Accra, Ghana; 7 February 2018 – In a town-hall meeting with the UN Youth Envoy, Jayathma Wickramanayake, young Ghanaians shared a series of policy issues and ideas that were developed by a collective of youth organisations working in Ghana. The policy ideas presented served as an alternative policy framework to address the issues young people faced in Ghana. The town hall meeting was also attended by the High Commissioner of Canada in Ghana, Ms. Heather Cameron, and the UNFPA Ghana Country Representative, Niyi Ojuolape.
The town hall engagement allowed for young people in the room to voice their concerns and the challenges they face in realising their aspirations. A number of issues were raised, and in particular the lack of adequate investment to support youth social and entrepreneurial ventures.
Interaction with youth at the town hall meeting
The town-hall heard thematic keynote statements on issues including Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth Participation, the Environment and Entrepreneurship from young presenters. The statements called for continued youth engagement in delivering SRHR outcomes for young people, particularly in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. They called for increased young engagement in political processes, beyond supporting the electoral process. They challenged young people to innovate for environmental conservation, calling for youth to recognise and take advantage of the business opportunities in the environmental conservation and renewable technologies space. And in particular, they recognised the innovative entrepreneurial spirit shown by young Ghanaians, called for investment in support services and resources to spur innovation and mentor new ideas and businesses led by young people.
Accra, Ghana; 7 February 2018 – The UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, visited the Agblogboshie Market in Accra shortly after arriving in Ghana. Her visit to the market was to meet with Kayayei, head porters, mostly girls. The Kayayei are dispersed across various cities and markets in Ghana, and their primary occupation is to carry goods for people from the point of purchase out of the market. It is hard, physical and demanding work, but the resilient teenage girls have come together in a community to support one another.
The UN Youth Envoy meets with Kayayei
The Kayayei are predominantly teenage girls. The nature of work and environment of their occupation put them at considerable risk. In particularly, services and information hardly reach them, particularly on sexual and reproductive health. They are susceptible to gender-based violence, rape and, with little information on health issues and access to family planning commodities, they are likely to have unplanned pregnancies.
Selfie time at Agbogbloshie
Despite these challenges, the Kayayei have bonded in an association and through a local organisation – PAYDP and the support of UNFPA and other partners – are building a resilient community. The girls who work as porters for shoppers at the crowded Agblogboshie Market have built a day-care centre for their children that provides a safe space for their children whilst they work. In addition to this, the Kayayei also receive capacity building and as a result, they also run other income generating activities, including jewelry making.
Accra, Ghana; 7 February 2017 – United Nations Envoy on Youth was today on a one (1) day visit to Ghana. The visit was an important opportunity to leverage support for vulnerable young girls and women by engaging partners to learn about the interventions they are running whilst also meeting with key beneficiaries to get an understanding of the issues and challenges they face. Encouraged by the call from His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana at the recently concluded Global Partnership on Education Conference in Dakar for African countries to fully finance the education of its people, the visit sought to further elevate the discussion and push for greater empowerment of young girls.
The UN Youth Envoy with Ghana’s Minister for Youth [R] and other dignitaries
An important point of call for the Youth Envoy during the one day mission was to meet with the Minister of Youth and Sports in Ghana, Hon. Hon. Isaac Asiamah for a bilateral exchange on the areas of convergence and opportunities to advance the youth development agenda both in Ghana and at the level of the United Nations.
The two officials were delighted to meet again after having shared at audience at the recently concluded ECOSOC Youth Forum. Hon. Isaac Asiamah welcomed the Youth Envoy to Ghana and noted that the visit was a “demonstration of her commitment to young people in Africa”. He emphasized that the African continent faces challenges that include poverty and unemployment, where young people are the most disproportionately impacted. He expressed confidence in the Envoy’s ability to elevate these issues to prominence in the region and global levels. “I am particularly proud of your appointment” the Hon. Minister added, noting that the Youth Envoy is young, articulate and shares strong ideas on fostering youth development.
Accra, Ghana ; 7 February 2018 – Halfway through a five (5) nation mission in Africa, the UN Envoy on Youth kicked off a visit with her delegation to the Canadian High Commissioner in Ghana alongside the UNFPA Country Representative, Mr. Niyi Ojuolape. The visit was intended to renew the Envoy’s commitment to girls empowerment. Working closely with UNFPA and other partners, the Canadian Government has been a strong partner in promoting gender equality, access to services and education for young girls. In Ghana, the Canadian High Commission is set to implement a project with UNFPA targeting young girls who face the risk of gender based violence, sexual exploitation, poor sexual and reproductive health, and lacking access to services and information.
The UN Youth Envoy meets with the Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana
Thanking the High Commissioner for accepting to have an audience, the Youth Envoy conveyed great appreciation for Canada’s role and leadership in promoting and supporting youth development. Noting the role the Canadian Prime Minister has played in elevating the issues young people face to the international stage by showing proactive leadership. Asides from being the Prime Minister, His Excellency Justin Tradeau is also the Minister of Youth of Canada. This makes the leadership, resources and ideas Canada shows to the rest of the world an important reference point on youth development.
The High Commissioner congratulated the Youth Envoy for her appointment and welcomed the iteration of male and female appointments for the position and hope it going to be institutionalised. The Commissioner noted that Canada is committed to youth development. One of its youngest Ministers is 30 years of age and while it celebrates international development week, the country is looking at the value of investing in young people and showcasing youth development. In Africa, Canada is working in a number of countries to also advance issues of gender equality, women’s empowerment and addressing harmful practices.
The Youth Envoy reiterated her commitment to work closely with the Canadian Government, noting her priorities to include promoting and recognising youth engagement in the implementation of the sustainable development goals. Other priorities of the envoy include Peace and Security and Gender Equality.
The Youth Envoy continues her visit in Ghana with bilateral visits and a youth townhall.
Accra, Ghana; 9 February 2018 – The United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Youth continued her maiden multi-nation visit in Africa with a one day stop in Accra, Ghana. The visit was an important opportunity for her to leverage support for vulnerable young girls and women. Encouraged by the call by His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana at the recently concluded Global Partnership on Education Conference in Dakar for African countries to fully finance the education of its people, the visit sought to further elevate the discussion and push for greater empowerment of young girls.
UN Youth Envoy with the UN Resident Coordinator
Press_Release_UNSGYE_Visit_Final 09.02.2018 A press release issued by the UN details the various activities and stops of the Youth Envoy. They included an audience with the Minister of Youth and Sports, her interaction with youth porter girls at the Agbogbloshie market, and a meeting with the Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana.
Accra, Ghana, 5 February 2018 – The UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake arrives in Ghana on Wednesday February 7, 2018 as part of her five-country African tour. Serving as a global advocate for addressing the needs and rights of young people across the world, Ms. Wickramanayake is coming with one simple message to Put Young People First.
Secretary-General António Guterres (right) with Jayathma Wickramanayake
During her visit, the UN Youth Envoy will pay courtesy calls on both Minister of Youth and Sports as well as Gender, Children and Social Protection to deliberate on how best to implement the AU Roadmap for Harnessing the Demographic Dividend and the strategic roadmap of the President of the Republic of Ghana to enable Ghana be among the first of the African countries to fully harness a demographic dividend.
In a press release, issued by the UNFPA Ghana office, Ms. Wickramanayake will also visit the Agbogbloshie market where she will interact with a group of female adolescent head porters (Kayayei).
Accra, Ghana 31 January 2018 – UNIC Accra has observed Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018 with two events involving students. The events included, exhibition titled “The Butterfly Project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust” at two locations, film screening, forum and artwork display. Participants included students of Morning Star School, Tiny Flowers Academy, Salem Senior High School and Sea Shells Schools. Present at both events were the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Ami Mehl, the Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy, Sander Hans-Helge and a Deputy Director at the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Mr. Mawuli Avetor. Also present was the Head of Morning Star School, Mrs. Nana Abena Kwakyi and teachers from the various participating schools.
A student of Morning Star presenting her art work.
Both events aimed at sensitising students on the Holocaust and to encourage students to confront and rectify negative traits or behavior they encounter in the society in an effort to prevent acts of genocide from its reoccurrence.
German Ambassador to Ghana, Ami Mehl, recounting his family’s ordeal of the Holocaust
Ambassador Ami Mehl encouraged students not live their lives as victims but rather live to realize their dreams. In a solemn moment, the Ambassador recounted the ordeal of his family during the Holocaust. For his part Mr. Hans-Helge told students to learn to say ‘stop’ to acts of discrimination of any kind. Mr Mawuli Avutor said acts of genocide are a grave human rights concerns. He also told the students that, dreams could change at any time based on what one experienced, but as future leaders they should not allow racism to change their dreams.
South Sudan, 29 January 2018 – Almost 700 Ghanaian peacekeepers serving under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan have been awarded UN Medals in recognition and appreciation for their service in South Sudan.
Among them are 57 female peacekeepers.
UNMISS Force Commander General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi awarded the medals to the Ghanaian officers in Bentiu, Unity region, during a colourful ceremony. Read more
Accra, 26 January 2018 – The Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists is now accepting applications from professional journalists from mainly developing countries for its 2018 fellowship program. The application deadline is March 12, 2018.
A press release issued by the programme invites radio, television, print and web journalists, age 25 to 35, from developing countries who are interested in coming to New York to report on international affairs during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly to apply. The fellowships will begin in early September and extend to late November and will include the cost of travel and accommodations in New York, as well as a per diem allowance.
Bentiu, South Sudan, 16 January 2018 – Peacekeepers from Ghana have organized a “fun-day” for displaced children in a protection site in Bentiu in northern South Sudan. Various games and a dance competition was part of the programme, which was thoroughly enjoyed by almost a thousand children.
Ghanaian soldiers serving the UN Mission in South Sudan took this nimble and playful, yet robust initiative to engage with hundreds of boys and girls as a way to encourage healthy, social interaction between them. Strengthened relations between peacekeepers and part of the displaced persons they are there to protect were no doubt a priceless, added bonus. Read further