As I am writining I hear the helicopter taking off (I immagine) to bring the presidential family to visit Cape Coast castle.
Stay tuned for funny events during Obama's stay, for all the rest there is the bbc.
P.S. Cami may cross paths with Obama in the airport tonight as she is landing around the same time he is leaving...
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Five 1.5 sqaued meters boxes containing 600 OLPC computers each, for a total of 3000 OLPC computers, were delivered yesteday at the ministry unbeknown to most.
OLPCs are supposed to cost $100 each, but according to my ICT technician their cost is more like $250 - $270. Summing up to the handsome expenditure of $750.000 - $810.000, excluding shipment. And their impact on educational outcomes has never been evaluated.
Here are the photos of the truck unloading the boxes at the ministry. You can see the logo on one of the boxes and compare it to the official website
On a lighter note, today I found in the Ministry's database a rural school not connected to the national grid with 1927 computers. It made the day of the chief statistical officer, who tracked down the school and called the headmaster while laughing so hard he was in tears.
Soon more info on OLPC developments