Africa has the youngest population in the world. Ghana has a very young age structure as well. Some estimates suggest that more than half of the population is under the age of 25. How does Youth in Focus come in play here?
The Youth in Ghana are no exception to the prevalent issue of no consciousness, YIF thus seeks to protect conscious and unconsciously the image of ‘Can do’ in the minds of the Ghanaian youth. Youth in focus is looking to penetrate the youthful age of Ghana through conferences, workshops, seminars, youth empowerment television programs which will help build a strong and a youthful working population where all these persons will help in taking decisions in building a better tomorrow for themselves and the next generation to come.
Every country that has a youthful population is blessed and has the potentials to become a first class world if it sustainably explores this resource (The youth). Youth In Focus is hopeful to build that future we desire.
What inspired you to start Youth in Focus?
Young people should be greatly cherished as assets wherever they find themselves. It is because the youth are rich in innovative ideas and as such their potentials should be recognize in nation building for a sustainable economic and social progression. Africa’s diverse resources are not what’s underground but rather its youthful population. I didn’t get it why a country with everything now lacks everything which simply tells us there’s something wrong and I realized without the development of the human base capital (Youth) of the country we are still going to be where we are,
Therefore the idea of Youth In Focus was birthed to accelerate the implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth which highlights areas like employment, entrepreneurship, education including sexual and reproductive health, political inclusion, citizenship and protection of rights. We (YIF) envision Africa where youth wouldn’t have to risk their lives in search of greener pastures and ends up dying on the desert or the Mediterranean Sea but rather enjoys the future they desire by working for it
Where do you see Youth in Focus in the upcoming 2-3 years?
In 2-3 years to come, I see Youth In Focus becoming one of the best Youth advocate group in the sub-region and household name with respect to youth empowerment. Youth in Focus will be known for its rich and empowering programs as we hope to empower to expand the Ghanaian agriculture sector, the tourism industry, creative art industry. Turning job seekers to job generators
This is not going to happen all at once, but by learning and gaining experience we can neutralize all these issues
What are the key challenges that Youth in Focus faces?
Lack of finances and cooperation as well as a lack of resources.
The Global Footprint Network, an independent think tank, measures how much nature we have and how much nature we use. Most recent numbers suggest that Ghana has a Biocapacity deficit. What is happening? Can you tell us more about the biosphere and nature in Ghana?
There are a couple of Biosphere Reserves in Ghana that provides a number of benefits being it academics, tourism, livelihood etc. to the country, the reserves are faced with formidable environmental issues such as overexploitation, encroachment, illegal mining and plastics pollution that are putting a lot of strains on the country’s biosphere and biodiversity this means that much remains to be done in order to find solution to these problems. Because economic development will not be sustainable without conservation of natural environment.
Towards this, The Ghana Action Plan for the implementation of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme was launched to facilitate Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and capacity building efforts in the country to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and help restore and enhance ecosystem services as well as support the mitigation and adaptation to climate change impacts and other aspects of global environmental change.
What are the development plans in terms of biosphere for Ghana in the future?
A seven year Ghana Action Plan for the implementation of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme was launched in November 2018 to facilitate Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and capacity building efforts in the country. It will also contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and help restore and enhance ecosystem services as well as support the mitigation and adaptation to climate change impacts and other aspects of global environmental change.
The seven-year Plan, which was derived from Lima Action Plan (2016-2025) would also foster the sustainable use of natural resources; contributing to healthy and equitable societies, sustainable economic and thriving human settlements living in harmony with the biosphere.
Should the youth be learning more about biodiversity and clean energy? (If so, why? can you kindly give us an example related to Ghana)
Environmental issues have been identified as the greatest challenge to sustainable development in Africa where food security, poverty, disease, land degradation, deforestation among others have been environment related Pre-cop
Youth being an important and huge constituency in biodiversity conservation should be given the opportunity and space to inherit and conserve the earth sustainably.
The United Nations set a collection of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the year 2030. The SDGs include clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, and reducing inequalities. What does the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs mean to you?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations is an ambitious 15-year, 17-point agenda that seeks to achieve global food security, combat climate change and end extreme poverty etc means a lot to the YIF team because we see it as a guiding principle to the very future we desire.
Eleven (11) years away from now looks too far but I see it not to be adequate enough if much efforts are not put in place to work harder and smarter to reach the last man at the very remote area in the world if after four (4) years of its adoption and majority of the world don’t know about it and can’t easily call them off head
Can you tell us more about Tertiary for Innovative Climate Action (TICA)?
Inter- Tertiary Conference is an annual conference which will be held in various tertiary schools in the country (Ghana) in relation to the existing problems in our environment. The first edition and this year’s conference will be held from 9th to 13th of September 2019 and will provide a platform for young leaders from around Ghana to engage in a dialogue among themselves, resource persons and the YIF team and to share ideas for advancing the Action for Climate Change.
Objectives of Conference
- Mobilize and network all tertiary students in order to increase youth engagement, general awareness and political will for biodiversity conservation
- To mobilize the youth (students) to learn about the Agenda2030 and SDGs Strategic Plan in Biodiversity conservation and clean energy.
- To create a platform where youth discuss, share ideas, advocate and develop action plan
- To develop an action plan to curb climate change
- Youth becomes change agent advocating on climate issues.
- Form climate change innovators clubs
You also empower the youth and give them a platform to share their voice: Do you feel the youth is not empowered in Ghana?
Youth empowerment is an attitudinal, structural, and cultural process through which young people gain the ability, authority, and agency to make decisions and implement change in their own lives and the lives of other people, including youth and adults. Even though many organizations are playing their roles to empower the youth to be responsible of their lives and the environment they live in but I feel it’s not enough (Not Empowered).
An empowered mind is the most expensive asset a country could ever have and Ghana is a country teeming in youth, with 57% of people below the age of 25 years and that’s a great resource for development if empowered
Do you offer motivational workshops or give speeches?
Not yet, we will be offering more motivational and empowering videos, speeches, Empowering television programmes, workshops which will not only speak about the problems we face as a nation or youth but also challenges the youth to find possible solutions the country/continent need to be able to compete with the top class world. Our only problem is the needed resources. The World should watch out for more from Youth In Focus Ghana.
Bih Emmanuel is a young passionate man who graduated from the University for Development Studies, Wa campus with a degree in Environment and Resource Management and a diploma in Integrated Community Development. In his capacity he established Youth in Focus with his liked minded friends, which seeks to empower the youth to be responsible agents of agents in society
Working with the UNESCO MAB, I have been privileged to work on projects which include the waste to livelihood project (Glass waste recycled into beads, Women Only) at Ada.
A visit to Gbele National Park to negotiate with key stakeholders to help in the facilitation of considering the park as transboundary biosphere reserve to encourage a joint management between Ghana and Burkina Faso
The team with the help of friends organized themselves to clean the beach to support the world oceans day celebration day