The Youth, Our Future

Herbert MensahThis is a thread of a discussion held with youth leaders in Ghana. Please continue the discussion here.

The Youth, Our Future

Herbert Mensah    June 1 at 3:04am  Reply

I have been asked to contribute to a speech on the above subject matter. Even though I have some clarity on how i would like to tackle this topic I would appreciate your input over the next day or two.

If you have a moment kindly raise a few issues you feel are not only relevant but you believe are being ignored. If you have other angles on the same please feel free to let me know.

If you are tied up or not inclined i do understand

Kofi Goka    June 1 at 5:36am  Reply

1)Education, 2) their future as the leaders of tomorrow and nation builders, 3) should be discerning, 4)acquisition of skills vital for the 21st century 4) avoid short cuts in life with the desire of getting rich quick , 5) they should plan,set up goals and strive to achieve those goals, 6) they should prioritise their time and make use of the little opportunities that avail itself to them, 7) should be focused and avoid unnecessary distractions, 8) should see themselves as partners in the developmental process of the nation. 9) They could be succesful in wherever they are depending on what they choose to do. 10) they should have will power, strong mind, ability and dedicate themselves to whatever they are doing and succes will definately follow.
Thanks!!!

Rian Malan    June 1 at 10:48am

Herbert

The following is a summary of 67 commitments made by governments in relation to youth issues, and the question is how does the GoG do if evalued against these committments.

https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AbQn2p5F1dDsZGRoa3Q4cTlfNjE5czRyM3h0Z3I&hl=en_GB

SaCut Amenga-Etego    June 1 at 10:52am  Reply

”Our youth…our future”

It goes without saying that the future and where we as a nation will stand at the league of nations is in the hands of the youth. But what kind of youth? Is it the ones that don’t know where this country is coming from? It’s true history? or those who have been deliberately schooled with twisted history or what i call ”mis-history”?

We’re not only hesitant in passing the ‘true history’ lessons to our youth but also allowing others with their own parochial interest to misinform the younger people. I think it is not only right, but it is also fundamental for key makers of history in this country to tell the story with urgency…..through books, film etc. through conscious effort. An informed youth; the ones who know their past and who appreciate the present–these are the ones in whose hands our collective future as a nation will forge forward in unity and development. There must be a resolve by those who know the truth to speak up to the youth who are in desperate need for guidance.

Thanks for inviting me Mr. Mensah

Rian Malan    June 1 at 11:54am

Another issue that has intrigued me is the issue of a National Youth Policy. WPAY was adopted as far back as 1995 by the UN. The African Youth Charter was adopted in 2006 and signed into force in August 2009.

Ghana today does not have a National Youth Policy nor has it ratified the African Youth Charter.

No wonder the youth have “given” up – such a “caring” government…

Akua Ak    June 1 at 1:41pm  Reply

Just thought I’d add a fews on the subject above. From the little experience I’ve gained in life, I have heard various speeches on this topic, all addressing the importance of education yet has this changed the future of a country, especially Ghana? Not from my knowledge. My point is that education for the youth IS important but it is only beneficial when it has a purpose. To aid in the development of our country in the future, we need to tailor our education to suit Ghana. With that there needs to be a love for the our country. There needs to be role models, such as yourself, such as Rawlings, such as Mandela, such as Obama (depending on the country the youth can relate to).

The presence of experienced entrepreneurs, charismatic leaders, patriotic individuals, can help motive the youth, to use their talent to improve a country and shape its future.

We can have all the education from Cambridge to KNUST to Havard but if we don’t have a way of bringing it all back home, then there is no future in a country, rather the skills acquired only aid foreign countries that continue to prosper.

It’s about time we stop the talk of the youth and education and start bringing us back to our roots. As Africans/Ghanaian we are blessed with exceptional talent, and it breaks my heart to see fellow friends lost and confused, adapting the ways of the West and forgetting the loins that brought us to this place and toiled to allow us to study alongside our European counterparts – only to dash all this to aid foreign countries.

We need people like you to guide the youth like me, to see the bigger picture. To see a great future in our country. Some may complain/argue that there are no rewards in this but we need examples of people who have tried and succeeded, then will we see a bright future. Only then will our youth be our future.

Kwabena Nkrumah    June 1 at 2:43pm  Reply

“Our Youth … our future” my short view point

“The best way for creating a lifetime of success begins with making the right choices as a teen”

(This quote might sound late now, as this message is for the youth. But I still believe in Matthew Ashimolowo’s quote “it’s not over until it’s over” I must confess here that I take quotes very seriously and I always try to make them direct me positively so am very selective even if it’s coming from controversial people. So I will encourage the youth to read anything at all they can get to read, it should not be only books and newspapers. Reading really exposes you to things you might personally not come in contact with in your life time.)

The Youth in Ghana must first set goals that will generate fulfilment. The clearer and more attractive the goal is, the higher the level of motivation achieved to want to strive towards the goal. A goal which is set too high (excessive demand, in Ghana many youth want to achieve success in days because they have seen people live an affluent life style as such they want same for themselves, as how those people got to that level it’s not known to them and are not bothered to know. That should be discouraged) just like a low target (too little) are absolute motivation killers. Also nothing that without any opportunities for successful people to look up to or successful experiences, the motivation will reduce.

Ghanaian youth today are getting more and more easily distracted and lack the acceptance that they need to function as leaders for tomorrow. In my regular day job, I’ve found that less students and youth actually have a clear direction in what they intend to do for their life. It’s somewhat worrying and appalling at the same time. Ask any university undergraduate what their goal is in life, and you’ll probably get an answer like “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure”.

The media in Ghana is not helping the youth of today, since it’s been bombarded with 95% politics and music prime time. Being on face book has really exposed me to something new and very worrying for our future Ghanaian leader’s mostly every one is boxed in a colour for or against. I personally think our leaders of today have failed the Ghanaian youth, at my age 37 I need motivation and I get it talking to teens aged between 5 and 12 and you will be amazed at how they think and what you can get from them.

One of the core ways to begin motivating youth would have to start with our ability to lead them. This means, a greater emphasis on skills for parents to connect more effectively with their children, and offer support for them in emotional and psychological ways. Parents of today must be up to it in terms child upbringing (the youth we are talking to are also parents), something very vital the youth will have to look elsewhere. For instance, in order to develop emotional intelligence, you might encourage youth to actually think on their own, get bruised in the real world and learn from those mistakes in life. You (someone they look up to) simply need to be present to encourage them when they do fall. Give great advice on how to do this on a daily basis while forging a strong bond between the families.

I did suggest sometime back to come over so we talk about a youthful multinational talk show on your network. It’s still in mind………. This is my modest input hope it will be helpful

God Bless

Hallie Naa Oboshie Edifor    June 1 at 3:21pm  Reply

Thanks for having me in mind to give share my opinion concerning this topic. My views are general.

Challenges are inevitable but the youth of but i think the youth of today face way too many challenges. Categorising them into major and minor, i cite examples to the major as dealing with broken or abusive families, unemployment, coping with poverty whilst seeing others as millionaires,unplanned pregnancies etc.

The minor involves self image, trying to fit in, keeping friends, being attractive. Some of them are due to occurences @ childhood.

To release the stress, they find solace in drugs.physical and mental violence, hussling to make money be it legal or illegal(for e.g afterall those varieties of certificates acquired, there are still no jobs so how do you survive)?

I think the youth and employment ministries in collaboration with NGOs,human resource development experts, politicians et al must organise forums to identify their needs.. I think the youth lack in career development so a centre can be set up on pilot basis so if it picks up more centres can be set up.

Well Herb i hope i made sense. Thanks for the opportunity and wish you well in the presentation and always.

Kwabena Afedi    June 1 at 4:53pm  Reply

H,hope my 2 cents make sense!
Problems:
(1)NO CLEAR YOUTH POLICY
(2)CONFUSING EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
(A)NO AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMMES
(B)YOUTH COUNSELLING NOT PART OF SCHOOL PROGRAMMES
(C)UNPROFFESSIONAL TEACHING METHODS
(3)INADEQUATE PROECTION AND SAFETY FOR KIDS AND YOUTH
(4)POOR STRUCTURES
(5)NO PROPER STATISTICS AVAILABLE
(6)FOREIGN INFLUENCES
(7)OLDER GENERATION DISCONNECTED FROM PRESENT
(8)MISUNDERSTANDING OF YOUTH CONCEPT
(9)Poor orientation
Etc etc
SOLUTIONS? MAYBE:
(1)ADMITING AND UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM
(2)PREPARING A WELL INFORMED DATA ON THE YOUTH
(3)BUILDING THE NECESSARY STRUCTURES
(4)RESTRUCTURING THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS TO MEET MODERN TRENDS
(5)CREATING AN IDENTITY AS A NATION
(6)CREATING AN ATMOSHERE TO TAP AND DEVELOP TALENT AND CREATIVITY
(7)INSTILLING SENSE OF EXCELLENCE INTO YOUTH
(8)PROMOTING A NATIONAL AGENDA WITH THE YOUTH IN FOCUS
(9)ENCOURAGING CORPORATES TO INVEST IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES
(10)BUILDING OUR OWN WORKABLE BRAND ETC ETC

Edwin Addo    June 1 at 6:19pm  Reply

The question to be asked here is this, “do our leaders believe that our youth are our future?” The answer, in my opinion is a categorical NO! This would explain why beyond the rhetoric, no real steps have been taken and are being taken to equip the youth with relevant 21st century skills. When one is to consider that approx. 67% of this country’s population is under the age of 30 (I am told) and that the leadership is beyond the retirement age, it is clear that there is a disconnect. What leadership has forgotten to do down the years is to engage the youth in a discussion to ascertain what their needs are. Instead, they plagiarize policies that have been effectively implemented in developed countries and super-impose them on us without researching the process and the many structures required to make those policies relevant and beneficial to the whole. The youth are not looking for handouts…they want concrete avenues through which they can express themselves, grow, contribute to nation building and prosper.

Kwabena Nkrumah    June 1 at 7:08pm  Reply

@Edwin Addo
The “next Revolution” is soon here…… time we take the destiny of our feature! the old folks are thinking of changing the retaining age I read this on the internet last week……….they are not ready to leave office for the new University Graduates to take over.

@Herbert Mensah This is a business tip for them to think about, with you vast business exposure you should be able to polish it to be actualized.

As I was driving to town this came to mind after I sent you the first note. This idea came to mind, about raising funds for business start-ups since the banks are not helping in giving start-up funds.

Since you will be talking to the youth, what are their numbers? are they up to 500 if YES! bingo, if NO! then they must start a recruiting process on their own and get a minimum number of 500 people will be ready to contribute GHc1.00 daily. This will tally to GHc 15,000 monthly. This amount can start-up any good business or investment in Ghana. Every other month they will be adding the same amount. It will sum up to GHc 180,000.00

How to collect this money?
No matter the location, any telecommunication company can be contacted and a deal reached with them for these guys to get a special code xxxx. This money can be collected by sending a daily text message and for the collection which you will be deducted from your unites.

I will have to go now………..I may come back to it, someone can make add ups to it……..

Kwabena Afedi    June 1 at 7:29pm  Reply

What we have in our case is a total system failure!In ghana today,how many jobs/careers are attractive to the youth?I believe we can count them on our fingers.Growing up,I had my mind made up already that I wasn’t going to be a teacher,policeman,etc.cus I couldn’t believe after several years of education and training,their lives were worse off.I think the only beneficiaries of our so called democracy are the politicians.we all know how their statuses have changed overnite.if we don’t deal with the systems that are directly and indirectly responsible for youth development,the merry go round will continue.

Klorkor Okai    June 1 at 7:37pm  Reply

Because I am a writer and I think other issues concerning the youth have been beaten to a pulp (and aptly so), I will address the literary angle which also accounts for the lackadaisical attitude of the youth.

All CHANGE comes from the mind – – – a few years ago, i believe i read/heard somewhere that if you capture the minds of the people, you have essentially won/captured them over. That is what is lacking in our youth today. The Ghanaian youth is not motivated to reach higher and lacks the zeal to achieve beyond the ordinary. His/her world view does not perceive a picture where they are a great success because they cannot see past their immediate challenges and happy to explain their failures away with their obstacles they face. They have also grown up in a culture where they are spoon fed; so it is not common to find a youth who has drawn out a blue print of what he/she wants her life to look like.

Two possible reasons account for this situation:
1. the Ghanaian youth lack of the culture of reading
2. there not enough books (autobiographies/biographies) written by prominent Ghanaians on their path to success and their mode of overcoming these obstacles.

There are too many Ghanaian success stories that have gone undocumented probably because of one or all of the ff reasons:

a. Ghanaians lack the culture of writing their autobiographies
b. it is culturally not acceptable to publicly acknowledge your personal achievements by deigning to write a book
c. Ghanaians would not document their life stories because they believe out jealousy, the public would patronize it.

I commend leaders such as Kabral Blay-Amihere and Appiah-Menka who have taken the trouble to pen their memoirs. We continue to underestimate the power of the printed word. If the change we desire to see in the youth is not first achieved in their mind, it would not translate into their actions.

On another note, all the problems listed above by my fellow contributors are indeed true and very present in our society. It is also factually true that most of these challenges have always been present in our society – As much as we stick out our heads and bash leadership for not prioritizing the affairs of the youth, we must also recognize that this unfortunate scenario is not new; yet others have managed to make it inspite of these shortcomings.

The question then becomes ; irrespective of what leadership does or does not do to address the issues of the youth, WHAT ARE THE YOUTH DOING TO EMPOWER THEMSELVES? We must MOVE AWAY from expecting a whole lot from leadership and focus on getting the youth to BUY INTO THE IDEA that your future and destiny is literally in your own hands and not in the hands of the greedy elders (who have clearly failed us).

H, you must harp on this (if you have not already done so 🙂 It is high time people realized that what they are and what they become is not dependent on what policies are in place on not, but rather dependent on their individual goals for themselves. OWNERSHIP – the youth must begin to own their lives, whether the SSS system is 3 or 4 years, whether the politicians are awarding themselves ex-gratia or not, whether church leaders are abusing the pulpit or not, whether the school feeding program is scraped or not, whether their teachers are late to class or not.

I am always still fighting with my dad that he must make the time to write his memoirs so people know the Atukwei story. Whenever he gets the opportunity to speak with the youth, he would tell them about his life in northern Ghana but i tell him he must publish it. My dad was selling newspapers on the Graphic road in Accra to make ends meet when he was 16years old. At the time his poem had been published in the paper he was selling, BUT HE DID NOT HAVE THE MONEY TO BUY A COPY! Despite his experience of a childhood where his parents could barely make end meets, he rose above it…

If a half-cast child, born to an absentee African father and caucasian mother, raised on 2 continents, wayward in school, raised by a single-mother, with a clearly African name ‘OBAMA’ and an arab middle name, ‘HUSSEIN’ can forgo a lucrative high paying salaried job in a law firm after graduating top of his class in Harvard to do community organizing and can become elected President of the US…indeed we have no excuse.

If a South African lawyer, with a young wife and children, can sacrifice his comfort for the sake of fighting apartheid in his country and choose to live in prison(forever) not knowing that he would be freed after 27years and come to lead the nation as President Nelson Mandela (for which he was imprisoned), then we have no excuse.

If a man born in Nkorful, not Accra, who schooled in the US and could have lived there in comfort but chose to come back home to fight for independence and refuse to strike a deal with the colonial masters but rather sacrificed his family safety and his life to win independence for Ghana, then we have no excuse.

The youth must decide to OWN their destiny and do whatever it takes to determine what they come, no matter what it costs them and how painful it is. We cannot afford to plan our lives around selfish, greedy, obnoxious wannabe leaders!!

Rian Malan    June 1 at 7:44pm

Yes, I think you and Edwin have got to the core – leadership. However, the youth can’t do it on their own. The leadership problem has to be resolved!!!!

Rian Malan    June 1 at 7:51pm
“…since the banks are not helping in giving start-up funds…”

Yeah Kwabena, that is a BIG problem – banks and financing of small business. There must be solutions, and again it is an issue of leadership and insight.

Kofi Goka    June 1 at 9:05pm  Reply

Hi
Let’s take a memory walk out of the capital , Accra, into the other towns and cities and ask the kids in secondary schools about what they intend to study at the university? Most kids leave the secondary school without any guidance as to which field they should go into at the university or what course to study or where to go to.

There is a need for the provision of counselors at the secondary schools so as to guide the youth and shape their thinking by telling them the courses they could take at the university and the opportunities out there. Most of the youth gives up out of ignorance and lack of guidance. Imagine a brilliant kid from the countryside, whose parents are illiterate but have toiled to send their ward to school in their community and without a counselor to serve as a guide, what will become of the kids future?

The issue of the banks is a two way affair; the banks will need collateral in any form so as to be sure that their money will be paid back. Those who will be given those loans should also honor their word to pay back on time and should not divert those loans into other ventures. There was an instance when some farmers were giving loans in some part of the country; they used those money to marry more wives, build houses and invested very little in their farms. At the end of it all, after harvesting their crops, some intentionally burnt their farms and went to the bank that their farms have been burnt, therefore how will the bank get their money back?

There is this suggestion that the youth should contribute into a common fund to help each other, that is a great idea but there are some out there that things are too rough that to come out with that money is a big problem. The person has no job, coming out of the university, where and how will he get that money.

Suffice it to say that our leaders have failed us and it will be better for us to look beyond these 20th century leaders and seek for 21st ccentury leaders. Frustration and peer pressure is pushing the yyouths beyond imaginable limits.

Louisa Laryea    June 1 at 9:14pm  Reply

Herb u knw, this whole issue with the youth is quite herculian, but I so believe that if our leaders (who the youth look up to) will change their behaviour/attitude, there is a lot that will change with the youth.

Everyone has said something nice an all…these things are not new. The people in charge know. They travel out and see and admire. They just admire how far other countries even without natural resources have come…

Until the so-called politicians will b resolute and selfless enough to do what they r put in office to do, I’m afraid all we saying will just b talk…
However, the youth shd b more responsible, more studious and a bit more daring than they r, Herb!

Kwabena Nkrumah    June 1 at 9:59pm  Reply

@Louisa Laryea
these leaders/politicians are just greedy B*******, they care for themselves and their immediate families, I do not want us to shift topic because I will get worked up. These leaders/politicians have brilliant ideas when they are in opposition and you easily get access to them even spend the whole night to the next day talking about one country called Ghana. But when they get into office they get brain washed! I have personal testimonies I will one day talk about.

For now please lets leave them alone and focus on the topic we can do it without them.

After this topic lets be talking about “ideas bank” this will be focusing on ideas that can be practically brought into reality with some innovative ways of raising money internally.

No foreign support else we are finished. The money is here in Ghana just that we can not tap into it. If we do too the politician will bring an “investor? and it must be foreign

When did Ghana discover GOLD? What has GOD done for this country GHANA? Now Ghana has discovered OIL!

What is the cost of GOLD on the international market? What is the cost of OIL on the international market? but look at these politicians both political parties NDC and NPP, they are all screaming on roof top Ghana has discovered OIL. How much of this OIL revenue will Ghana benefit that Gold has not? looking at the cost of both products on the international market. Which product will better benefit Ghana.

Should we GHANA so called independent state be dictated to by the west because we cannot fund our own budget, so they chip in some drop of dollars and tell us to sell our naturals minerals at a prices they determine to us?

NO! NO! we are not thinking……………….at all. I always keep saying that we need a “revolution of the mind” ………………………

Leticia Haywood June 3 at 4:57pm Reply

Help the youth understand that their choices today defines who they will be tomorrow.

2 comments

  • Very insightful, thoughtful and revealing! A lot of food for thought…

  • Though not a Ghanian,but i must say thanks to all who are part of this,As for our wicked leaders,i have a few word for them,i want them to bear it in mind that”THOSE WHO SOW THE WIND,THEY OFTEN TIMES REAP MORE THAN THE WHIRLWIND,SOME HAVE A HARVEST OF RAVAGING HURRICANES’and A FATHER WHO SAYS HIS SON WILL NOT,HE WILL NOT ALSO FIND SLEEP”THANKS AND GOD BLESS U ALL.08184691418.

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