Category Archives: African Youth

Bisila Bokoko and MacDella Cooper to Deliver Keynote Addresses at the 5th Annual Young African Leadership Symposium in NYC

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Bisila Bokoko

The Council Of Young African Leaders will host the 5th annual CUNY Young African Leadership Symposium (YALS) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, New York. This year’s theme Transforming Africa Through Partnerships will focus on the importance of public and private partnerships, within the African community and abroad. The Young African Leadership Symposium gathers students, leading businesses, professionals, influencers and entrepreneurs to discuss many topics affecting Africa and its various countries. This year’s program will feature keynote addresses by Ms. MacDella Cooper, CEO of MacDella Cooper Foundation and Ms. Bisila Bokoko, Businesswoman, Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Philanthropist among other high profile speakers and panelists.

MacDella_Cooper

MacDella Cooper

 According to the African Development Bank, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) have emerged over the last decade as one of the best ways to foster development. Similar to a Town hall Debate, the symposium is designed to be engaging, encouraging speakers, panelists, and the audience to discuss the most pressing African issues and how they can be solved through partnerships. Discussion will feature:

  • African Diaspora’s Assimilation vs Acculturation 
  • Social Enterprise; Funding an African-Driven Development
  • Ebola Lesson Learned from a Deadly Epidemic
  • ICT and African Development 
  • How to successfully implement PPPs in Africa and the Role of the Youth and Women

“This symposium is a unique opportunity for African students and young professionals to get involved in the pressing African issues,” says Loukman Lamany, Director of Programs and YALS Chairman. “In order to accelerate Africa’s development, collaboration between all the stakeholders, the public and private sectors, Africans on the continent and in the diaspora are needed for a greater collective impact.” Due to the steady rise of youth participation in both the private and public sectors, Africa’s youth are proving to be crucial players in social, political, and economic changes on the continent.

The CYAL is proud to partner with the CUNY University Student Senate on this symposium to provide a platform for African youth to lead the way in formulating Africa’s solutions.

Registration and program Open: http://www.yals.info

#YOUTHLEADAFRICA

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Filed under Africa, Africa ICT, African Diaspora, African Media, African Technology, African Women, African Youth, DIASPORA YOUTH ENGAGEMENT, THE COUNCIL OF YOUNG AFRICAN LEADERS

Don’t you know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?

An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur? By Christian Koumtog

France, please stop exploiting French African countries. Their PRESIDENTS may not have A choice but the African people we are will no longer tolerate seeing our children dying of hunger and our parents suffering from malaria because there’s no potable water.

Great Britain, please stop taking advantage of English speaking Africa. These so-called HEADS OF STATES are only thinking about their personal bank accounts set up in Switzerland not realizing that those are funds from our natural resources.

China and the United States of America are setting themselves up for a piece of this pie made up of young boys and girls in dire need of education. Subsequently real and Substantial changes will eventually occur. We are rejoicing in being alive but won’t just stay still.

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Filed under Africa, African Diaspora, African history, African Independence, African Youth, DIASPORA YOUTH ENGAGEMENT, History

E-ROCK: Ghana’s Rising Star

E-Rock -2Hailing from Accra, Ghana, Enoch Ofori Boamah, artistically known as ‘E-Rock’ is an emerging contemporary-gospel artiste. Gaining a strong underground following with his single “Church Dey Sweet,” E-Rock was nominated for Christian Community Music Awards. In 2014, he won a Future Africa Leaders Award which is an initiative aimed at exploring and expanding the leadership potential in Africa and for Africa.

With a debut solo album under his belt E-Rock seeks to push the boundaries and break stereotypes within the Ghanaian gospel music industry and beyond. He has already received support from credible Ghanaian media like Sunny FM, Sweet Melodies FM, Live FM, YFM, GH One TV, amongst others.

Alongside his artistic work, E-Rock is an active choir leader who doubles as a youth leader at Christ Embassy Church in Accra, Ghana. He pursued Mass Communication at Ghana Institute of Journalism and looks forward to studying law also. The young and dynamic singer has purposed in his heart to explore his passion for music by expressing forth his love for God.

E-Rock desires to push boundaries and break the monotony and stereotypes within gospel music. The lyricist has a global mindset as he believes he has a message that must be heard, thus a message of faith, hope, love and positivity in the word of God. The budding star has captivating vocal ability which ignites joy and admiration in the hearts of many.

“Music was always a childhood passion. I loved the guitar, the microphone, the keyboard, music intrigued me. I will say I was born with musical ears and a voice that could sing so I’ve been writing music since I was 8 years old. The Holy Spirit inspires my music and everyday life but you will find one word in almost all my songs – Love. I love Jesus with all my heart. He is amazing. I speak of his love as I have experienced it.”

“I met Jesus at 17 and he gave me a fresh musical focus. Glorifying him with my talent.  That’s how I got into music. I have one album so far. An album of 11 anointed songs titled “The Necessity Project”. And I am currently working on my next album “Love Songs Project”

E-Rock is passionate about impacting his world. He has organized several success motivation and Leadership training programs with over 6,000 youths in attendance.
E-Rock 4E-Rock - 3

Follow him on Twitter: @Erock_official

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Filed under Africa, African Diaspora, African Media, African Youth, DIASPORA YOUTH ENGAGEMENT, youth

Have We Won the Battle Against Ebola?

In my morning routine, I browsed the news in efforts to update myself on what is going on in Africa. One of the most important updates I always look for is the current state of the Ebola Crisis.  Thats where I saw that we have hit a 20K mark in Ebola cases. Frustratingly so, it seems that the zeal we saw in the African Diaspora’s response to the crisis has died with the lack of media interest in what is going on with this crisis.  It was tempting to just revert to my previous article on this issue. 

I am unapologetically a critique, but an eternal optimist at heart- a rather interesting combination.  Therefore I am taking step towards my optimistic side with hopes that I can offer insights as to what the African Diaspora should be doing right now in regards to the Ebola Crisis.

It has been clear that while #AfricaAgainstEbola is a great initiative we must engage multilateral action- with Africans taking lead. This is a point that we aught to pose and reflect on. How does Africa take lead? To be fair, Africans on the ground are taking lead, but the African Diaspora is still lagging behind.

The Ebola Crisis in West Africa

The Ebola Crisis in West Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally posted in ElleAfrique, here are 4 things that the African Diaspora should be doing to combat the Ebola crisis.

1 ADVOCATE:

Partnership with US agencies engaged in the response and the African Union is critical. 

USA: The US has made a significant investment- I believe it is up to $175 million to stop Ebola along with committing logistical support to build health capacity. We should consider leading initiatives that would partner with U.S. agencies engaged in the response, including the State Department and the USAID, CDC, FDA etc.  In their recent report, USAID is looking for Diaspora groups that they can work with.  While we are an extension of Africa, we have a responsibility to make sure that these agencies work in Africa is representative of the needs in the continent.  The critical point in this partnership is that Africans on the ground, and in the Diaspora be at the forefront of the actions being taken.  

Furthermore, take advantage of the ability to lobby your senators and congressmen and ask them to pass relevant legislation whether it in increasing funding, providing immigration relief for citizens from the countries affected, or making sure that the commitments made are honored. Examples of groups leading legislative efforts are Believe in Africa and US-Africa Ebola Working Group

AFRICA: Importantly, a partnership with the African Union is critical as well. the African Union has committed technical resources to affected countries  and an initiative to support the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA). In the first week of December 2014,  an Private-Public partnership was launched with several businesses/corporations joining the fight against Ebola. Whether you believe that the African union is effective or not, they still play a role in linking the diaspora to efforts taking place in Africa. ASEOWA is going to be a great way for the Diaspora to join in the efforts, with Africans at the forefront of the fight. 

2 Be Organized

African Diaspora communities and professional organizations should organize better and mobilize more effectively to supplement ongoing efforts.  If you believe everything the media says, you would have thought that  Africans were unresponsive to the ebola crisis.  However, if we all did our research, we would have found that the greatest need was not that Africa needed to respond, but that Africans needed to be organized.  Because Africans were responding- just not in the Diaspora.

If the diaspora is to be effective, we need to take the time to come up with proper strategies that will galvanize our communities into action. While the crisis is time bound, planning events for the sake of planning events, starting campaigns for the sake of having Africans respond will yield little results. Meanwhile, we will keep complaining about the efforts of the others, while watching ourselves scatter in different directions, aiming for the same goal. We need to critique our efforts- and challenge ourselves to do better. We should not accept poor organization, and pass it off as African, or keep patting each other’s back  because they are “atleast doing something”.  Lets keep ourselves accountable.  Ebola is no longer a West African crisis- it is an African crisis.

We are stronger in numbers. We are stronger united. However, all our efforts thus far have been anything but united. Some of the places to start might be joining  the African Diaspora Response taskforce whose mission is to gather the efforts of the Diaspora on one platform- making it easier for people to identify with different initiatives and see how they can lend their skills, time, or money to initiatives taking place in areas affected by Ebola.

3 Stay Ahead of the Curve

Much of what is being discussed right now deals with stopping Ebola. The root causes of the epidemic still abide in systems that have largely failed to build proper infrastructure that would have normally equipped health workers and care center with emergency response training and adequate resources. 

 Therefore, while looking at the ways and means of mitigating effects of the virus,  We need to start thinking about emerging situations and come together to project future scenarios- then come up with effective ways to handle these scenarios and provide training.

So far, we have seen that the crisis has bred other problems, or possibly magnified other problems in the communities that are affected.  We are possibly witnessing a shift in demographics if the death rates increase. Hospitals are overrun while local health workers remain under resourced. This is not to mention that there is an increased neglect of other health needs.

So how do we rebuild the cities and the villages after Ebola? We need to ask ourselves: Long After Ebola is gone, and our news are back to the “Africa Needs A Savior” Archetypes,  what will the African Diaspora do to assure that we do not have a repeat of this Crisis?  What happens after the cameras stop rolling?

4 Lead New Efforts in PPP ( Public-private Partnerships)

This partnership should be with the intent of building better health systems in the continent. African Diaspora communities can organize for bilateral agencies, NGOs, private sector, Academia, and civil society in partnership with governments to build infrastructures that can absolve crises such as this in the future. It is undeniable that we need fresh and innovating thinking anchored on easy access to amenities such as affordable health care, sanitation, water and continued medical research. This is still an area that needs more research and more thought, but if we can organize ourselves, and start working on this right now- we will be able to stay ahead of the curve.

Africans in the Diaspora have a critical role in coordinating a comprehensive response to the Ebola outbreak and mitigating health crisis in the future. More importantly, the Diaspora is well situated to foster an international public-private partnership that would enable the building of infrastructures such as health care systems in Africa, which would enable our the governments to better and efficiently handle such crises were they to rise again.

However, this means that the Diaspora needs to move beyond small-scale efforts and organize themselves better.  We need to think beyond- “Doing something”- to- ” Acting Effectively and Strategically”. This means a greater partnership with already existing structures and platforms dedicated to eradicating the disease and building sustainable health systems throughout Africa.

Africans on the ground are resilient in their work to fight their disease. They are doing everything in their power and mobilizing communities, gathering resources to combat this crisis. The Diaspora, with all their resources should do better.

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Filed under Africa, African Diaspora, African Health System, African Media, African Youth, DIASPORA YOUTH ENGAGEMENT, Health, Politics, Society, Women, youth

Is This the African Awakening? Second Teacher Strike in Ghana

2011 was marked by the Arab Spring, a period of protests and revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere in the world. The Arab Spring gained a lot of media presence and attention. Little known about has been the African Awakening, a movement marked by marginalized populations throughout the continent protesting for equity. From Zimbabwe to Sudan and recently Burkina Faso, African countries, often living through the legacy of colonialism and lackluster leadership since independence is rising against the status quo. Yet, there is a price to pay for such an awakening.

A good example is what has been taking place in Ghana. With rising inflation at 25%, according to the Ghana National Bank, the impacts of the unstable economic situation is felt across all sectors and overall development. This has been especially true for education. From October 20 to November 10, 2014, three teacher unions,  the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) and the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) have been on strike.  A result of  cancellation of teachers’ pension plan, this strike has been negatively impacting students in government schools.

Ashanti region students of the Girls Education Initiative of Ghana, GEIG, were asked to document and discuss the effects of the strike of them and their education.

Here is what they had to say:

martha

“We are wasting much time and we cant get the time back. It (the strike) can even let us fail the exams that are awaiting us in November/December”

Martha Frimpong of Esreso D/A 2 

 

 

bushira2

  “ The truth is that the students will go around without learning… students will not get understanding of topics to be taught and teachers will rush getting nearer to exam times and students will not get the understanding of topics and their results will be poor.”

Bushira Sumalia

 

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“Foremost, the strike action has brought academic activities in government schools to a standstill. This has really affected the students in final year. The students are in panic for fear of failing their examination. Furthermore, it has also led to delinquency. Children are found to be loitering about in the streets during school hours.

      Harriet Osei 

zakia

  “The students will not be able to go to school and for that matter put pressure on their parents. However, the positive aspect of this strike is that it will help the teachers get what they’re asking from the government. The government and teachers will go to the negotiation table and solve their differences.”

Zakia Ali

 

 

These insights from students are indicative of some of the hardships youth in Ghana and elsewhere on the continent face. I am especially impressed by Zakia’s input. While she acknowledges the difficulties posed by the strike on students, families, and society as a whole, she has the understanding of governance and civic participation and acknowledges the positive aspect of a trying situation. Reform for the education system and the country as a whole will stem from adequately prepared students who are civic minded and forward thinking regarding their futures and the future of the country, the continent, and the globe. The African Awakening is something long awaited for. We have endured colonialism, independence, revolutions and periods of political unrest, some stability and now another wave of public dissent. History ebbs and flows and I’m hopeful the recent wave of protests on the continent is indicative that the youth population who will usher in a new phase of leadership will be progressive and keep the well being of all in mind.

Elizabeth Patterson is the founder and executive director of the Girls Education Initiative of Ghana, GEIG. She writes from Ghana on issues related to education, girls education, inclusive education, and youth development.

More on GEIG- http://www.girlsedgh.org

Twitter- @anyarkop/ @GirlsEdGH

Facebook- http://www.Facebook.com/GirlsEDGH

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Should Gender Matter? Revisiting the Gender Question: Women as Agents of Change

As African countries develop, we are seeing a new generation whose greatest opportunity is creating societies where their gender and age is an asset to their personal and career development, and not a liability. We continue to see that growing the human capital of Africa presents the greatest challenge for business and political leaders. Yet new generations of women and young people throughout Africa are emerging and developing innovative strategies to overcome daily problems at a local and national level. Unfortunately, their combined capacities have not been fully harnessed nor realized.

  • Where are the pioneering efforts being made in education, training and skills development for both the youth and women?
  • What are the key barriers in both social and political spaces that hinder their full participation in development projects?
  • How do today’s leaders (corporate and government) incorporate both the youth and women in overall economic and political leadership?
  • How can we tap the full potential of women and young people?

This conversation was part of the 2014 CUNY Young African Leadership Symposium.

Below is a take from Ms. Mary Olushoga who served as the moderator:

8 Quotes from African Women Entrepreneurs at the CUNY Young African Leadership Symposium

Mary Olushoga, Founder of the AWP Network moderated the women’s panel at the 2014 CUNY Young African Leadership Symposium, which took place at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

On the panel were entrepreneurs: Funke Bucknor-Obruthe – owner and creative director at Zapphaire Events, Karen Nungari-Waweru – special education specialist,  and Mobolaji Akiode – professional basketball player and founder of Hope 4 Girls Africa.

Here are (8) memorable quotes from the event:

(1) “Support me because I am competent not because I am a woman.”

(2) “I don’t see myself as a woman, I see myself as a human being.”

(3) “I truly believe that success always transcends gender.”

(4) “Being an African woman in 2014 is still a stigma.”

(5) “Women need to be more forceful, and not laid back or passive.”

(6) “I want more African women and girls to know that you can be anything you want to be.”

(7) “Get out of the it’s not possible mode, everything is possible.”

(8) “Never underestimate the power of having a role model or mentor – find one.”

Should gender matter? what does it mean to be an African woman in 2014? Please share your comments, thoughts, ideas with us twitter – @Africwomenpower

Link to the Article: http://awpnetwork.com/2014/10/24/funke-michaels-hosts-entrepreneurs-roundtable-at-cuny/

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Filed under Africa, African Diaspora, African Youth, DIASPORA YOUTH ENGAGEMENT, Inspiration, THE COUNCIL OF YOUNG AFRICAN LEADERS, THE CYAL, youth

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