Kwabena “Michael” Osei-Assibey is the President of the Humanist Association of Ghana. We will be conducting this educational series to learn more about humanism and secularism within Ghana. Here we talk about logistics, events, and maintenance.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Let’s say you’re going to pitch a new event idea or accept one, what would be the standard process of bringing this forward to the Board of the organization?
Kwabena Osei-Assibey: My organizational structure has an executive body of 6 members whom I report to. Running a volunteer organization I believe is much easier because most of the ideas do not originate from the executives. We have brain storming sessions almost every month and ideas are developed organically from there. Sometimes we accept an idea or event as a collective but it is ultimately up to the executives to drive the idea across the finish line. This is difficult sometimes when challenges of life prevent us from spending the time we want to on activism. We have been recently discussing ways to circumvent this bottle neck and hopefully in the future, we will be able to afford paid staff that will keep our ideas moving.
Jacobsen: What would be the criteria for consideration of the inclusion of a new event idea into the oeuvre of one-time events for the organization?
Osei-Assibey: The most critical thing is that whatever we do must align with our humanist values. Secondly, HAG as an association has certain goals which have been enshrined in our constitution. We need to make sure that the event speaks to those goals. Another thing is zero footprint. This is done when we are partnering with minority groups that are in danger or require special sensitive considerations. Finally, we have to look at cost. We have to ask ourselves whether we can get enough volunteers to donate towards the project.
Jacobsen: What would be the criteria on top of the former responses to qualify an event for consideration as a recurring one?
In addition to the above, we find that the most difficult hurdle for recurring events is location. We have had to change locations for our monthly free-thought events at least 3 times. We are currently running a video series dubbed Honest Discussions, and we have to make tough choices when it comes to getting free venues.
Jacobsen: What have been the most popular events in the past of HAG? Also, how can the podcast and other media be used intelligently for the outreach to potential interested publics about the work of HAG and its future events?
Osei-Assibey: Our Conferences have always been well attended and so has our free-thought events. Our vision is to create as much local content as possible, digitize and make them available for others to see that humanism or atheism translates well in the African context. We are also aware that the internet and access to data is still far from equitable. Our hope, however, is that, in the future, the internet will be more available and affordable, and what we digitize today, will be available for future generations to build on.
We have also been looking at targeted ads and we have employed a few in the past. However, those have not been as successful as we would have hoped. What has been most successful is the public response when we go on radio or TV and make our opinions on national issues heard. Traffic to our website and inboxes increases as we reach a larger audience, many of whom may not be on social media.
Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Kwabena.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.
Canadian Atheist Associates: Godless Mom, Nice Mangoes, Sandwalk, Brainstorm Podcast, Left at the Valley, Life, the Universe & Everything Else, The Reality Check, Bad Science Watch, British Columbia Humanist Association, Dying With Dignity Canada, Canadian Secular Alliance, Centre for Inquiry Canada, Kelowna Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Association.
Other National/Local Resources: Association humaniste du Québec, Atheist Freethinkers, Central Ontario Humanist Association, Comox Valley Humanists, Grey Bruce Humanists, Halton-Peel Humanist Community, Hamilton Humanists, Humanist Association of London, Humanist Association of Ottawa, Humanist Association of Toronto, Humanists, Atheists and Agnostics of Manitoba, Ontario Humanist Society, Secular Connextions Seculaire, Secular Humanists in Calgary, Society of Free Thinkers (Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph), Thunder Bay Humanists, Toronto Oasis, Victoria Secular Humanist Association.
Other International/Outside Canada Resources: Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an Agnostiker, American Atheists,American Humanist Association, Associação Brasileira de Ateus e AgnósticoséééBrazilian Association of Atheists and Agnostics, Atheist Alliance International, Atheist Alliance of America, Atheist Centre, Atheist Foundation of Australia, The Brights Movement, Center for Inquiry (including Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science), Atheist Ireland, Camp Quest, Inc., Council for Secular Humanism, De Vrije Gedachte, European Humanist Federation, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, Foundation Beyond Belief, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Humanist Association of Ireland, Humanist International, Humanist Association of Germany, Humanist Association of Ireland, Humanist Society of Scotland, Humanists UK, Humanisterna/Humanists Sweden, Internet Infidels, International League of Non-Religious and Atheists, James Randi Educational Foundation, League of Militant Atheists, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, National Secular Society, Rationalist International, Recovering From Religion, Religion News Service, Secular Coalition for America, Secular Student Alliance, The Clergy Project, The Rational Response Squad, The Satanic Temple, The Sunday Assembly, United Coalition of Reason, Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.
Image Credit: Kwabena Osei-Assibey.