Tag Archives: African education

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


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

 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



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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

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:


“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 




  “ 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



“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 


  “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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Filed under African Diaspora, African Youth, DIASPORA YOUTH ENGAGEMENT, Society, youth

The Malala Yousafzai story in Africa

At 11, Mariam* discovers that instead of going to school, she will have to get married to an older gentleman. This means that she has to stop going to school. Her last act of defiance is running away and finding shelter with an international group that could protect her and find a way to continue her education. Her family finds her, takes her home and after beating her, she is married off. She dies at 13 during childbirth.- this was in 2011, and unfortunately, a familiar story in Africa.education-10-21-06-senegal-girls

Reading the Malala Yousafzai story should have every girl-education activist in Africa thinking. At 15 years old, this Pakistani girl became the symbol of girl education. But let us not kid ourselves- we have seen this story before, and we still do. Unfortunately the story of girls education in Africa is just as unpleasant. It might be getting better, but to this day, girls will always be the last ones chosen to attend school. A great number of girls go to school at their own risk. They risk the ostracization from their families and communities, and most of the time, they will have to leave school to get married– YES- Child marriage is a thing- and it continues on to this day. With all this talk of Africa rising, and African being the final or the next frontier, we have forgotten the battles such as girl education that we still need to fight.
imagesStatistics show that $12 is the average amount spend on girl education in Africa. That is if the girls have been lucky to attend school. In 2012, PLAN released Because I am a Girl, a report on girl education in Africa. The stories untold, and the reports you won’t hear in the media is that girls in Africa are fighting for their education, but they constantly lack the support they need. They lack visibility- thus “if it is not seen, then it’s not happening”. In Africa, we have missed the mark in championing ourselves, championing children who are the future of the so-called “Africa Rising”.

Organizations that work with children get less support because those who are advocating for them, particularly in Africa, are few and far between. Unless an organization has a celebrity-like individual championing for their causes, then these organizations become obsolete- so to speak.  Thats why organizations like United for Kids Foundation are to be admired. They are slowly restoring hope in children’s lives. Other organizations like US-Africa Synergy are making sure that African girls/women are empowered, and contributing to their societies. More importantly, they are also working to end the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)- this is an entirely different post. But the message is clear. These organizations tell our children that we care about them, and are not waiting for them to get an education because we can care about the contribution they are making in society.  After all, before any African youth can become an “Afropreneur”, they have to reach that awkward age of “adulthood”, and be accompanied with a decent education, formal or informal.

All that being said and done, there is hope. You can bet on that these kids are not waiting on us to get it together and realize that we need invest in them.

At 15, Aine Armando Wasso in Mozambique refused to get married and pursued her education despite opposition from her family. She was able to get the support she needed to be able to get the money required, and five years later, Wasso’s future is bright.
The misconception on a girl’s education has been that they don’t need it. Some of the parents believe that boys are smarter than the girls. Although this is disproved every day.
For example, meet Maud Chifamba, a 14 year old orphan who is an advocate for child education in Zimbabwe. Oh has it been mentioned that she is the FIRST girl, scratch that- student at her age to be admitted to college in Southern Africa? She was not shot, nor spend months in the hospital, but what Chifamba did was educate herself under strenuous circumstances, with no money to attend school. At a very young age, losing her parents, she learned that her future was in her own hands and she needed to fight- and fight she did.

These stories are just very few among thousands of stories of African girls and their plight for an education. So let us admire Malala for what she hopes to do and accomplish- but maybe its time Africans realize that Malala might be a symbol for child education, but the real work is up to them. Malala will not be traveling to Africa to solve the issue of girl-education.

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Filed under Africa, Society