In Ghana, Felix Adedze Asamoah is going above and beyond to deliver equality. Here, he tells the story of Youth Empowerment Initiative.
Felix Adedze Asamoah is going beyond his formal duty as a professional educator, by raising his voice against gender inequalities and challenges youth in Ghana face.
He established Youth Empowerment Initiative – an organisation of young professionals who are ready to engineer positive changes in their societies through volunteering and developmental projects.
The organisation empowers the adolescents to develop their skills irrespective of their location and also encourages girl child education and works towards reducing teenage pregnancy and eventual school drop-out.
In this piece, together with Asamoah we will elaborate more on all these initiatives and positive outcomes as a result of the Youth Empowerment Initiative and their activities in schools and in the community at large.
Reducing Teenage Pregnancies
As a teacher in a rural area, Asamoah engaged in conversations with some victims of teenage pregnancies who were pupils in his school and nearby schools.
Speaking exclusively to Youth Time, he first briefs us on the background of this theme in Ghana and also elaborates his solution to it.
Teenage pregnancy has been one battle the nation is fighting as far as the welfare and the education of the girl child is concerned.
Ghana records, he explains, thousands of teenage pregnancy cases annually, which leads to eventual drop out of school and sometimes even death from attempted abortion.
“The Ashanti, Eastern and Central regions recorded the highest numbers. This also increases the rate of sexually transmitted infections.
“This is a threat to the future of this country and also an inhibition on the girl child education campaign. It’s of this view that there is the need to put in measures to prevent and solve the problem of teenage pregnancy.”
He realised one major solution to this problem is consistent education and engagement of teenagers on the topics related to Adolescent Health and teenage pregnancy.
“The more ignorant they are on the subject, the higher the rate of cases. When the problem is tackled from the grassroots, it will ensure a major improvement in preventing teenage pregnancies.”
Many pregnant teens drop out of school, and some never complete their education, and this means a lot of mothers who get pregnant as teenagers live in poverty.
“Poverty remains the fundamental cause of teenage pregnancy among a lot of girls in the rural areas. If we equip these girls with various skills through government/private sponsored programmes to give them some income, it will help them cater for the needs that push them into having affairs that lead to pregnancies.”
As a teacher, he proposes that effective running of social clubs must be well enforced in the basic education system.
“I think the solutions to teenage pregnancy are many, but if we really want to take it from the scratch, then educating and empowering our teenagers will be the best way forward.”
Youth Empowerment Initiative
One aim of Youth Empowerment Initiative is offering the girls a proper education, and there have been appreciable improvements within the community he has been working and in the school that I teach.
“Currently, my school can boast of no teenage pregnancy cases before and after the COVID-19 lockdown. A school which used to record 4-6 cases in one academic year. This shows an excellent improvement,” he explains on this issue.
The school has also recorded a rise in the number of girls among names in the admission register.
“In 2019, we could talk to two victims who dropped out of school to return, but we got only one back to the classroom who is in second year at the Senior High now.”
Even though the population of boys in my school still outnumbers that of the girls, the difference keeps on reducing every academic year since 2018.
“We are planning an educational drive next term to boost girls’ access to education in the community.”
Youth as an Active Driving Force
Working closely with youth, he believes that in order to make the world a better place is a collective effort of everyone, with most of the responsibility for the youth.
“This is because the youth is the active driving force of the world’s civilization. Therefore, we have a major role to play in making the world a better place.”
According to him, the youth are not just the leaders of tomorrow -they are changing the world around them right now.
“Through volunteering, reaching out to others through online platforms, activism, entrepreneurship and innovation.
“Many young people volunteer these days. It’s not just for adding experience to your resume, but to also contribute to making the world a better place.”
“Young people should set up businesses and social enterprises. This can be workable only if the government creates positive avenues and a friendly environment for setting up businesses.
“The youth should equip themselves technologically to fit into the job space.”
For instance, he goes on, Google and Twitter, setting up offices in Ghana will be a source of employment.
He further believes the Ghanaian youth are making progress and are fast becoming conscious of the power they have in holding the leaders accountable.
“Although I never support public agitation in any form, I believe the young people in Ghana are doing well to raise issues they are concerned about lately. Social media has been one of the powerful tools for change.”
Concluding this interview in a cheerful tone, he appreciates the amazing changes young people are making for a brighter tomorrow.
“We are fortunate the world is now creating conditions to help the youth thrive. We now have a chance to do things differently, to use our knowledge and skills to steer our shared future toward meeting global goals.
“We have the chance to build back a world that you, the youth, will want to inherit – and this starts with transforming our minds to be patriotic in all our acts.”
He is certain that with a positive mind-set and hardworking attitude, we can change the world.
Like Youth Empowerment Initiative Facebook page to find out more.
Asamoah is also an executive member of Precious Inspire – an amazing organisation Youth Time previously highlighted.
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