The Youth Leadership for Social Change Project(#YL4SC), held youth forums at both the University of Cape Coast and the University for Development Studies to highlight and celebrate the achievements of the project participants. The students worked in smaller teams and received a total of GHS 100,000 to implement social change initiatives in the communities surrounding their respective universities. The project awarded each team between GHS 8,000 and 12,000, based on their respective social interventions which had already been vetted and approved by a committee. In all, a total of 9 team projects were implemented. At Cape Coast, the teams chose the Efutu District to implement their projects.
The first team project supported the relocation of a durbar ground to a safer space for the people in Brabedzi, a farming community with about 500 residents in the Cape Coast Metropolis.The community ,prior the intervention, held social functions and ceremonies along the highway leading to the Kakum National park and this has over the years caused vehicular accidents injuring at least three persons this year.
The second project focused on ensuring the safety and access to education for pupils and students by constructing a bridge to link the Efutu-Koforidua community which was divided by a stream. The third project prioritized the provision of potable drinking water by constructing a mechanized borehole to solve multiple problems which include truancy among students, water-borne diseases and long hours spent in commuting to fetch water. The project was implemented in Efutu-Asenadze, a community located on a hill with their only source of water being a stream down hill. The fourth team project provided Efutu Kokoado two solar streetlights, one at the primary school and another in the community to support the education of the children and provide light at night to the community. The final team of fellows focused on health screening especially for teenage mothers and the aged. They provided health advice to the communities and referred those who needed extra medical attention to the District Hospital.
Team Projects in Tamale
In Tamale, two teams focused on the education of children in Tonjing and Kunkulung both in the Kunbungu District, ensuring access and retention especially of girls in schools. They used part of their funding to support the construction and furnishing of a new classroom block to replace an old block. They formed girls’ club and provided the school with recreational materials. They also held a community sensitization durbar on the importance of educating their children, especially the girls, to prevent their exodus to the cities for menial jobs. The third team project focused on community-led total sanitation in Dohani, a suburb in Tamale, where they held a sanitation durbar with the community members. During the durbar,they invited sanitation experts and organizations providing model house hold toilets to showcase the different types of household toilets. The team provided 8 subsidized household toilets for needy community members. The fourth group focused on security on campus, between campus and their hostel and within their hostels. They worked with the estate manager to renovate existing street lights and provided new ones where there was none. They collaborated with the SRC office fix new lights between the university and the adjoining hostels and finally worked with the landlords of the various hostels to improve the security of the students.
Induction of Fellows as Youth Changemakers
After the presentation of the presentation of the demonstration projects, the Fellows were inducted as Changemakers. The Changemakers is an alumni network of Fellows of the YL4SC project. Their roles are to network and share ideas for future development and ‘buddy’ the next cohort of Fellows through peer mentoring.
Community leaders’ express gratitude for the team projects
Some community members who attended the forum were full of praise for the implementation of the initiatives in their various communities. The elated Assemblyman of Efutu Koforidua remarked: “The construction of this bridge will enable the children go school unhindered; farmers will transport their farm produce to nearby communities for sale with ease; and also allow residents to have access to nearby communities. Residents are grateful to the team.” An opinion leader, Amoako Okatakyie testified that the issue of trekking several miles to fetch water had become a thing of the past. “We had no water,sometimes we have to go to the bush before we can get water to fetch. But through this project, having water to perform household and other activities is no more a pain in the neck.”
Announcement of second cohort of Fellows
In his keynote address, the Executive Director of YES-Ghana Mr. Emmanuel Edudzie who expressed satisfaction about the outcomes of the team projects hinted on the expansion of the project in scope and reach. In the next phase, the project will work in 3universities, the additional university is the University and the number of student participants will change increase from 50 to 150. “Community leader shave come to testify that indeed these problems have been addressed with the help of the participants, so young people can be leaders of change in communities. We are boldly going to expand the program with the supports of our donors to more universities for the next phase where we will demonstrate again that young people can be leaders of today and tomorrow shaping, driving, and promoting social change development and innovations at the local level”, he said.