Tamale, 13 November 2018 – Over 5000 students from nine senior high schools (SHS) and three tertiary institutions in the Northern Region of Ghana have taken part in this year’s joint UN4U outreach activities organized by the United Nations Communications Group (UNCG) in the country. UN4U was held annually by the UN Information Centre (UNIC), Accra. It has, since 2015, been adopted by the UNCG as one of its core advocacy events to reach out to the youth and share knowledge about the work of the UN, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other global and national development priorities. The platform is also used to encourage the youth to explore opportunities to make meaningful impact in societies.
The first event was hosted by the Tamale Senior High School (SHS) and was held at the school’s assembly hall, which seats over 3000 students. Here, students from the Northern School of Business, Tamale Islamic SHC, Anbariya SHS, Kalpohin SHS, Ghana SHS, Business SHS, Vitting SHS and Tamale Girls SHS were in attendance.
Representatives from UNHCR, UNDP, UNAIDS and UNIC took turns to brief the students on various aspects of their work. At the end of the programme, Muniru Ruweida of Tamale SHS told us she has now learnt that “we should not look down on or stigmatize people with HIV/AIDS.” For Alhassan Azara of Tamale Islamic SHS, who said she never knew about the UN, the programme was very useful because it was as a result of the programme that she gained an understanding of the core objectives of the UN.
At the tertiary level, students from the Tamale University College of Education (TUCE) showed great interest in the work of the UN. The event was very interactive and engaging. The students sought clarity on a number of issues around conflict resolution, peace and security and how best to make an impact in a society where young people’s voices are inadvertently silenced by the reminder to wait till they are old. At the end of the nearly 3-hour session with these students, 18-year old Asmaila Rahinatu, a first-year student of TUCE told the team that “today I have learnt that we can all make a change in a respectable way regardless of our age”.
The Vice Principal of the TUCE, Mr. Imoro Huhu Alhassan, expressed appreciation to the UNCG for choosing to hold the event in their school. He appealed to the UN to organize such events in the Northern region on a regular basis.
Some of the most rewarding aspects in the work of UN colleagues is taking the UN to the door steps of the youth through outreach programmes. UN4U is one way to reach out that connects UN staff from many agencies to young people in their own schools and communities, and that enables us to learn as much from them as they learn about the UN from us.