Accra, Aug. 31, GNA - Dr Mrs Shola Safo-Duodu, the Project Director of YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) Regional Leadership Centre, has urged graduates of YALI-Ghana Cohort 11 to exhibit true leadership and be ambassadors of change in their various countries.
She charged the graduates to make positive use of the knowledge acquired and impart it in their various fields of discipline for quality delivery.
Dr Safo-Duodu gave the advice at the closing ceremony of YALI Ghana Cohort 11 at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration in Accra on Friday.
The programme had 127 participants from nine West African countries namely; Ghana, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Cameroon.
The participants went through three weeks of intensive training in three tracks: Public Policy and Management; Civic Leadership; and Business and Entrepreneurship, funded by USAID and Mastercard Foundation.
Dr Safo-Duodo said participants under the Business and Entrepreneurial Track developed and presented prototype business ideas and pitched them to their colleagues in the Public Policy Management and Civil Society Leadership tracks.
She explained that the approach helped the Business and Entrepreneurial Track participants to fully appreciate the practical dimension of the design thinking concept.
She said the Public Policy and Management Track conceptualised think tanks as prototype organisations aimed at influencing the policy making process in Nigeria, with the aim of empowering young people and resolving the youth unemployment crisis in the country.
Dr Safo-Duodo said the Civil Society Track came up with the “Nuskit,” an innovative water filtering kit, which would reduce waterborne diseases and be instrumental to the water and sanitation needs of rural dwellers, especially those in deprived communities.
She said the YALI Regional Leadership Centre for West Africa-Accra had, so far, trained 3,522 participants on the programme.
“The centre is proud to announce that by September 3, 2018, an additional 700 participants from Online Cohorts eight, nine and 10 would complete their training, making a total of 4,222 young Africans trained by the initiative as against the four-year target of 4,000 to be trained by April, 2019,” she added.
Dr Safo-Duodu said this would push the centre’s performance achievement to 105.55 per cent, with an excess of 222 more young people trained eight clear months to the end of the first phase of the initiative.
She urged the participants to use the knowledge acquired to improve community development and be influential leaders in their countries.
Professor Anthony Sallar, the Dean of Students, GIMPA, who represented Prof. Ebow Bondzi-Simpson, the Rector of the Institute, expressed optimism that the participants would impact positively their respective societies with the skills they had acquired.
“We strongly believe that the partnership with USAID and Mastercard Foundation will continue to build the future of Africa on a solid leadership grounds. The future is bright; the future is inspiring; the future is Africa.”
Mr Daniel Moore, the West Africa Regional Mission Director, USAID, said the outfit would continue to support the initiative to produce leaders with exceptional qualities to lead Africa’s development.
“America people believe in Africa and we hope the participants will use their experience to cause the needed change on the Continent,” he said.
Mr Muhammed L.W. Kanyi won the overall YALI Spirit Award for Cohort 11, Mr Abraham Durosawo won the YALI Star of Business and Entrepreneurship Award, Mr Ngagine Soulemane Halif won the YALI Star of Civic Leadership and Social Enterprise and Ms Mary Anso took the YALI Star of Public Policy and Management Award.
The YALI leadership Award went to three participants - Ms Christabel Okantey, Mr Songor S.J. Koedyoma and Ms Pearl Amoah Amponsah.
The YALI was launched by the Government of the United States of America as a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders by grooming strong and result-oriented leaders.
In July 2014, the U.S. Government announced the creation of four Regional Leadership Centres in Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, and Senegal.
The Centres are physical footprints across the Continent, which serve as hubs to encourage transformational learning and enhance leadership skills.