In Memory of Excel Asama

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We have reached our initial fundraising goal, but are continuing to accept funds to support the NetSquared Cameroon community. Excel Asama

 

“In August 2008, I googled “social web for social change USA” and found the NetSquared network! Little did I know that this network was going to change my life”

-Excel Asama on his introduction to NetSquared

Excel Asama, the NetSquared Douala, Cameroon organizer, died this morning at 4 am central Africa time. He had been struggling with an illness for some time, starting with a malaria infection in January. Me and the NetSquared community will miss him - his deep commitment to building a stronger civil society in Cameroon through the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) remains a huge inspiration. As Founding President and CEO of I-VISSION International he worked to increase web literacy and bridge the digital gap between the north and south. In addition to planning over 42 nonprofit tech events in Cameroon he represented our sector with organizations ranging from the Internet Society to the UN.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Excel in person. TechSoup tried several times to bring him to the USA to participate in our NetSquared planning, but unfortunately he was unable to secure a visa. This was heart-breaking, but we kept in contact by Skype and email and his deep intelligence and strength of character were a huge asset as NetSquared’s volunteer network grew. The story that best captures his indomitable spirit is the time he was arrested for refusing to bribe the relevant minister during a net neutrality meeting. Thankfully the situation was quickly resolved, but the incident captures his fierce commitment to building a just and equitable society.

Excel was a huge advocate for NetSquared and helped us realized that there is a community of nonprofit tech activists in Africa who are eager to build their local capacity. Excel acted as the NetSquared Regional Ambassador for East and Central Africa for the last two years during which he recruited and mentored several other NetSquared organizers. He is directly responsible for the groups we have in Limbe and Yaoundé, Cameroon. He also reached beyond his borders to help start a NetSquared group in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. These new groups presaged the rapid growth of NetSquared across Africa over the last year.

Excel was an early participant in the NetSquared Camps initiative. During the 2010 pilot project Excel invited local civil society organizations to discuss the opportunity and challenges of ICT (which were later reported on by Amy Sample Ward). In 2012 his joint Cameroon/Nigeria NetSquared Camp trained participants in the Ushahidi mapping tool. And in 2013 he held a one week workshop to train participants on web development, fund raising and online communications.

Unfortunately Excel was not able to complete his plans for a 2015 conference due to his illness.

We will miss Excel tremendously and we send our love and support to his friends, family and colleagues.

More About Excel Asama

Excel Asama strongly believes in the power of the Internet in particular and the ICT in general in bringing about social development in this generation.

For the past decade, he has been empowering people around Africa with simple and effective Web2.0 & Web3.0 tools that will bring about the expected change in their businesses, organizations, and individual lives; Rendering ICT counseling and orientation services; Organizing capacity building seminars and face to face briefings on the evolution of the Internet and how to transform the value to the main stream; Participating in the development of the Internet through the Multi Stake Holder Internet Governance Forum and the Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus; Signing the Internet Freedom; Advocating for the principle of Net Neutrality; Helping people meet people for social good; Volunteering as a full member at Internet Society Chapter Cameroon.

Excel graduated in 1997 with a degree in mathematics and then successfully obtained a number of international certifications including: Network Forensics (Japan CCCERT); Internet Next Generation Leaders Program (Internet Society); Web Development and Communication (World Business Consulting and Computing); Project Elaboration and Management (European Union); Conflict Analysis (United States Institute of Peace); Electoral Observations (United Nations).

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UPDATE: Wednesday, April 15
Excel’s family and the NetSquared Cameroon community are making plans for a memorial service. Unfortunately Excel is still in the mortuary of Douala Laquintinie Hospital and transporting his body back to his home village will create a financial hardship for the family.
Please join me in making a contribution to to assist the family with funeral expenses during this difficult time. I will be collecting funds via Paypal and will send them to his older sister Anta Abla.

UPDATE: Monday, April 20
We did it. Thanks to the NetSquared community and the larger TechSoup network for raising enough money so that Excel's family can bring his body home. But now is not the time to stop. Any remaining or new funds will go toward supporting NetSquared organizers in Cameroon who will carry on Excel's legacy. Let's keep the social change going in Excel's memory in Western Africa! You can contribute here.