We are pleased to announce that the Ford Foundation in New York and the Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana) in Accra have signed a new partnership agreement in support of strengthening youth leadership in Ghana. Under the agreement, Ford Foundation has provided USD $150,000 to YES-Ghana towards implementation of an 18-month pilot project dubbed ‘Youth Leadership for Social Change’.
Even though Ghana is enjoying an enviable reputation of being one of Africa’s most democratic, stable and peaceful countries, the country still faces the challenge of enhancing and promoting social change through active youth involvement. Young people remain on the periphery of socio-economic processes and governance structures. This is demonstrated by rising youth unemployment, with many young people failing to gain a firm foothold in the labour market.
Against this background, the Youth Leadership for Social Change project is designed with the goal of expanding opportunities for youth leadership and active citizenship towards a more inclusive Ghanaian society. In particular, the project will provide over 60 young people with improved knowledge and skills needed for effective social change leadership. The project will also enhance opportunities for young leaders to apply leadership skills through the development and implementation of youth-led social change initiatives.
Following a rigorous set of criteria, the University for Development Studies in Tamale and the University of Cape Coast have been selected as the participating universities for this pilot phase. YES-Ghana is collaborating with the Student Representative Councils, local chapters of National Union of Ghana Students, and the Dean of Student Affairs in the respective campuses in the implementation of the project. Participants at these two campuses will attend a Youth Academy for Social Change which will unlock their leadership potential. Through a blend of mentoring and community development support, participants will be tasked to identify various needs in their communities and to design social change projects for addressing them.
In signing the agreement, the Executive Director of YES-Ghana, Emmanuel Edudzie, said “financial and technical assistance will be provided for the implementation of the youth social change projects”. He added that “youth forums in the participating universities will bring together members of the university community, including participants of the Youth Leadership for Social Change project, students, faculty and other activists to learn and share their social change experiences by showcasing their projects, highlighting successes and challenges, and also receiving feedback”.
As part of an extensive project evaluation and learning agenda, YES-Ghana has contracted Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) to set up and implement a robust learning system to generate data on key learning questions and common indicators. This will provide an opportunity for understanding ‘what works’ in youth leadership development.