From September 15 through 16, U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer Roberto Quiroz II, Cultural Affairs Specialist Sophia A. Bosompem, and Alumni Coordinator Rukmini Essel traveled to the Volta Region to promote education, entrepreneurship, and the empowerment of youth, women and girls, and to encourage their contributions and efforts to advance development in their communities. See Facebook album of program.
At the community of Aflao in the Volta Region’s Ketu South Municipality, the U.S. Embassy members were greeted by the Honorable Abla Dzifa Gomashie, former Deputy Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Creative Arts, honorary Queen-Mother for Development in the Ketu South Area, and Executive Director of the non-profit organization “Values for Life” (VFL).
The American people, through the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section, sponsored VFL’s five-day skills development program for more than 100 young women in the community of Aflao.
The Honorable Abla Dzifa Gomashie offered the U.S. Embassy visitors a tour of the school’s library, which she has sponsored with the assistance of volunteers to promote education in her community. She then led the closing ceremony of VFL’s five-day training program, which was also attended by community members and a Chief and Queen Mothers of Aflao and Avoeme.
Program participants showcased the results of their training producing soap and hygiene products, baskets, traditional jewelry, and paintings of local landscapes. They also performed skits and traditional dances to welcome members of the public.
Addressing the youth, Mr. Quiroz lauded VFL’s efforts to mentor, train, and support youth. “The United States is proud to partner with ‘Values for Life’ and each of you through this program. As Ambassador Robert P. Jackson has said, we consider it a priority to partner with Ghanaians whose efforts empower youth, women, and girls to promote development through their own immense talents and contributions. We live in an interconnected world; when you prosper the region and Ghana prosper, and the world and the United States also prosper and benefit from your success.”
In her remarks, the Honorable Abla Dzifa Gomashie thanked the U.S. for its support, lauded the program’s resource staff for mentoring and motivating the participants, and exhorted them to remember that “there is no excuse for failure,” and that they must persevere through attaining an education and developing their fullest potential. She also noted that one of the program’s key goals was to offer the youth the potential to establish their own businesses and work independently. “Income generation from your own talents has the power to economically sustain your families and communities” she said.
Mr. Quiroz and the U.S. Embassy team then visited the Ho Technical University. They were welcomed by the Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Emmanuel Sakyi, and Registrar Dr. Chris Ameho, and presented books as gifts to the institution. They discussed the benefits of the Community Colleges Initiative Program (CCI) sponsored by the American people through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the Department of State, where students from around the world can spend one academic year studying in the United States, building their leadership skills and conducting community service programs.
Vice Chancellor Sakyi expressed appreciation for CCI’s contributions to his institution, and said that he urges all alumni of U.S. exchange programs at the university to demonstrate leadership by contributing to the community their talents and experiences. “They are like lamps that must be on top of a table to shine on others, not be hidden in the bushels. We urge all of them to show that America passed through them, not that they passed through America, and look forward to strengthening our fruitful cooperation with them and the U.S. Embassy,” he said. Mr. Quiroz, Ms. Bosompem, and 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow Bright Dey then conducted an interview with the university’s radio station journalist Herbert Mawuli Yevu-Agbi to discuss the 2018 MWF program’s application process, Education USA services, and consular services.
The U.S. Embassy team then hosted a dinner for Young African Leaders Initiative/Mandela Washington Fellows (YALI/MWF) alumni Dr. Mary Ashinyo, Medical Director at the Volta Regional Hospital, 2015 MWF; Alfred Godwin Adjabeng, Chief Executive Officer of the Reach out to Future Leaders Movement, 2015 MWF; and Bright Dey, Regional Head of Information Technology at the Ghana Education Service in the Volta Region, 2015 MWF. They also welcomed former Deputy Minister Gomashie and her husband Brigadier General Martin Ahiaglo (retired, Army of Ghana), who is also an alumnus of the U.S. National War College in Washington, D.C.
The MWF alumni discussed their ongoing efforts to promote growth in the academic, medical, and agricultural sectors by bringing together young professionals in their fields to create new opportunities for Ghanaian youth, especially women and girls. “The high numbers of youth entering workforce age each year signal a need for our country. We believe that with Ghana’s growing youth population, we have a responsibility to help create the conditions where job creation in key sectors flourish to welcome them and their talents to the job market,” said Alfred Godwin Adjabeng.
Former Deputy Minister Gomashie congratulated the youth and urged them to hold on to the power of positive thinking, adding: “Remain focused and don’t allow negative energy to demotivate you from your goals. Anything is possible with a positive mind frame and commitment when you embark on a journey of servant leadership to uplift others who can benefit from the good fortunes of your experiences.”
The U.S. Embassy’s visit to the Volta Region is part of our public outreach to strengthen partnerships with all Ghanaians and with alumni of U.S. government exchange programs sponsored by the American people.
To learn more about the YALI/MWF program please see: https://yali.state.gov/washington-fellowship/; to learn more about CCI please see:https://exchanges.state.gov/non-us/program/community-college-initiative-program.