On Friday the 20th of April, whilst our very honourable politicians and the knowledgeable “social commentators” were busy discussing the very important issue of who said what and the meaning of treason, about 50 youths gathered at the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT to brainstorm on the very unimportant issue of youth unemployment.
I went into this brainstorming session with a lot of scepticism. A World Bank sponsored program in collaboration with a group called Africa Gathering, the task was to come out with a report with recommendations at the end of the session for the World Bank to forward to policy makers across the continent. It sounded like it was going to be just like one of those talk shops NGOs and other international aid agencies organise just so they are seen to be doing something. It ends up being nothing but just talk, talk and talk. No action.
But I walked out of this session with a big smile across my face and a deep hope in my heart for the youth of Ghana. And it’s not because it did not end up being just another talk shop – there was lots of talking and I believe the report will be completed and sent up to the World Bank. I’m just not sure what will come of it. It may be acted upon or it may be locked up in a cabinet and forgotten about, but either way this program, for me, was a big success!
The program brought together a collection of articulate and ambitious youths from diverse backgrounds and they talked and talked. My initial fear was that, no one in a position of authority would hear them. But they were not discouraged. They talked among themselves and listened to each other. They bounced ideas off each other and at the end, they all left the conference room motivated. Motivated to go out there and make a difference, in their personal lives and in the community. They came up with brilliant ideas about starting their own businesses to tackle local needs. Young entrepreneurs linked up with the aim of collaborating and tapping into each other’s resources to advance their young businesses.
In a week when it seemed like all people cared about was petty politics, these ambitious young men and women gave me hope! And it felt very refreshing. Before I end, I must say it was not all the youngsters. Ms Eva Lokko, Director General of GBC, joined in on the brainstorming session and was a great addition to the discussion. If any of my readers ever meet her, tell her we all say “thank you” and that I will do articles on the educational system. Hopefully someone somewhere may read it and kick start the much needed reforms.
By Maclean Arthur