AFRICAN LEADERSHIP ACADEMY ANNOUNCES INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY ESSAY COMPETITION.

 

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African Leadership Academy (ALA) is very delighted to join the United Nations in recognizing the immense potential and celebrating the extraordinary achievements of young people around the world on International Youth Day, August 12, 2013.

International Youth Day (IYD), celebrated yearly on August 12, is a United Nations-designated day of observance established in 2000 to raise awareness of issues affecting young people around the world. It is also a day to recognize the efforts of the world’s youth in creating a global society, and aims to promote ways to engage them in being more actively involved in making positive contributions to their communities. The theme for International Youth Day 2013 is “Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward”

African Leadership Academy (ALA) is a leading pan-African institution that seeks to transform Africa by identifying, developing and connecting a powerful network of leaders who will work together to achieve extraordinary social impact on the continent. ALA believes that Africa will be developed by Africans, and in line with the theme for IYD 2013, promotes the retention of African talent in Africa, as well as the return of African talent to the continent from the diaspora.

In celebrating International Youth Day 2013, ALA focuses on the need to maximize the potential of African youth at home and abroad to contribute optimally to the development of the continent. Demographic studies show that Africa has the largest youth population in the world of over 200 million people, a figure which is expected to double by 2045.

The UN Economic Commission for Africa estimates that by 2015, over one-fourth of the world’s workforce will be African; conversely the huge vacuum of opportunities for the African youth makes the gainful employment of this young workforce extremely doubtful. In spite of the fact that six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa, unemployment rates across the continent hover around 70%, and the World Bank estimates that about 60% of all unemployed Africans are between the ages of 15 and 24. It is clearly evident therefore, that Africa’s great challenge is how to effectively utilize its youth bulge to drive the continent’s development.

Over time, the allure of securing quality education and improved economic opportunities has led to a prolonged exodus of many young Africans from the continent, resulting in an erroneous belief that the best opportunities in life are outside Africa. However, the vast majority of the African youth reside in the continent, and engage in endless pursuits of economic opportunities. There is an urgent need for concerted efforts by governments, businesses, non-profits and all Africans to create an enabling environment for the African youth to gain access to the resources, skills and networks that will enable them to contribute effectively to African development.

As part of ALA’s ongoing efforts to actively engage the African youth in the development of the continent, the Academy hereby announces the first edition of the International Youth Day Essay Writing Competition open to young Africans between the ages of 15-19 years. Between August 12 and September 12, 2013, young Africans are challenged to write on the topic: “How can governments, businesses, non-profits, individuals and the youth collaborate to maximize Africa’s youth potential for the continent’s development and prosperity?” The writers of the best three essays will be awarded scholarships to attend ALA’s Global Scholars Program in July 2014, a unique international three-week entrepreneurial leadership summer camp, and the top ten essays will be published on the ALA website.

Winners will be announced on African Youth Day, November 1, 2013.
Link to Website: http://www.africanleadershipacademy.org/news/ala-announces-international-youth-day-essay-competition

By: Faith Abiodun, Communications Associate
About African Leadership Academy

African Leadership Academy (ALA) seeks to transform Africa by developing a powerful network of entrepreneurial leaders who will work together to achieve extraordinary social impact. Each year, ALA brings together the most promising young leaders from all 54 African nations for a pre-university program in South Africa with a focus on leadership, entrepreneurship and African studies. ALA continues to cultivate these leaders throughout their lives, in university and beyond, by providing ongoing leadership and entrepreneurial training and connecting them to high-impact networks of people and capital that can catalyse large-scale change. For more information, visit www.africanleadershipacademy.org.
Should you write an article using this press release, African Leadership Academy would like to archive and share the article. Please email any articles to iyd@africanleadershipacademy.org

BARCAMP TEMA – “Building new industries for our communities”

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BarCamp Tema 2013 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Tema, Ghana and beyond. It takes place on August 10, 2013 at the Rotary Centre in Tema. The theme is “Building new industries for our communities”. This Barcamp will be the 21st organized by the GhanaThink Foundation as it builds a network of young change makers, doers and entrepreneurs in Ghana. It’s being organized in conjunction with the Rotaract Club of Tema.

Tema is well known for its music and entertainment stars which is supporting a local music industry. This Barcamp would focus on how to grow more industries for various entreprising communities. The event will be a showcase of how Ghana’s youth are taking charge of its development and how they can be spurred on to do more. There will be a focus on channeling the present energies around entertainment into positive developments and progress for Tema and surrounding areas as well. This initiative hopes to assemble stakeholders to network, build a supportive enterprising community and partner to build together.

The Barcamp will feature multiple user-generated breakout sessions about business, social entrepreneurship, technology and development, alongside topics relevant to the Greater Accra Region and beyond. There will be a speed mentoring session where mentors will give insights and answers to questions from attendees. Various Tema leaders will be on a panel that will center on the theme. Confirmed resource personnel include Ali Maiga, Caroline Sampson, Benjamin Aggrey, Ob Abenser, Pascaline Edwards, Ali Maiga, Nana Kofi Asihene, Gregory Rockson, Nana Asaase, Doreen Andoh, amongst others.

Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Tema eventbrite website (barcamptema13.eventbrite.com) or text “Barcamp Tema [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network.. You may also contact the BarCamp Tema team through the eventbrite page for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs. BarCamp Tema 2013 is sponsored by GhanaThink Foundation, Rotaract Club of Tema, Nandimobile, etc. Our media partners are the Ghana News Agency. Join us to move the Greater Accra Region and Ghana forward.

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BARCAMP TAMALE 2013

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Barcamp Tamale 2013 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Tamale, Ghana and beyond. It will take place on August 17, 2013 at Tamale Polytechnic. The theme for this year is yet to be determined. This Barcamp hopes to assemble stakeholders to network, build a supportive enterprising community and partner to build together.

The GhanaThink Foundation has successfully organized 20 BarCamps in Ghana. BarCamp Tamale 2013 will be a showcase of how Ghana’s youth are taking charge of its development and how they can be spurred on to do more. There will be a focus on channeling the present energies around entertainment into positive developments and progress for Tamale and surrounding areas as well.

The Barcamp will feature multiple user-generated breakout sessions about business, social entrepreneurship, technology and development, alongside topics relevant to the Northern Region and beyond. There will be a speed mentoring session where mentors will give insights and answers to questions from attendees. Various Tamale leaders will be on a panel that will center on the theme.

Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Tamale eventbrite website (barcamptamale13.eventbrite.com) or text “Barcamp Tamale [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network.. You may also contact the BarCamp Tamale team through the eventbrite page for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.

BarCamp Tamale 2013 is sponsored by GhanaThink Foundation, Nandimobile, etc. Our media partners are the Ghana News Agency. Join us to move the Northern Region and Ghana forward.

BARCAMP TEMA.

 

BarCamp Tema 2012 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Tema, Ghana and beyond. It will take place on October 27, 2012 at the Central University Campus in Miotso near Tema. The theme for this year is “Vertical mentoring and horizontal inspiration, driving excellence”. This Barcamp hopes to assemble stakeholders to network, build a supportive enterprising community and partner to build together.


The GhanaThink Foundation has successfully organized 17 BarCamps in Ghana. BarCamp Tema 2012 is being organized in conjunction with the Google Group at Central University College. The event will be a showcase of how Ghana’s youth are taking charge of its development and how they can be spurred on to do more. The spotlight will be on demonstrating the power of mentoring and role models and how youth can inspire other youth to drive excellence. There will be a focus on channeling the present energies around entertainment into positive developments and progress for Tema and surrounding areas as well.


The Barcamp will feature multiple user-generated breakout sessions about business, social entrepreneurship, technology and development, alongside topics relevant to the Volta Region and beyond. There will be a speed mentoring session where mentors will give insights and answers to questions from attendees. We are also organizing a start-up bazaar  where young entrepreneurs and innovators can showcase their products and services.


Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Tema eventbrite website (barcamptema12.eventbrite.com) or text “Barcamp Tema [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network.. You may also contact the BarCamp Ho team through the eventbrite page for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.


BarCamp Tema 2012 is sponsored by Central University College, GhanaThink Foundation, Google Ghana, Nandimobile, Fienipa Group, etc. Our media partners are Spy Ghana, Modern Ghana, TNG, and the Ghana News Agency. Join us to move the Greater Accra Region and Ghana forward.

 

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BRIGHT SIMONS.

Bright B. Simons is the Director of Development Research at IMANI, and the Coordinator of the mPedigree Network. He performs a range of  functions for IMANI related to social marketing, research and coordinating alliances. These duties have involved speaking engagements around the world and led to numerous quotations in the international press, ranging from opinions in the Asian Times to appearances on the BBC.  In 2009, he joined the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer Community at Davos. Bright, a TED and Ashoka Fellow, is a member of the Evian Group, and an active member of other development-focused societies in Africa and elsewhere, including the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Mobile Communications of the World Economic Forum. He is a recipient of numerous awards, ranging from Marie Curie and Commonwealth Vision Grants to a PPARC Scholarship in Gamma Ray Astronomy.

@Kofiemeritus: What really sparked the idea behind MPedigree project?

@BBSimons: Between 2004 and 2005, I was committed to returning to Ghana after a number of years in Europe, where I was involved in social activism. Having previously been a student activist, I was somewhat frustrated by the results the activist community was getting in connection with a number of critical social issues. I wanted to do something that was likely to have more measurable and transformative impact. Something which could paint a clear “before and after” picture for a particular social issue of high significance. I was convinced that social entrepreneurship was the right path to follow and I had already begun reaching out to organisations like Ashoka. Seeing however that I was committed to solving a high-impact problem and yet had very little resources, I saw mobile phone technology as the best ally in addressing the goals I had in mind. The infrastructure was already widespread and entrenched; all I had to do was negotiate access. Convincing major organisations to come on board was a challenge that appealed to my activist mindset. Because I also maintained connections to the policy community, partly because I was then an adjunct fellow at IMANI, I had access to some persuasive voices. I teamed up with some doctoral students after I came up with the first concept – using mobile technology to enhance agricultural supply chains. That project however required more resources than we originally anticipated. But the experience was priceless. Before I finally relocated to Ghana, I came face to face with the problem of counterfeit medicines while exploring the original supply chain issue. I knew immediately that this was the supply chain issue that most fitted the concept I had developed and mPedigree was born.

 

@Kofiemeritus: Tell me briefly about the mPedigree project and the social problem it solves.

@BBSimons: mPedigree enables manufacturers and marketers of medicines to uniquely track each pack of medicine through a labeling technique known as ‘serialisation’. When consumers buy a pack of medicine that has been serialized, they are able to send a unique serial ID on the pack to a secure hotline for an instant response whether the pharmaceutical is of sound quality or not. The service is completely free of charge to the consumer/patient. The goal of the service is to protect consumers and patients from the super harmful effects of counterfeit medicines which are estimated to kill more than 2,000 people daily. mPedigree works with several telecom companies and global technology companies like Hewlett Packard to provide the service.

@Kofiemeritus: How easy was it to come up with the name of the company & product?

@BBSimons: I always believed the success of the project will hinge on how holistic it was. Since we were committed to gradually deepening the service to cover the entire supply chain, we were very attracted to the word ‘pedigree’ which connotes full assurance about the origin of a species. The ‘m’ stands for ‘mobile’ or for some people ‘master’, ‘modular’ or ‘monitor’.

@Kofiemeritus: What should Africans and the world expect in the next five or ten years from the mPedigree project. (What other new things will you be adding to the existing one)

@BBSimons: The original goal was massive: to create a system to completely illuminate the supply chain of medicines across Africa and South Asia. We have never wavered. We have never deviated. So far we have only achieved bits and pieces of it in about half a dozen countries in Africa. Our passion is fuelled by the urgency to see that original mission to its conclusion, bringing on board as many partners as possible, and inspiring as sustainable a whole new movement.

@Kofiemeritus: What has been the greatest hurdle to have overcome in the course of implementing the mPedigree project?

@BBSimons: There has been several. For a start, we started with very little resources and still run on a super-lean budget. You learn to do only the things that matter most, and to focus on core values when there isn’t a sea of resources to splash around. But it can also mean that things take longer. As an African organization, our influence with global organisations has been predictably limited. Given the global character and scale of the problem we definitely need more influence to make more progress. We have also not been very impressed by the orientation of several of the governments in Africa to this problem. Sometimes, regulation has tended to get in the way rather than smooth things along.

@Kofiemeritus: How does your work with IMANI Ghana shape the future of Ghana and Technology?

@BBSimons: I strongly believe that social and technology innovators in Africa ignore policy and politics at their peril. The challenges of the continent are such that innovators require a strong exposure to both in order to advance the new models that are required to scale fresh solutions in Africa. I believe working with IMANI has broadened my understanding of critical social and political issues and given my work a more sophisticated edge. As you probably know, IMANI has been very active in pushing policies that advance telecom development in Ghana.

@Kofiemeritus: Have you passed up any opportunity which you now regret? Are you happy with your current career and job?

@BBSimons: Well I could have charted an academic path and perhaps made some original contributions at the cutting edge of scientific scholarship. God knows more African voices are needed in global academia. But I believe becoming an entrepreneur while maintaining strong links to the policy and research communities should ultimately make my contributions to knowledge even sharper and original.

@Kofiemeritus: You have met a lot of great people, How was meeting former President Clinton and President George Bush like? Any memories to share?

@BBSimons: I am always touched by the complexity of these encounters. I was surprised to learn that President Bush was quite intimately familiar with Ghana. He rattled off several facts and names that left me truly astounded. President Clinton, while not referring to Ghana specifically, came across as very policy-conscious in how he views Africa. He is a fan of the mobile technology revolution going on here but he appeared concerned about the pace of policy innovation to go alongside it.

@Kofiemeritus: What is your greatest dream for Ghana?

@BBSimons: A new EGYPT and ABYSSINIA rolled into one. A modern African country that does not rely solely on past glories, but strives to make original contributions to knowledge, innovation and intellectual excellence in world civilization.

@Kofiemeritus: What are some of the books you read that you will encourage young ones to read and what is your favourite quote in life?

@BBSimons: I am fond of books that address the foundational and fundamental essence of social and political organization, especially in the context of Africa. Generally, anything by Steve Biko, Hayek, Achebe, Freire and the early Diop.

@Kofiemeritus: What practical advice will you have young Ghanaians with dreams of starting their own business; courses to take in schools, groups/associations to join, mentors, etc.

@BBSimons: The greatest skill in my view is to use failure, rejection and disappointment as motivational forces to achieve more. Be angry, not depressed. Embrace anger, not self-pity. If someone won’t play fair or right by you, it’s their loss not yours. Don’t waste your time fighting irrationality – the social system is dysfunctional, so it can by definition not be rational. It is to be uprooted not reasoned with. Fight, rage, start something else. Never let rejection take you down. Learn from your mistakes. Be furious about injustice. Be committed to seeing the dignity in all fellow human beings realized. Find trustworthy friends, and stick to them with the fierce loyalty of a warrior to her companion in battle. If you think solely of your success, it will be hard to rebounce after each failure. Go to bed believing that your success will bring meaning to a million lives. That is the only way to effectively harness anger without being self-destructive in a world where everything is much harder than one could ever have anticipated at the start.