Accra, Ghana – The United States Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, attended the premiere of Season 5 of the megahit Ghanaian TV series, “You Only Live Once” (YOLO) at the Silverbird Cinemas in West Hills Mall on May 1. Ambassador Sullivan joined representatives from the Ministry for Water Resources and Sanitation, the Ghana Health Service, and the National Population Council to mark this milestone.
Since 2016, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has worked with the Ghana Health Service and the National Population Council and provided financial support to produce the YOLO series. This series is a part of the “Good Life, Live it Well” campaign that promotes positive health behaviors in a wide variety of areas to include reproductive health, malaria prevention, and nutrition through both traditional and digital media.
At the premiere, Ambassador Sullivan commended the Government of Ghana, its agencies, and their media partners for making adolescent health a priority. She also remarked that “Youth participation is vital to development and can contribute to more sustainable investments to end cycles of poverty, build resilient, democratic societies, improve health and nutrition outcomes and strengthen economies.”
The YOLO TV series was launched in 2015 by the National Population Council with the aim to educate youth on healthy reproductive behavior and equip them with skills to deal with peer pressure and the other challenges that affect their everyday lives. The series has millions of viewers in Ghana and around the world including Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Read Ambassador Sullivan’s remarks below.
Premiere of YOLO Season 5
Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan
Silverbird Cinemas, West Hills Mall, Accra
Wednesday, May 1st, 2019 | 4:00 p.m.
Honorable Minister of Informarion Kojo Oppong Nkrukah;
Director-General, Ghana Health Service Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare;
National Population Council Executive Director Dr. Leticia Adelaide Appiah;
Development Partner Colleagues;
Stars of the show;
Television and social media enthusiasts,
Members of the Press;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Good Afternoon. What’s up? How’s it going? That was an interesting film we just saw! It’s a great pleasure to be here at the West Hills Mall for my first time for the premier of the fifth season of You Only Live Once, or YOLO.
I don’t have to tell you that this is one of Ghana’s most popular shows. I’d like to share with you a fun fact about the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Ama Mansah, that not many people know. I had a very brief theatrical career in secondary school. I played the role of the school nurse in a play called “Up the Down Staircase.” I still remember my one line: “Diet. Nutrition. Make sure to eat a good breakfast!” That timeless advice fits very well with the positive health message of YOLO.
This program is a great example of the commitment the United States and Ghana share to improving the health and well-being of the world’s greatest resource –our youth. Evidence shows that young people do not have ready access to health information and services, including on reproductive health behaviors.
To close that information gap, the United States Government, through our Agency for International Development (USAID), teamed up with the Ghana Health Service to develop and launch the “Good Life, Live it Well” campaign.
Using both traditional and digital media, this campaign promotes positive health behaviors including on reproductive health, malaria prevention, and nutrition. After all, “an ounce of prevention Is worth a pound of cure.” This campaign also encourages self-reflection about what makes life “good” and links personal happiness and the “good life” to healthy behaviors.
Under the “Good Life, Live it Well” Campaign, USAID worked with the Ghana Health Service and the National Population Council, including providing financial support, to produce the YOLO series.
This award-winning show has not only provided a platform to reach young people with key information on healthy behaviors and practices but it has also helped shape the actors to become “reproductive health ambassadors.” The show’s young stars serve as influential peer educators and role models, promoting healthy lifestyles to their many young social media followers.
Youth participation and youth leadership are vital to development. They can contribute to more sustainable investments to end cycles of poverty; build resilient, democratic societies; improve health and nutrition outcomes; and strengthen economies. After all, the youth hold the future in their hands. So it is very much in Ghana’s national interest to set them up for success.
That is why the United States has partnered with Ghana to support behavior change activities for more than 20 years, encouraging Ghanaians, especially young people, to make positive life changes, so that, even though “You Only Live Once,” that life will be the best it can be. I’d like to commend the Government of Ghana, especially the National Population Council, the Ghana Health Service, and their media partners, for their leadership in making adolescent health a priority.
This is indeed a strategic approach, as today, more than 50% of Ghanaians are under age 25. Let me cite a piece of African wisdom I learned when I first served in Ghana some 20 years ago: “When your parents look after you for your teeth to grow, then you look after them for their teeth to fall out.”
In closing, I’d like to assure you that the United States Government remains committed to working with all of you in partnership to improve the health and well-being of young people. Together, we will continue to encourage youth to make good choices and have a “Good Life, Live it Well”…it’s an every day thing!