Youth Empowerment Synergy, Ghana has awarded grants to groups of students of the University to implement projects that will have social impact on the lives of people living in some communities in the Central Region.
In all 30 students were awarded a grant of GH¢ 50, 000 to undertake their projects. The students who were in groups of five received amounts ranging from GH¢8, 000 to GH¢14, 000.
The award of the grants formed part of the Youth Leadership for Social Change project implemented by YES-Ghana in collaboration with the UCC with funding from the Ford Foundation. The awardees known as fellows received rigorous training in leadership for social change through the Youth Academy for Social Change. In addition to this, they were taken through professional mentoring from selected faculty members and industry players. With the award of the grants, the fellows were expected to practically demonstrate the knowledge and skills they had acquired.
At the awards ceremony, each of the groups gave a presentation of the projects they intended to implement in the selected community. The projects included distribution of solar lanterns, construction of footbridge, medical screening, provision of borehole, construction of drainage facilities and community centre.
Speaking at the function, the Project Manager, Mr. Eric Saforo, said the practical application of the skills, knowledge, and understanding gained through the Youth Academy for Social Change was essential to ensuring that the fellows learn to generalize and apply what they had learnt in other situations. “Through this process, youth leaders will become more involved in their communities, and provide real service” he said.
Mr. Saforo said the fellows had proposed innovative responses of social impact to some of the problems facing communities in the Central Region. He said a grant awards committee comprising faculty members and experienced development workers facilitated the process in the selection and designing of the intended projects. He said the fellows would receive the necessary technical support to lead the implementation of the group projects for a six-month period. According to him, the fellows would be “managing their activities, leveraging stakeholder involvement, networking opportunities, continuous learning, and support with financial management and reporting, among others”
The Dean of Students ‘Affairs, Prof. Koawo Edjah, said it was gratifying to note that the fellows would have opportunity to develop their own capacity. He said we were in an era where unemployment had become the greatest challenge for the youth and was hopeful that through the initiative, the students would be able to create jobs for themselves. “I’m aware that the project is aimed at skills training for empowerment the objective is towards capacity building, creativity and innovativeness of ideas and practicalising what they had been taught” he said.
Prof. Edjah thanked YES-Ghana and Ford Foundation for partnering the Office of the Dean of Students to make an impact in the lives of the students. He was hopeful that the two organisations would continue with the collaboration to create a pool of innovative graduates who would contribute significantly towards nation building.