Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Emmanuel Gamor on the Platform

We've heard so much about the media and its power to cause change in Africa. Young Ghanaian, Emmanuel Gamor, steps on the Platform to give us insight on how he is practically using the media to change his community in Ghana, Africa, and the world at large.

Let's listen to Emmanuel.

ThankGod: Thanks Emmanuel for accepting to be on the Platform.

Emmanuel: Thank you for the opportunity ThankGod Donald

ThankGod: Tell us a bit about yourself, growing up, and your journey into being who you are right now?

Emmanuel: Hahaha sure, you make it sound like I’m famous or something. 

ThankGod: Of course, you are! (Hahaha)

Emmanuel: I was born in Korle Bu, Accra Ghana. I attended Faith Montessori for primary and JSS, Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School and then got to attend college on a full scholarship at the University of Florida. I am a multimedia journalist and online engagement specialist. Growing up between Accra, Alexandria, Virginia and Gainesville, Florida; I returned to Accra when my father fell ill and unfortunately passed away in 2013. I am passionate about storytelling and started off as photographer eventually managing editor of a community newspaper and now I co-host a radio show that engages young people weekly. They say hindsight is 20-20 and I have been blessed to work on exciting projects with Ghana Decides, Global Media Alliance, Google, Samsung, Nestle and YouTube. I strive to find the intersection in educating and empowering young people with innovative media.

ThankGod: Wow, you have an amazing early life. So, you've been at the forefront of the flood recovery in Accra, tell us about it?

Emmanuel: So the Accra Floods happened on June 3rd, 2015 when I was at the World Economic Forum on Africa in CapeTown, The issues with the floods in Accra is that the fatalities & devastation was preventable; yes there are perennial floods and geographically located between Aburi Hills and the beach. With construction, sanitation issues, clogged drainage policy makers can do better and so can citizens. The initial stages of advocacy for flood victim relief has been delivery of food, clothes and getting victims back on the feet, the more challenging stages involve sanitation education, community engagement and advocacy for a more sustainable city.

Photo of Flood in Accra. 2015 (Credit: CitiFM)

ThankGod: I heard your house and car was hit by the flood, how have you personally recovered from it?

Emmanuel: My car was flooded and the rains collapsed a wall at my home; I have been making slow and purposeful recovery, lives were lost and many more are still getting back to their feet. 

ThankGod: So sorry to hear that…

Emmanuel: Thanks, I’m grateful for friends and family who reached out and continue to support.

ThankGod: Okay, you lived in the US for nine years and worked as a managing editor of a Newspaper and at a Radio Station. How was your experience as an African?

Emmanuel: The United States is an amazing place to learn and work, and is filled with global citizens from all over the world. Gratefully, my time at Florida was empowering and working in the DC, Maryland & Virginia (DMV) contributed to my success as a professional in Ghana. Being an Africa has a special place, being a black male (educated or otherwise) has its own challenges and a lot of what is currently in the mainstream news, particularly about treatment of black men and the racial inequality, was brewing under the surface during my time there. If anything, I learned to be more proud of my heritage, of my identity and to be tolerant and understanding of diversity, even when tolerance & understanding was not always conferred to me.

Emmanuel speaking during a Youtube-Ghana event (Credit: EA Gamor)

ThankGod: Give us an insight into your work with Youtube, Yfm and Urithi Labs?

Emmanuel: At YFM I co-host the weekly Mpwr show and now project manage monthly Y Dialogues to engage conversations that lead to collaboration on thematic topics for young people. As a YouTube Specialist I curate Ghana’s YouTube community and held workshops and online engagement sessions weekly. Urithi Labs are multimedia studios for content creation, I believe content is king and we need more local and translated African content. This will happen in an enabling environment and we need as many enabling environments, Urithi Labs, as possible. My work is to enable innovative digital storytellers on the continent.

ThankGod: That’s great, well done. You were also on BBC during the World Economic Forum on Africa, tell us about how that programme went and some projects you've worked on with the Global Shapers Hub in Accra?

Emmanuel: Thanks to the Global Shapers Community, I and 79 other Shapers from 40+ countries in Africa attended this year’s forum on Africa the theme: Then & Now: Reimagining Africa’s Future the programs was an amazing eye opener and my Accra Hub colleague and I wrote a full report on our experience here (http://goo.gl/6ZPPS6). My 3 highlights were: 

1. When I spoke on the panel Thinking Ahead: "How will Africa’s countries bridge data gaps to achieve the sustainable development goals?" with One Campaign’s Jamie Drummond, Dr. Ernest Darkoh, Clare Akamanz, Daniella Ballou-Aares and Helen Hai.

Emmanuel during his panel session at the 2015 World Economic Forum on Africa (Credit: WEF)

2. Gender Parity dinner with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Hannah Tetteh & Biloa Alabi and the UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka shared a #HeForSHe pin. As an advocate for women equality in the workplace and I had the chance to share all the amazing women in my life, from my mother to my Google – Ghana boss Estelle Akrofio-Sowah who gave me opportunities to do well professional and how important it is for me and all male allies to pay it forward.

3. The dinner and final reception featured Mafikizolo’s concert performance with president Jacob Zuma in attendance.

ThankGod: I believe they also performed their hit song “Kona”.

Emmanuel: Yes they did! It was an amazing opportunity with South African hospitality at its finest. At the Accra Hub we currently have two on-going project: ShapingGreen in response to the Accra Flood Relief campaign and Y Dialogues in partnership with YFM Ghana.

ThankGod: We can see development all around African continent, what's your advice to young Africans on how they can improve their continent?

Emmanuel: I personally believe the time to be engaged is now, a lot of young people may feel frustrated because of harsh economic realities but we should not be discouraged. Statistics on unemployment show that Africans under 35 years old are affected the most and about half of the continent’s youthful population are struggling to find jobs. Let us leverage innovative technology and the internet to contribute to solving complex challenges and problems in making the continent a better place for all of us.

Emmanuel being awarded Best Male Blogger at the Ghana Social Media Award 2014 (Credit: Blog Camp 14)

ThankGod: Before we go any final words?

Emmanuel: Thanks for the opportunity to share ThankGod, I wish you and your readers all the success. To quote President Barack Obama: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

ThankGod: We sure are; thank you too Emmanuel.

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