Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ghana Life: Dead Man's Clothes

In common with many developing countries, Ghana has both its traditional forms of dress, now reserved mostly for funerals and festivals, and Western dress that has been adopted for everyday wear at work and at home. Although in the early decades of independence there were many skilful tailors and seamstresses who earned their living by providing clothes for men and women, boys and girls, in the last fifteen years of the twentieth century the main source of Western-style clothing became the Western countries themselves. The imported clothes were not new, however, but used clothing known in Ghana as oboroni wawu,'the white person has died' or 'dead man's clothes.'
In the age of kalebule under the dictatorship of Colonel/General Ignatious Kutu Acheampong (January 1972 to July 1978) and then General Fred Akuffo (July 1978 to June 1979), foreign exchange was very scarce and importation was closely controlled. In this economic environment local small-scale industries flourished and developed rapidly as local needs had to be met by local effort. This was the heyday of the informal sector in which developments in the local textile industries supported expansion of the tailoring and dressmaking trades. With a brief pause during the democratic interlude under President Hilla Limann (September 1979 to December 1981), the tight controls on importation resumed after the second coming of Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings on 31 December 1981.
In spite of Rawlings' initial vow never to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), by 1983 the IMF was dictating economic policy and by 1985 cheap foreign goods were flooding into Ghana, financed by long and medium-term loans. There was undoubtedly some importation of used clothing before this time, but it was from the mid-1980s that the large-scale importation of oboroni wawu became a major issue in the media and talking point in everyday conversation, as well as a socio-economic concern of the government.
Attitudes towards the importation of used clothing were mixed. Many people felt it was a disgrace to wear other people's cast offs and to burden their children with the obligation to pay off loans that would extend far beyond the useful life of the clothing. The government regretted the demise of the local textile and clothing industries and the loss of employment that resulted. Meetings were held to determine if import restrictions should be imposed but this policy was rejected because it would have raised the cost of living, provoked social unrest and broken the free trade agreement with the IMF. Government ministers agreed that everybody depended on oboroni wawu, themselves included.
In this era of free trade, importation was in the hands of traders who brought into Ghana the cheapest goods available irrespective of quality. Most of the newly manufactured goods came from China but the used clothing came from Great Britain and other European countries. It arrived at the port of Tema, 30 km east of the capital, Accra, in large cloth-bound bales of about two metres in diameter. The goods were cleared by the importers and transported to markets in the major cities and regional capitals.
To be present at the opening of the bales was to witness a social phenomenon of considerable interest. The women traders who retailed the goods to the general public mostly specialised in one line of clothing: men's shirts, tee shirts, trousers, ladies' dresses, underwear, etc. Each was anxious to obtain the best specimens available: least worn, latest fashion, best quality. So when the bales of randomly mixed goods were opened there was a rugby scrum of activity that threatened to erupt into open warfare. Violence seemed to be limited only by a universal realisation that a badly torn shirt could be sold by no one, but this convention did not prevent some sturdier items being subjected to a spirited tug-of-war.
After the scramble for the goods came the haggling over price but here the bale owner exercised almost dictatorial power. Prices were necessarily arbitrary but experience brought a degree of standardisation to commonly traded items. The system was familiar to all participants and operated steadily over the next decade. There were too many vested interests at all levels for any fundamental change.
Only increasing prosperity can bring an end to oboroni wawu. In the twenty first century, with Ghana rising to lower middle income status, people may be able to afford more of the products of an emerging fashion trade supported by local textile industries, processing Ghanaian cotton and embracing the relatively new craft skills of tie-dye and batik. Hopefully, a sufficient number of the tailors and seamstresses of the 1970s have survived to pass on their skills to a generation that must produce the wealth to repay the loans of the 1980s.
John Powell
To learn more about life in Ghana, its people and customs, and the challenges faced by Kwame Mainu as he struggles to gain a university degree, hold his marriage together and avoid involvement in a Kumasi-based drugs cartel, read John Powell's novel The Colonial Gentleman's Son. More details can be found on the following websites

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Improving Efficiency With Industrial Maintenance Training

Industrial maintenance training can significant improve the way your business works. By obtaining onsite training for your employees, you could significant see an improvement in the way they do their jobs. More so, your equipment will be up and running better. It is important to know that investing in this type of education for your employees is critical. It not only helps to improve their job performance but it can also minimize your risks and reduce your expenses. Getting help from a third party educator like this can make a significant difference in your bottom line.
What Equipment Do You Have?
Look at the types of equipment you have in your organization. The sheer number of mechanical components your business relies on may surprise you. Then, consider how much individualized training your professionals have. Do they have the skills necessary to manage and maintain each type of machine working in your organization? This may include aspects such as practical energy, hydraulics, NFPA 70E, electrical, mechanical and robotics. It may include process controls and pneumatics, too. The bottom line is, unless your team has the resources and tools to manage these systems properly, it is unlikely that your organization is getting the most out of the business.
What You Can Do
The good news is that you can bring in professionals in industrial maintenance to educate your team. You do not have to send your employees anywhere. Rather, they will work hand-in-hand with you to make the changes you need. They will teach your employees what they need to do to maintain the current systems while also enhancing the way the systems work. The key here is to provide your employees with the education they need to do a great job at using, managing and maintaining your equipment so you do not have to replace this.
Keep in mind that this type of added education in the process does more than just help your machines to run well. It also helps keep your employees safe on the job. That can make a difference in your insurance claims down the road not to mention in the satisfaction your employees have in working with your organization. If your employees lack this type of training, now is the perfect time to do something about it.
Getting help is easy. You can find professionals in industrial maintenance readily available to help you to get your system up and running. They can even come to your location to manage the process. This ensures that your staff is getting the type of training necessary to do the job you need them to do at your location. Even better, it boosts your productivity right away.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

ISO Certification Is Simple to Benefit From

ISO certification may be necessary in your industry. Getting this type of education and then being certified in it may seem difficult to do. There is a great deal to learn and various steps to take in the process. However, there are companies, trainers and other resources that can help to make the entire process far easier for you to manage. No matter if you are a company with a dozen professionals whom need it or you just need to get certified for yourself, the right organization can make all of the difference in your success in this area.
Why It Matters
Why do you really need ISO certification anyway? This is a type of training and management framework that is used throughout the world. Many organizations and businesses rely on it. Those without this type of training may struggle actually to function in this framework effectively. That can lead to costly productivity loss as well as expensive mistakes. You can avoid this by simply investing in training.
In short, this type of education makes a big difference in the way a company is run. More so, it makes a difference in the way your customer's specific needs are met. When it is used properly, your customers are happier. Your productivity numbers are up. Your overall efficiency is significantly higher. This means that your employees are spending less time on tasks that are less beneficial, more redundant than necessary and costly to your management efforts.
With property education in ISO Quality Management System, you will find that your business seems far more streamlined and capable of reaching your goals. This international standard can help organizations to establish a Quality Management System. In doing so, you will learn how to effectively to manage your organization so that any lacking areas are fixed and any areas costing you time and money are minimized.
For many organizations and businesses, the use of this type of training can mean a significant overhaul of the current management process. This method can improve virtually all areas of the business. This includes improving your staff, motivating your employees, guiding your employee development, improving overall performance and even rewarding management skill. The key is to know how to use this particular type of management method properly to achieve these goals. That is not easy to do without the aid of a professional level of education in the process.
By getting ISO certification, it is possible greatly to improve overall skill and resources. As a business, this method can help you to streamline your success and boost your bottom line. It can increase employee productivity and simply make your job easier. With the right training, you may find that it is possible to achieve more with less.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Significance of Corporate Training in the Competitive Market Scenario

The dynamics of operating businesses is changing fast. The market is growing more competitive than ever, and companies all across the world are gearing up to make a mark in their respective niche segments. In order to achieve goals and stay at par with the economy, it has become imperative for businesses to maintain a strong line of skilled workforce. It is for this purpose that they need to organize regular training programs. It is not that corporate training was not considered an important element earlier, but now, the necessity has is much more essential.

Every organization today, make it a point to host periodic training sessions at their headquarters as well as branch offices, both onshore and offshore to brush up skills of their employees. This is done throughout the year to cover all employee bases in the organization.

Planning a training session becomes even more crucial when there is a new product launch in the pipeline. For that, a company needs to train all its key-line officials from the sales and marketing departments on various uses of the product or service offerings. This prepares them to take the product off the shelf to a large cross-section of the target customers. Knowledgeable handling of sales and tactful marketing strategies by skilled workers improves the salability prospects of the newly launched service resulting in earning high ROI for the company; and who does not know a knowledgeable employee is an asset for any company?

Hence, investing in corporate training provides long-term benefits to both the employer as well as the employees. However, while planning frequent training sessions it is crucial for the company to opt for solutions and devices, which are cost effective, otherwise the recurrent expenditures may affect the overall administrative budget plans rather adversely. Availing a comprehensive Cloud-based online class and training management solution may be a good idea in that case.

The solution makes the online training registration fast and systematic, and all kinds of payment processing simplified through secure payment gateways. Moreover, innovative promotional tools incorporated within the software also enable the organization to get the word out about training programs across various departments in no time.

Significance of corporate training is manifold. It facilitates the following and much more:

Increases operational efficiency

With better understanding of a specific domain, employees are capable of dealing with various situations armed with more confidence. Training makes them think critically, ideate things innovatively, and act logically, thereby improving overall operational efficiency of the entire workforce.

Gives enhanced job satisfaction

When an employee is confident in delivering what he is expected to by the company, he feels much more satisfied and secure in terms of his positioning. This further helps in employee retention by a company.

Dissemination of knowledge downward the organizational pyramid

It is important for the organization to transfer knowledge to the base level of workers because they are the ones who take the responsibility of taking service offerings directly to the market. Unless and until they are well trained, an organization cannot make the desired profits.

Develop leadership qualities

Corporate training makes better managers. By attending periodic trainings employees can hone their leadership qualities and prepare themselves for bigger challenges in the future.

Jonathan is a professional trainer. He employs latest technology for online class registration and online training registration that results in more attendance and ROI.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Elementary School Is The First Place To Send Your Youngster For A Quality Education

Since your child's first experience with getting educated in a structured environment is most likely going to be elementary school, you want to make sure that you choose the best for them to go to. This is one of the most important transitions they will make in life. It is also the first of many that will start them on their journey to growing up and becoming a well-rounded individual. No matter what stage your child is at in their education, where you choose to send them for the K-5 years plays a very important role on how they will respond to the challenges of learning. You want to give them the best chance possible and that means they need to be into the best environment possible.

You can't afford to just look in the phonebook and send your child to the first elementary school that comes to mind. You should take a little time and do some research first. Just as you strive to provide them with the safest and most stable home life, you need to make sure that where they go for an education is the safest and most stable environment possible.

Believe it or not, part of your job as a parent involves selecting the best educational facility for your child until he or she is old enough to go to college. Even though it would be extremely convenient time-wise to just go where the district says, if you want your child to get the best education and have access to the best resources, then you aren't going to get that by sending him or her to the local elementary school.

This is the time when you need to be actively involved in your child's academic life. You need to show them that receiving a quality education is an opportunity that many dream of getting. Instill in them the values that are needed for them to take advantage of what is being offered to them. By showing your child how much you care about their education, you can encourage him or her to be enthusiastic about being able to go to a better elementary school.

This is where your children will be able to see and experience how much fun learning can be when it is done in a safe and nurturing environment. They can have fun and excel by participating in programs, activities and events that they would not have had access to at a substandard school. They will be treated and respected as young adults, while receiving the supervision and guidance they need to grow into respectable individuals. The best part is that you don't have to constantly be worried about whether or not your child is receiving the best education possible. Students will be taught subjects that will help them excel in school. By choosing to send your child to an elementary school where every step in his or her educational journey will be nurtured and enriched, you are providing your child with a strong foundation for the future.