The Millennium Campaign informs, inspires and encourages people’s involvement and action for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals. An initiative of the United Nations, the Campaign supports citizens’ efforts to hold their government to account for their promise to achieve the Goals by 2015. www.endpoverty2015.org Young People We Care (ypwc) is a youth led and youth focused organization that is headquartered in Ghana and has satellite offices in the UK and Canada. The organization is operated by young people (ages 15–30) and adult allies working on youth and development related issues worldwide. Our mission is to educate and inform the youth on global issues, inspire them to take action, encourage their participation in global issues, identify and build sustainable partnerships aimed at youth development and provide young people with tools and resources for effective action. www.ypwc.org | info @ ypwc.org
MDGs Advocacy Declarations
Voices of Youth
project coordinator Selorm Kofi Dake (Ghana) project advisor Michael Boampong (Ghana)
Stand Up, Speak Out…Take Action
contributors Sally Appiagyei-Frimpong (Ghana) Amanda Harmon (Canada) Bjorn Marten (Sweden) Kaidhiwa Michael (Uganda) Clifford Mugambi Kaburu (Kenya) Baraka Mtinda (Tanzania) Aris Priyono (Indonesia) Ringo Roque-Dadole (Philippines) Mohammed Awal,Yakubu (Ghana)
SCOPE OF ACTIONS… The scope of actions is broad and depends on what is relevant for each national or local context. Groups will be expected to develop petitions, sms campaign, phone calls to local government representatives, hold face to face meetings with parliamentarians, local and national leaders. The most important thing is that we Stand Up, Speak Out and Take Action.
designer Eva Tucker (usa)
In developing countries, mobilization will be aimed at reminding governments to implement time-bound mdg-based national development strategies, plans and budgetary allocations; to improve mdg implementation and delivery mechanisms with a strong focus on poor and excluded groups particularly women; produce concrete plans to enhance domestic resource mobilization that will be earmarked for mdg achievement; create and implement plans for increased transparency, accountability and fighting corruption, more systematic and on-going monitoring and reporting of progress involving elected officials (Parliaments, local Governments etc.) and key stakeholders including the media, faith groups, citizens groups and civil society organizations.
editorial team Ishmael Barfi (Ghana) Laura Cococcia (usa) Anasthasia Esinam Dzovor (Ghana) Meaghan C. Frauts (Canada) Stephen Gyasi Jnr (Ghana) Francesca Hughes (United Kingdom) Rebecca Lacey (Canada) Stella Mihailova (Australia) Augustus Okleme (Ghana) Laura Pentelbury (South Africa) Mary Patricia Pereira (Malayasia) Hamida Rehman (United Kingdom) Jennifer Smith (usa) Erika Solanki (usa) Godwin Yidana (Ghana)
In the developed countries, the campaign is expected to focus on Goal 8 (Develop a global partnership for development) commitments. Specific commitments made by Heads of States of developed countries should be premised on meeting time-tabled commitments and not just focus on aid volumes and debt relief. Aid quality and effectiveness will be important indicators of progress. Breaking the impasse in the trade negotiations at the wto, particularly on elimination of agricultural subsidies and market access for developing country goods and services are critical issues. The north should stop pushing through wto agreements in bilateral trade agreements like Economic Partnership Agreements (epas).
© 2008 Young People We Care (ypwc)
P.O.BOX SN 369,SANTASI-KUMASI.GHANA Telephone: (+233) 20 827 8216 / 242 970 908/246182423 Internet: www.ypwc.org E-mail: info @ ypwc.org This document was created out of a call for participation among youth groups. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Board of Executive Directors of the Young People We Care (ypwc) or the governments they represent. By supporting this book, the un Millennium Campaign and Young People We Care (ypwc), have shown faith in young people all over the world. Our sincere thanks go out to the un Millennium Campaign, Young People We Care’s task team, and to all the young people who were involved in producing this book. Special thanks go to Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, Linda Odhiambo and Sylvia Mwichuli of the un Millennium Campaign Africa Office in Kenya, Mandy Kibel of the Millennium Campaign office in usa , Vidar Ekehaug of Global Youth Action Network, Akua Kyerewa Asamoah, Michael Boampong from ypwc, Gayle Pescud from Women in Progress and the International Advisory Board members of ypwc. Finally we wish to acknowledge the design and layout of Eva Tucker. Thank you all: we envisage that the actions of the young people and all others who use this book will repay your investment in youth and your efforts at helping to end poverty by the year 2015. - Editorial Team
Stand Up, Take Action 2008 will be held over a three day period from October 17th–19th. By starting on a Friday and ending on a Sunday, the Stand Up Take Action Campaign will give the mobilized people a chance to take part. For further information on the campaign please go to www.standagainstpoverty.org or www.endpoverty2015.org
“With the Millennium Development Goals, the world’s governments have committed themselves to halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015. It should be the commitment of your generation to eradicate it completely. It is never too early to be active. If you start young, I am confident that, by the time you are my age, you will succeed. Your generation can Make Poverty History.” Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General, United Nations
On October 17th, 2007 more than 43 million people all over the world stood up in support of the Millennium Development Goals ( mdgs ) and spoke out against poverty and inequality. This act sent a clear and powerful message to governments reminding them of their pledge and promises to end poverty and achieve the mdgs. This year, un Millennium Campaign (unmc) invites you to once again stand up, speak out and more importantly take action as part of the growing global movement demanding that poverty and inequality be drastically reduced by 2015. We have gone past the halfway mark to 2015, the target date for achieving the mdgs. There has been some progress, but there is still a long way to go in some parts of Africa. We need to take action now. That is why this year we are focusing primarily on supporting country-specific actions in our priority countries and offer solidarity to other stakeholders and partners in the region and globally.
“YOUTH ARE A MAJOR RESOURCE FOR ACHIEVING THE MDGS, NOT A PROBLEM” Augustus Okleme, Codirector YPWC (Africa)
“I call upon those who care about the future of our country to acknowledge, appreciate,
embrace and mentor
the youth who are actively engaged in development initiatives
“Young people have too often been seen as a burden rather than an asset, a group to be taught but not to teach, and to receive but not to give. Yet this is a view we simply can’t afford to have. Young people are in fact, the world’s greatest untapped resource.” Jennifer Corriero, Co-founder and Executive Director TakingItGlobal (Canada)
from the grassroots to the National levels.” repercussions…The challenge to us is what are we doing about it? If development is not sustainable, our economy can not cater for our needs and our way of life would be of poor quality for the majority. Enhancing development is therefore, the responsibility of all, regardless of age, gender and socio-economic orientation. In the long term many of us envisage that the fruits of sustainable development in our communities will play a much greater role in meeting the needs of our people. In our training, going through the ngo mapping exercise it was clear that working more closely with community groups and ngos in addressing the causes and effects of poverty would create more impact – as long as all stakeholders share a vision, are committed and focused to achieving the goals. This is however not a code for government to step back from its main responsibilities of providing much needed services to its citizens. As youth, activities such as contributing to the community, aspiring to be excellent parents, growing a wonderful garden and sharing the produce, creating music, art and dance are not win-lose games. Everyone can aspire to live in a better society and to enjoy the self-esteem that goes with it. However, in the urban and peri-urban living context we are surrounded by media advertising messages that to be successful and happy you need the latest kitchen décor, flashiest car, luxurious holidays and latest air conditioning systems. We rarely make heroes of those who sacrifice in engaging in development activities from the grassroots to the national levels. We do not value the years of volunteering in creating
a healthier environment, care for the elderly and children, promotion of democracy and freedom of information, tackling of poverty and contributing to council plans and policies. We value creating wealth, and not creating sustainable communities. I agree that every person should have a chance to enjoy a fulfilling life, supported by a wage or benefit that is enough to live on with dignity. However money alone will not be enough. They also have a right to live in a system that honors their contribution even when it is outside the paid workforce. As youth, we must measure our success differently in our society. The economy is not successful just because it gets bigger; it is successful if it meets people’s needs without crashing the earth’s lifesupport system. Success for people is like that too— an essential part of any social change must be changing the attitudes of the youth today, as we are the best change agents, we must get our voices heard now so that we can own this change now rather than tomorrow. I urge you all to give your very best and let’s put our strengths into making our our world the best we can make it become!
AS YOUTH, ACTIVITIES
COMMUNITY, ASPIRING TO BE EXCELLENT PARENTS, GROWING A WONDERFUL GARDEN AND SHARING THE PRODUCE, CREATING MUSIC, ART AND DANCE ARE NOT WIN-LOSE GAMES. EVERYONE CAN ASPIRE TO LIVE IN A BETTER SOCIETY AND TO ENJOY THE SELF-ESTEEM THAT GOES WITH IT.
AS YOUTH, WE MUST MEASURE OUR SUCCESS DIFFERENTLY IN OUR SOCIETY. THE ECONOMY IS NOT SUCCESSFUL JUST BECAUSE IT GETS BIGGER; IT IS SUCCESSFUL IF IT MEETS PEOPLE’S NEEDS WITHOUT CRASHING THE EARTH’S LIFE-SUPPORT SYSTEM.
19 // DECLARATION OF YOUTH
Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great.
YOU CAN BE THAT GREAT GENERATION. Let your greatness blossom. Make poverty history. Then we can all stand with our heads held high. Nelson Mandela, launching the Make Poverty History Campaign (London 2005)
Table of Contents // Foreward / page 5
ROLE OF YOUTH
A word from Michael and Stephen / page 7
Speech by Clifford Mugambi Kaburu
// by Michael Boampong and Stephen Kwabena Acheampong
Achieving the mdgs: A Youth Responsibilty / page 8 OUR ROLE AS YOUTH MUST BE TO FURTHER DEVELOP STRATEGIES THAT WILL ENABLE US TO POSITION OURSELVES AS THE BEST AGENTS TO DELIVER AND TAKE US TOWARDS ACHIEVING THESE DEVELOPMENT GOALS. We have the role of supporting the government when they propose actions consistent with these goals, getting involved in the delivery of sustainable policies to the best of our ability, and shouting loudly when their actions are inconsistent with their statements. We should focus on integral elements of the existing development goals and be provided practical tools for what has up till now been spread through talks and empty ideologies. Participants should do a lot of work and look forward to taking these issues to a higher level in collaboration with others who have similar interests. We as youth have a long, long way to go to be “truly sustainable,” unless we strive to change the present status quo of being passive participants in the development arena. We therefore need clear, tangible and realistic strategies to ignite the greatest socialeconomic change that has ever been planned by youth in our country, Kenya.
Yes, the current government has done a lot in regards to investing in the youth. However, it’s not enough and I call upon those who care about the future of our country to acknowledge, appreciate, embrace and mentor the youth who are actively engaged in development initiatives from the grassroots to the national levels.
// statement by Selorm Kofi Dake / artwork by Amanda Harmon
As youth, we should strive to acquire knowledge, employable skills and work with credible information to be able to make up our minds in making critical decisions about how we can better our lives and those of our peers.
Stagehands of Our World / page 13
It is evident that crucial information on development is not reaching the masses. Take for instance education on environmental issues and what we are currently experiencing around the globe. Presently, there is no compulsory environmental education for the youth—it is entirely up to schools and environmental based organizations to decide whether to teach anything at all to prepare future citizen for the rigors of an environmentally damaged world. It should be a major concern of the government, development organizations and the youth to come up with clear strategies for education about climate change and what can be done to averse the negative
18 // SPEECH BY CLIFFORD MUGAMBI KABURU
For We Are the Backbone of Africa / page 11 // by Sally Appiagyei-Frimpong
Declaration of Youth / page 12 // by Sally Appiagyei-Frimpong
Youth Declarations / page 14 Youth in Action / page 16 // summary of IWESS by Bjorn Marten
Are You a Leader ? / page 17 // By Ringo Roque-Dadole
Role of Youth / page 18 // speech by Clifford Mugambi Kaburu
Stand Up, Speak Out–Take Action 2008 / page 20
ARE YOU A LEADER!??? By Ringo Roque-Dadole
MANY PEOPLE CLAIM THAT THEY ARE LEADERS, YET MOST TIMES VERY FEW WOULD SECOND THEIR CLAIMS. HOW DOES ONE KNOW IF A PERSON IS A CERTIFIED LEADER OR NOT? DO YOU HAVE TO FIGHT INVADERS OR DIE IN A BATTLE? DO YOU NEED TO HAVE A MILLION FOLLOWERS TO BE CONSIDERED A GOOD LEADER??? A leader is one who is service-oriented. Remember that true service is not bounded with time. If your heart is to serve, even at midnight your office should still be open to take responsibilities when necessary.
A good leader never loses his vision, even in the little things he does. He or she never fails to plan activities as early as possible to achieve the expected outputs. Leader must manage their time wisely and efficiently.
Good leaders should also have the ability to control - in a way that they can manage their staff very well without hurting anyone’s feelings. He or she must not fail to recognize skills, capabilities and suggestions of members or constituents. One must have the wisdom to distinguish between democracy and dictatorship.
Good leaders communicate effectively. He should never forget to inform the public or his members about matters that concern their general interest. He must maintain transparency in his actions, particularly where it pertains to finances of the organization. Money is always a group issue, thus, every centavos should be properly spent and liquidated. A leader must not burden the group’s finances with his personal trips or affairs.
A good leader is also a good team worker. Leaders should be able to work with a group of different personalities without losing their temper. They should be flexible all the time and must consider themself a bridge that will link information or ideas from one member to the others in the group. They must not only lead but should also be a good follower. They must learn to sit down and respect any of the members’ ideas. A great leader is a good listener.
A great leader knows how to delegate work or responsibility, by assigning tasks to other members in the group. He or she must see to it that tasks given to others fit their capabilities or abilities. A fisherman should not be trusted to build or make a blue print of a building. He is not an engineer, his abilities are not enough and may cause destruction or collapse due to a faulty plan.
Being an open-minded person is also one of the traits of leaders. They should be patient in accepting ideas, suggestions, comments or feedbacks. They must not think that suggestions or comments would destroy their image, instead they should be taken positively and must be treated with utmost consideration for they could improve the outcome of their action. Not all remarks are intentionally made to hurt the recipient.
Finally, a leader’s traits must show his worth as a leader. Every person has his or her own way of showing their worth, but leaders must show to the public that they can deliver what is expected of them.
This is a fine time to ask yourself, “Am I a leader?” Or better still, ask your leaders, “Are you really a leader??? ”
17 // ESSAY BY RINGO ROQUE-DADOLE
FOREWORD The United Nations Millennium Campaign recognises the important role that young people around the world, and more so in Africa, can play in this vital global process of making this planet a more just and sustainable world for the generations to come.
IWESS-INTEGRATED WATER ENERGY AND SANITATION SOLUTION Winner of the Mondialogo contest, ’Solutions for a better world 2007’ IWESS IS A SMALL SCALE BIOGAS BASED WASTE AND WASTE WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM THAT TURNS ORGANIC WASTE AND WASTEWATER INTO A RESOURCE THAT CAN PAVE THE WAY FOR: IMPROVED HEALTH FOR PEOPLE WITH IMPROPER SANITATION • iwess will solve problem with the use of latrine pits • iwess will make it possible to substitute wood fuel and charcoal for cooking with biogas • leads to improved health for people using wood fuel or charcoal for cooking • 1.8 million women die every year from diseases related to smoke from wood and charcoal stoves IMPROVED HEALTH AND INCOME FOR PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM USE CHEMICAL PESTICIDES • iwess will pave the way for introduction of 100% organic farming PREVENTION OF SLASH AND BURN FARMING IN THE RAIN FOREST • iwess will pave the way for sustainable agriculture and maintenance of soil fertility INTRODUCTION OF BIOGAS AS A VEHICLE FUEL ON A GLOBAL LEVEL • iwess can be scaled up to village and community levels and solve problems with organic waste and waste water • iwess can be adapted to metropolitan or rural areas LOWERED WATER DEMAND • iwess will make it possible to recycle greywater and turn blackwater into nourishing, rich fertilizer IMPROVED SITUATION FOR WOMEN LIVING IN SOUTH • iwess will release the hard workload on women that now spend a lot of time getting water and wood fuel, therefore giving them more strength to get involved in activities that will develop democracy and improve the economy, for example, by starting up cooperatives selling locally produced organic food for a local and global market CREATING AN ECONOMICALLY SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE FOR MEAT PRODUCERS WORLDWIDE • Meat production releases 200 times more green house gases then vegan protein production and undermines health by increasing the intake of cholesterol and saturated fats • usa use one third of their energy production for the meat industry and 150 billion animals are killed every year for human consumption, creating a giant threat upon our global environment • iwess will make it possible for farmers to grow crops for biogas production instead of feeding cattle and without using pesticides and chemical fertilizer. In summary the implementation of iwess will fulfill all the Millennium Development goals.
It is tragic that in Africa today half the children go to bed hungry every night. Many of them lack basic needs and some do not even have a roof over their heads! It is hard to imagine, if you have never experienced it, what it is like to be sick and have no doctor to go to, to be hungry and have no food to eat, to want a future but have no school to prepare you for it. With the Millennium Development Goals, the world’s governments have committed themselves to reducing this endemic misery faced by millions of Africans, by halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015. Young people must fight the tragic waste of youth joblessness and become leaders of today by coming up with innovative development ideas and strategies. Young people must become vital partners in our efforts to campaign against poverty by getting involved in efforts to eradicate the hiv/aids pandemic and other deadly diseases; achieving gender equality and universal primary education for all; and, most importantly, eradicating extreme poverty—the first of the Millennium Development Goals. I wish to sincerely appreciate the fantastic efforts made by the Young People We Care (ypwc) initiative to educate and inspire young people to participate in global campaigns such as the Stand Up Campaign. By enhancing youth participation in this global Campaign for the achievement of mdgs, Young People We Care is helping to create a cohort of youths who refuse to stay silent as millions of poor people continue to wallow in misery and deprivation. I urge more African youth groups to get involved in such campaigns with an aim of influencing national, regional and global policy formulation. It is never too early to be active! If you start young, I am confident that by the time you are my age you will have made a huge difference to humanity. I would like to invite all young people to push this anti-poverty campaign agenda even harder by getting involved in the 2008 “Stand Up and Take Action Campaign” which will take place between October 17–19th, 2008. I urge you to organize your own innovative, policy-focused events aimed at demanding greater accountability from your leaders. Your generation can make poverty history! Let us make it happen…together.
Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem Deputy Director United Nations Millennium Campaign, Africa
Bjorn Marten, iwess development group
16 // YOUTH IN ACTION / SUMMARY OF IWESS BY BJORN MARTEN
africa.millenniumcampaign @ gmail.org
5 // FOREWARD
The United Nations took a giant step at its Millennium Summit in 2000, which saw the drafting and signing of the eight Millennium Development Goals. It was signed by 189 countries in support of realizing each goal by 2015. The year 2007 marked the mid-way point to the target date. Yet as indicated by UN reports, the interim goals have been missed. We will not achieve the goals laid out if we continue at the current rate. Many countries are seriously lagging behind in their commitments to the MDGs. The United Nations has called for all countries to actively participate and recommit to the MDGs to ensure their realization. Young People We Care (YPWC), a youth-led and youth-focused organization, is of the opinion that we can better realize the MDGs through the involvement and participation of young people who form about half of the worlds population. Eveline Herfkens – Executive Coordinator of the Millennium Campaign, recently stated that the United Nations can not make this happen alone. She argued that “the degree to which commitments are kept depends largely on people outside of the UN system. The UN can create the platform, but only the citizens of those states can hold their governments accountable.” Young people, in YPWC’s consideration, have a great role to play in fulfilling the MDGs by 2015. The Advocacy team of YPWC, with the support of youth and youth organizations around the world, declare to world leaders and other concerned people that we are actively working towards a better world in 2015. There is really “No Excuse” to achieving the MDGs.
LOCALIZING GOALS Ghana
The Millennium Development Goals were adopted in 2000 after having been drawn from the Millennium Declaration of the United Nations. It is important or necessary to achieve the mdgs by their target date of 2015 because both the developed and the developing worlds have come to the understanding that, it was only in achieving those goals that the world can together address the issues of peace, security, development, human rights and fundamental freedoms. This means that insecurity, conflict, misery, as well suffering are usually caused by the growing problems in the third world, such as, environmental degradation, extreme poverty and hunger, increasing child mortality, etc. It was therefore in line with this that in Mr. Kofi Annan’s March 2005 report entitled ‘In Larger Freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all,’ he observed, “We will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights. Unless these causes are advanced, none will succeed.” Although all of the eight Millennium Development Goals are equally important vis-à-vis the progression or otherwise development of the third world, in some extreme cases there is the need to localise them and see which is very necessary to a particular locality given the fact that different places have different peculiar problems. Interestingly, environmental sustainability is one goal that I feel is important to achieve in the Northern Part of Ghana where I come from. Known as the savannah grasslands of Ghana, Northern Ghana serves as the gateway to the Sahara Desert. The area has for centuries served as the source of grains and other
By Mohammed Awal, Yakubu
cereals for the forest zones of Ghana and some of the countries in the West African sub regions including Niger, Chad, Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali. Consequently, years of pressure on the soil has led to the ground becoming loose and infertile, hence, large vegetations have often given way to new farms as large tracts of vegetations are cleared to make way for crops. This development has seriously affected the development of the environment in this area, because, shea-nuts, the only rich crop in the area has lost it’s viability. These trees have often been cleared to make way not only for farming but to burn charcoal for household and commercial purposes. It is therefore not surprising that, in the last three decades, more and more people in this area have fallen into penury and abject poverty with large tracts of land being threatened by desertification. Therefore, in my personal opinion, sustaining the environment here has everything to do with reducing poverty and making life better. Indeed, the governments of the third world have the basic responsibility of ensuring that the mdgs are achieved because they interact with their people on daily basis and also implement the necessary policies. For instance, the government of Ghana is currently implementing the Millennium Challenge Account across Ghana, which I think is laudable. With the current globalizing trends, nongovernmental organizations, both State and non-state, local and international, have a major role to play in ensuring the implementation and monitoring of specific policies and programmes especially in the blind-spot of governments or in circumstances where states are overstretched in terms of financial and human resources.
15 // DECLARATION OF YOUTH
PROMOTING GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP By Kaidhiwa Michael
It is important to achieve the mdgs because world over we are now talking about a global village where opportunities for economic growth are just about the same. To achieve such a level many factors must be addressed in a formal way. Poverty, disease and ignorance should be eliminated, especially in the developing world. The mdgs act as a vehicle to achieving the global village and as such, it becomes important for world leaders to strive to attain them.
A word from Michael and Stephen Paul J. Meyer said “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass”. This is what motivated us to pursue the agenda of youth involvement in addressing the challenges confronting youth from migration to global poverty, the continued prevalence of hiv/aids, and other issues.
All Goals are important, but at an individual level I consider mdg 8, ”promoting global partnership,” very important because it is a real binder, cornerstone and a pivot over which all other mdgs can be achieved. For the case of my country, it is estimated that about 37% of our national budget is donor funded. Donations and grants received through mdg 8 can go a long way in fighting poverty, achieving Universal Primary education, combating hiv/aids. There are various project supported resources that cannot be underrated, which are received through global partnership and goodwill. Sharing knowledge and experience can be achieved through global partnership, as can copying and transferring technology. Global partnership in its abstract form is very good. The advantages of globalization should teach us a lesson. Personally I would think that there is no universal way of achieving the mdgs. Approaches will normally differ given diversities in cultures where ethnocentrism will only work to hinder the achievement of the mdgs. In every sense, it should be a bottom up approach.
We did imagine that youth would address these challenges locally/globally and offer meaningful contributions through concrete efforts. We envisage that they will take action against the challenges once they are given the necessary support and resources.
(Photo: Courtesy of KeSEMaT/Suroso)
It is important to achieve mdgs because it’s eight goals actually represent the goals all humans need in their life. The seventh goal of mdgs, to ensure environmentally sustainability, must become the leader over the other goals. Why? Because the environment has degraded in recent years. Next should be the eighth goal, to develop a global partnership for development must be the second one. It is very important to develop a global partnership to achieve the other six mdgs. I think we must work together to achieve mdgs not only for the present but also for the future. So, our partnership must be continuous until the end of day.
14 // DECLARATION OF YOUTH
Realizing the importance of shared actions and peer networks, we put ‘youth activism’ at the forefront of all our projects. In so doing, the youth gain a sense of ownership over their own projects and a chance to make an invaluable contribution to humanity. The contribution of youth activism to a country’s development can not be underestimated; if heard the voice of youth can play a key role in formulating policies and programmes for health, education, and other sectors of an economy. The ultimate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (mdgs) in the year 2015 will be a mirage if world leaders fail to recognize voices of the youth. To this end, Young People We Care (ypwc) have relentlessly pursued programs and projects to address certain global concerns such as the dual responsibility of developing and developed countries to realizing the mdgs, and emerging migration and development issues amongst others. ypwc, through a network of active and vibrant Youth Action Ambassadors (yaas) continue to embark on projects that touch on the needs of the community in various parts of the country. Understanding the richness of the contributions of youth in this information age, ypwc tires to make sure that youth are represented at all levels. As enshrined in our organizational philosophy, we believe that the role of youth in the achievement of mdgs cannot be underestimated and that the voice of youth can effect decision making that leads to the formulation of policies to realize the mdgs. Young people must continue to embark on human-driven projects that ensure their welfare and ensures future security. We sincerely believe that civil society organizations such as ypwc have a key role in applying pressure on governments and holding them accountable to their promises is key to achieving the mdgs Michael Boampong Founder and Executive Director
Stephen Kwabena Acheampong Co-founder and hiv/aids Project Officer
7 // A WORD FROM MICHAEL AND STEPHEN
LET US STEP UP THE CAMPAIGN!!! LET US STAND UP AGAINST POVERTY AND FOR THE MDGs!!!
ACHIEVING THE MDGs: A YOUTH RESPONSIBILTY Taken from a statement presented by Selorm Kofi Dake,Policy and Advocacy Officer, ypwc at the at the Simba Youth Club mdgs Awareness Day In the year 2000, 189 member states of the United Nations took a bold step and a great leap of faith in drafting and signing the Millennium Development Goals (mdgs). The goals were, but not limited to the following: • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger • Achieve universal primary education • Promote gender equality and empower women • Reduce child mortality • Improve maternal health • Combat hiv/aids, malaria and other diseases • Ensure environmental sustainability • Develop a global partnership for development Almost seven years have elapsed since then. The Ghana government was one of the numerous signatories to this declaration. It is prudent and necessary, therefore, for us as a people to take stock of our activities in the pursuit of the realization of the millennium development goals. We cannot assign ourselves a responsibility through our promise to other countries in the world, then return home to fold our arms. Internationally, individuals and nations are working hard, creating a global force that is working towards the realization of the mdgs, as those who browse the internet and read newspapers, magazines and journals both within and without the boundaries of Ghana would attest to. The United Nations, for instance, has devel¬oped the Millennium Campaign site on the internet to collate and disseminate news and information on all mdg campaigns and activities across the world. Why the MDGs are important? We ask the questions: What makes the mdgs so special and why should we in Ghana be bothered?
How does it affect our lives as a people and how could their attainment shape or transform our lives? Finally, what role can we play to make it happen? The eight goals are a summary of the various activities humanity has over the years undertaken and the ideals we have been striving to reach in our quest for development. A clearly defined vision is important to the realization of these goals, since blurred vision can sometimes be very frustrating and we can lose sight of what we are striving for. The mdgs are a blueprint for all member nations to measure their commitment to the pursuit of sustainable development and the betterment of the lives of their citizenry. They are a common yardstick with which measurements in terms of development are made across the globe in every country. The mdgs also give countries the opportunity to share ideas, skills and expertise in addressing the most common but debilitating challenges confronting us all globally. They serve as a standard by which governments, civil society organizations and individuals are able to measure their contribution to the alleviation of the suffering of the world’s people. The Africa Situation Many Africans still live in abject and grinding poverty, without access to good drinking water or decent, affordable housing and good health care. It is an open secret that the majority of the world’s natural resources are located in the heart of African soils. As chronicled by David Lamb, Africa has 40% of the world’s potential hydroelectric power supply, the bulk of the world’s diamonds and chromium, 30% of uranium in the non-communist world, 50% of the world gold, 9o% of cobalt, 50% of phosphate, 40% of its platinum, 8% of its known petroleum reserves, 12% of its natural gas, and millions upon millions of acres of untilled land. In addition, Lamb states that Africa is known to have 70% of the world’s cocoa, 60% of its coffee, and 50% of its oil palm.
8 // STATEMENT BY SELORM KOFI DAKE / ARTWORK BY AMANDA HARMON
TAKE ACTION IN YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY AND CHANGE THE WORLD.
STAGEHANDS OF OUR WORLD By Sally Appiagyei- Frimpong
It has been said many times that the world in which we live is like a stage, and that we all are actors within a play on that stage. We each have our own specific characters and roles to play that help contribute to the success of the play in which we are actors. In the same way in which there can be no play with no stage, there can be no humans with no world. Stages do not appear, ready-made, fit for the play for which they are needed. Stages are designed, created, arranged by set designers. Great care is taken in making sure the stage is suitably setup to compliment the actors that will be taking on the characters of the play, and for the nature of the play itself. And so, knowing this, the actors carefully make sure that they tamper with the set as little as possible during the course their turn on stage. However avoiding tampering isn’t always possible, and so stagehands are always waiting in the wings, ready to put the set back in the right order again whenever needed. In the same way, God has designed our very own world stage to be perfect for all human endeavors. We, as the actors, have tampered with this set. Even when some sort of destruction has been required, we have always been motivated by our own needs and by how our tampering can benefit ourselves. We forget to consider in what state we our leaving the world stage for those that shall take to it once we have left. Who are to be the stagehands for our world? Who will correct the set for generations to come?
The answer, I believe, is simple. We all can be stagehands, but it is the youth of today who can and should take on this important role. We can be the leaders of tomorrow that we believe are needed. Are there any excuses we can give to the next generation—to our own children—as to why we failed to take action to set our world in order? No! We can’t afford to remain idle. To paraphrase Muhatmah Ghandi, in order to have a dream city that suits and promotes the values that you cherish, you should “be the change” that you wish to see, and lead that change. Let us be inspired by the simple conviction articulated by Ms Eveline Herfkens, the Executive Director of the un Millennium Campaign,“…we are the first generation that can put an end to extreme poverty around the world and we refuse to miss this opportunity.” Fellow youth of this world, and especially those of us in Africa; let us do everything in our power to always arrange the stage to aid in the realization of the mdgs. We must not leave the stage tampered with, not allowing those that come after to take to the stage and carry on the play with ease. Let us be stagehands as well as actors, so that after we have finished playing our roles, the next generation will be proud of us and say that we kept it in order, and that that is why they are also able to play their role.
Let us stand up against poverty and for the mdgs!!!
13 // DECLARATION OF YOUTH
Declaration of Youth As part of the United Nations Millennium Campaign â€œStand Up And Speak Outâ€? event which was hosted by ypwc, the youth led organization circulated a call within their network, target groups, and also through networks groups like takingitglobal. ypwc asked young people to respond to the following questions: 1. Why is it important to achieve the mdgs? 2. Why is a particular goal of the mdgs important to you? For example is goal 1 more important to you than goal 8? Hint: You can better answer this question if you localize the mdgs to your community. Think about some challenges that you are facing in your community and how the mdgs are the best opportunity to solve these challenges. 3. What do you think are some of the best ways or practices that the Government of Ghana or your country, world leaders, politicians, donor agencies and international institutions or organizations can adopt and work with\on to achieve the mdgs? We hope that this book explains and brings to life the issue of achieving the mdgs. With the multifaceted nature of the book we hoped that young people at the end of the day will be able to use this as a tool to press on world leaders to do more to save them and their future. In the pages that follow you will find some responses from young people.
He then sums it up in these words, “There is not another continent blessed with such abundance and diversity.” Two important Stakeholders To me, upon careful and thoughtful consideration, the government has the greatest responsibility to fulfill and role to play in the attainment of the mdgs. Government is entrusted with the responsibility of national leadership. Leadership, as postulated by Professor Stephen Adei of gimpa, is “cause and all other things are effect”. Governments draft and implement development policy frameworks and mobilize and direct the flow of resources towards the attainment of such development goals. Thus, it is absolutely necessary for the government to be conscious of its responsibility and central role in pushing the mdgs towards meeting the 2015 target. In Ghana the government has implemented a number of policies in line with achieving the mdgs. These are the Free Compulsory and Universal Basic Education fcube, the Capitation Grant, The nepad School Feeding Programme, the National Health Insurance Scheme (nhis) and still counting… Education is the best tool for the elimination of debilitating and grinding poverty. The implementation of the Free Compulsory and Universal Basic Education (fcube) by the Ghana government is a big plus for Ghanaians in achieving the mdgs. It is reassuring that enrollment in most of the basic schools has shot up appreciably by 17 percent after the implementation of the capitation and nepad feeding grants program under fcube. However, quality assurance mechanisms should be fashioned to guarantee the quality of our graduates. The Youth Another invaluable stakeholder concerning the mdgs is the youth. Youth represent an interface between a fading and a budding generation. Youth have the zeal, enthusiasm and energy to bring about development. In Africa and Ghana about 60 percent of the population is less than 25 years of age and the mdgs are solution proposals to addressing the numerous challenges facing the youth in areas of education, health, enjoyment of human rights, sustenance of rule of law, employment and combating hiv/aids. The youth as defined by the United Nations are people with the age range of 15 to 24. However, the African Union in its draft African Youth Charter defines the youth as people within the age range of 15 to 35. The African definition of the youth takes into consideration
the peculiar cultural and socio-economic dimensions of development on the continent. The youth are indispensable asset in development, particularly in the attainment of the mdgs. I am reminded of a statement by a Swiss student leader, “When students decide to act, things happen!” Over the years, students have fearlessly advocated for respect for human rights and the restoration of democratic rule even when the masses silently suffered under the heavy arms of oppressive regimes. South African students, for instance, sparked a revolution that led to the annihilation of apartheid and the restoration of democracy and rule of law in their country. It is in the same vein that I believe so much in the potential of the youth, students especially, to play active roles in fulfilling the mdgs. They can lead campaigns and organize awareness fora and workshops. Yet, the greatest and primary responsibility students have to discharge is to learn assiduously. After all, the greatest asset any nation can have is its people—people who are endowed with skills, knowledge, and information. Student leaders can mobilize their students to undertake community development programmes such as health education, teaching, environmental protection and address other peculiar development needs of the various individually unique communities. Individually and collectively, we must share news on the mdgs and work together for their attainment. The Ghanaian youth must realize that we are the major recipients and beneficiaries should the mdgs be attained and this awareness should drive us to relentlessly pursue and score the eight goals. We then will be fulfilling the statement made by Ghana’s first and illustrious president, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, that, “the acquisition of knowledge is excellent but the beauty of knowledge is its applications in the greatest sense for the benefit of the greatest majority of our people.”
“Youth have the zeal, enthusiasm and energy to bring about development.”
Arise! Arise!! Arise!!! Youth of Africa, backbone of Africa, Arise For we are the soldiers to Free Africa from poverty. Come, let us put our heads together And victory song will start loudly, For we are the backbone of Africa. Arise, youth of Africa,
Let us light our flaring touch And expose our surrounding darkness And help the blind among us
To find their path Then we will all see the right path And expose every foe against Africa While we speak out and
For we are the backbone of Africa And so Arise and let us build Africa. Youth,
Arise! Arise!! Arise!!! FOR WE ARE THE BACKBONE OF AFRICA
10 // STATEMENT BY SELORM KOFI DAKE (CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8)
Written and composed by Sally Appiagyei-Frimpong