Last Wednesday August 12 marked United Nations (UN) International Youth Day and was celebrated by many leading youth organisations around the world including the Osei-Kusi Foundation (OKF) in Ghana. The theme by the UN for this year is: Civic Engagement, is for youth in general.
OKF celebrated the day focusing on young girls and held its maiden edition of the Leadership Award Scheme for Girls at Ho in the Volta region of Ghana.
The award scheme was implemented in partnership with the Forum of Heads of Girls’ Senior High Schools (FOHGSHS) which is made up of 38 high schools from all the 10 regions of Ghana. The aim of the scheme is to provide a platform for the development of leadership skills in young girls.
Participation was open to all girls in Senior High schools across the country. Teams of 3 to 5 students were tasked to identify a problem or social need in their school or its environs and come up with innovative ideas to address that social need and OKF would fund the project. OKF received numerous overwhelming applications and these were shortlisted to 3 schools: St Monica’s Girls Senior High School in the Ashanti Region; St Roses Senior High School in the Eastern Region; and Ahantaman Girls Senior High School in the Western Region.
Advocacy for the increase of waste bins at vantage points and partnership with waste management companies on recycling projects was the proposal submitted by St Monica’s Girls. St Roses Senior Girls focused on providing beds, cleaning equipment, drying lines and washroom equipment for the school’s sick bay; and Ahantaman Girls proposed to renovate their school’s washroom by changing toilet bowls and roofing sheets.
The teams from the schools had 5mins each to pitch their proposals, and a panel of judges made up of the Headmistresses of 15 High Schools judged their presentations. The results was very close, but the day was carried by the confident and well-organised Ahantaman Girls who took home the grand prize of GH₵5, 000 and motivational books from OKF.
Commenting on the Award scheme, Headmistress of Wesley Girls High School who is also the President of FOHGSHS Mrs Betty Djokoto, congratulated the Ahantaman Girls and praised OKF for the initiative and its partnership with the FOHGSHS to develop the leadership skills of young girls.
President of OKF Dr Osei-Kusi noted that the scheme will encourage the girl child to solve problems, participate in decision making at all levels and contribute significantly to achieving the Millennium Development Goal 3 which is to promote gender equality and empower women.
In the long term, OKF and FOHGSHS seeks to make the Award Scheme an annual event and use it as a platform to provide leadership development, encourage selflessness and innovation among students and the youth at large.
Below is a cross section of about 600 high school girls from all 10 regions of Ghana listening attentively to a talk on leadership by Dr Osei-Kusi at the event in Ho.