April 2015


Future of Ghana Top 30 U30 Pioneer Elizabeth Patterson wins 2015 Vlisco Award

Last weekend Authentic Dutch wax brand Vlisco, concluded their month-long celebration of the third annual Vlisco Women’s Month campaign with a star-studded award ceremony and fashion show in Accra, where Future of Ghana Top 30 U30 pioneer Elizabeth Akua-Nyarko Patterson  was announced as the 2015 Vlisco Ambassador.

10394119_10100969987379574_918590236723904196_n

 

Elizabeth is the founder and director of the Girls Education Initiative of Ghana which provides academic and financial support for girls, with a special focus on students with special needs

On winning the award she said: “It’s a profound honour to be associated with the Vlisco brand and carry the torch from my predecessor, Eugenia Tachie-Menson, who performed her role so well. I am incredibly honoured to fill the shoes of such great women. I want to thank everyone who voted for me and I’m looking forward to the year ahead.

The night featured performances from singing sensation Gena West and multiple award-winning neo-soul vocalist Efya as well as the funky sounds of the Afro Maestro Orchestra, a group that combines African beats with traditional classical instruments in an incredible fusion.  The young and talented singer Maame Esi and Heroes Dance Group also gave great performances at the show.

Congratulations to Elizabeth on yet another accolade. You can read her Future of Ghana profile here.

Future of Ghana (@FutureofGH)

Eureka! British scientists lead a voyage of discovery for Ghana’s schoolchildren..

Lab_13 ignites passion, stirs up curiosity and mixes ideas to create future industry leaders.

A practical, accessible and student-led science project is paving the way for Ghana’s youngsters to step up and lead their nation’s science industry via a journey of exploration and experimentation.

photo-originalLab_13 Ghana, less about book learning of science and more about hands-on investigations, is heading to West Africa thanks to UK science charities Lightyear Foundation and Ignite! and a team of passionate scientists.

Lightyear Foundation is dedicated to igniting a passion for science across the world, empowering students, teachers and communities, showing how local, cheap and easily accessible materials can be used to bring the high school curriculum to life through hands-on activities, creating the next generation of passionate scientists.

Lightyear has partnered with Ignite! to deliver Lab_13 in the Bosomtwe District of central Ghana – the first outside of the UK.  The project which opens at Agape Academy on Wednesday 8 April is a designated science space in a school, where curiosity and imagination are brought to life through experiments using simple and basic local materials and resources. Activities are led by the curiosity and questions that children bring to the Lab_13, and their understanding of science is boosted by considering how it plays a central part of their everyday lives.

Each Lab_13 is run by a Management Team of pupils, and supported by Scientists in Residence.  In Lab_13 Ghana, scientists from Britain and Ghana will lead the sessions, encouraging understanding through doing, questioning, imagining and testing. But at the heart of the project is the principle that students are learning not just science but how to become scientists.

160 primary schools and 70 junior high schools in Ghana’s Bosumtwe District will visit Lab_13 between now and September.

British schools are invited to take part too – linking up to work alongside the Ghanaian students, via video, so that they can share findings and ideas and get passionate about science together.

Lab_13 Ghana is all about igniting passion and changing lives,” says Fran Ling, Co-Founder of Lightyear Foundation.

“We all know the importance of education, but the way children are taught can make all the difference. Getting hands-on to explore, test and discover is the ideal way to inspire active young minds and instil in them the importance of questioning.

“This all adds up to a drive to succeed in science, which is great news for individual futures and the prospects of a whole nation.”
14164063786146_breaking

Lab_13 Ghana launched on Wednesday, 8th April at host school Agape Academy, Jachie. Students have been busy preparing for the launch event, rehearsing special dances to create a real celebration of colour and noise. There will also be tours of the lab space, speeches from the student management committee and demonstrations by students from Agape and other schools.

“Ghana is developing. We need a lot of scientists, they will develop Ghana,” says Joseph Donkor, Bosomtwe district Chairman for Ghana National Association for Private Schools.

“If they have the know-how and the understanding of science, they can solve their own problems and they are not left behind.”

The two British scientists who are heading to Ghana to donate their time, expertise and passion to help children enjoy and explore science are Myfanwy Owen and Anisha Tailor.

Myfanwy, 31 graduated with a degree in biology, specialising in biochemistry and microbiology. She spent several years in immunology research and development before moving to bioengineering. An enthusiastic micro-biologist with a real thirst for knowledge, she takes the tiny and makes it massively important. In 2012, she put her passion for science to good use, and joined the Lightyear Foundation Executive team managing their UK events.

Myfanwy says, “I was involved in the Lab_13 Ghana project from the very beginning and saw the idea grow into reality. The concept is brilliant and something I’m thrilled to be a part of. I know from my previous visits to Ghana the enthusiasm and curiosity of the children, teachers and community will make this project a huge success. ”

Anisha Tailor, 27, graduated in 2010 with a Master in Chemistry. She took time out from education and worked as a digital media designer for Fuse School, writing scripts and creating animations for YouTube science videos. Anisha retuned to university in 2013 to study Science Communication and upon graduation took on the role as Outreach Officer at The Physiological Society, creating hands-on activities, and discussion events for schools and the general public.

She says, “I met students from Lab_13 UK at a science festival, and within minutes I knew that there should be a Lab_13 in every school. When I saw the Ghana project, I knew it was something I wanted to be involved in. This is the way science should be taught and it’s a privilege to be involved with something so worthwhile.”

Seven students from Agape Academy have been chosen as the Student Management Committee of Lab_13 Ghana. They include Sylvester Kwakye, who says “Lab_13 is here to satisfy your scientific curiosity”, and Angela Sinabis, who says Lab_13 will “let me know things about the world”.

At Lightyear Foundation, exploration and education go hand in hand. They believe that everyone should have the opportunity to unlock their potential, solve problems and engage with science and by doing so harnessing the skills they, and their countries, need for success. Lightyear Foundation is dedicated to igniting a passion for science across the world, empowering students, teachers and communities, showing how local, cheap and easily accessible materials can be used to bring the high school curriculum to life. 

Lightyear Foundation, registered charity no 1150231, for information visit the website www.lightyearfoundation.org

Ignite! Is a not-for-profit company that specialises in creative education programmes.
www.ignitefutures.org.uk Ignite! opened the first Lab_13 at Dovecote Primary School in Nottingham in 2009. 

Future of Ghana (@FutureofGH)

What does it mean to be the ‘future’?

Youths is a plural word, which in our world, sometimes stands as the opposite of ‘elders’, and describes the younger people in society. Though, I believe there is no age limit for someone to pursue their purpose and goals, the younger people in society and the young adults are naturally the ones attached and identified with  ’visions’, ‘the future’, and ‘change’.

However, as I lay down on my bed, I found myself wondering: “What does it actually mean to be a youth?”  It was as if – in one instance-, my mind became a reflection of the many youths, around the world, who despite being told how influential they are, and the multiple things they could achieve with education- deep down, had no idea as to what it means to be called ‘the future’, and what powers they actually possess. This, then sadly becomes an accurate representation of the sentence: Looking in the mirror, and then immediately forgetting what you look like.

The world may hint at how powerful you could be, but as youths and future leaders [because you are] if you don’t know your reign; your identity, you simply won’t be able to use the powers that you have or make use of the full privileges that your status is entitled to.

And with you not knowing who you are, your gifts, and your uniqueness, it will lead you into not doing anything to impact on your society positively.

But still, to bring change and make the world a better place to live in, it is never enough for a youth to know their identity. It is a group effort, and it is especially difficult for the youths, when their worth as future leaders is not always understood or tolerated by those who are already in position of leadership. It is a very sad place to be in.

It is a problem, especially with any sort of leadership that strives to bring about evolution, change and progress, and tries to do so, without those who really have the eagerness, the capability, and the strength to bring on that change.

The late minister Myles Munroe once said in a conference a few months before he passed: ” You become great by reproducing people greater than yourself”. That’s what true legacy is about.

Most importantly, as a 20 year old, I believe that every little effort to bring about change is meaningless and will amount to nothing if as youths we don’t know who we are and the power within us. If the future leaders don’t know that they are the ‘future leaders’, how are they supposed to be given the baton?  furthermore how are they supposed to be given the baton- if they don’t even know how to run with it- or even hold it?

It’s time to wake up!

 Myriam Osei (@AngelPeaceJoy)

 

Excellence Must Be Our ‘Average’: The Launch of the Inaugural Future of Ghana Publication

‘Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation.’ – Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General

Two years ago, while sat in his church, Me Firi Ghana founder Arnold Sarfo-Katanka received a vision. A project to celebrate the finest Ghanaian youths worldwide. The formation of an innovative annual project which looked to encourage greater youth participation with the development of Ghana while also acting as a visual source of inspiration for the emerging generation and a talent resource for investors and organisations. Overcoming many trials and tribulations along the way, on Friday 27th March 2015, that vision became reality.

IMG_9615

For that evening saw the launch of the inaugural Future of Ghana publication. The Future of Ghana is an annual project which is dedicated to showcasing and nurturing Ghana’s pioneering young talent for the development of Ghana. At the Ghana High Commission in Highgate, North London, an eclectic crowd congregated to celebrate 30 of the brightest young Ghanaian professionals who are making an impact in Ghana & the diaspora, as well as celebrate the release of a truly ground-breaking publication.

Following the announcement of the Future 30 a couple of weeks prior, the Special Edition opus finally launched in its complete form at the Ghana High Commission Headquarters in Highgate, London. Showcasing the Top 30 young Ghanaians from around the world, the Future of Ghana includes forward-thinking articles, features and interviews highlighting key industries, innovators and organizations vision for Ghana and Africa – a vibrant medley of thoughts from the brightest of young Ghanaian minds.

IMG_9585

The sublime Claire Clottey was the perfect host for the occasion, keeping the purpose of the event at the forefront of everyone’s minds while successfully balancing humour with poise and clarity. Claire formed the foundation which held the different aspects of the evening together. Members of the Future of Ghana team were introduced, including the precociously tenacious Andrea Amaning-Okyere, administration assistant/intern who in her own way embodies the Future movement, and who further encapsulated this with an impassioned mini-speech. Sandra Osei-Asare (Project Manager) & editor of the publication Ben Anim-Antwi, took to the platform together to brilliantly explain the purpose of Future of Ghana, the painful judging process and what the Future of Ghana project stands to achieve year-on-year – while acknowledging that the Future of Ghana is the responsibility of all of us’.

IMG_9603

One of the undoubted highlights of the event was the presentation by Mr. James Barnor, Ghana’s first ever photojournalist and the patron of Future of Ghana. With humble visionary Future of Ghana founder Arnold Sarfo-Katanka at his side, Mr. Barnor captivated everyone in attendance as his recounting of his historic career empowered & inspired in equal amount, showing how young people can making something great if they decide to take the first step.

Members of the Future 30 who were in attendance were introduced onto the stage and given an opportunity to introduce themselves and speak about the impact they have made on the community at large. It was unspeakably inspiring to hear from people who are so young, yet have already achieved so much and will undoubtedly go on to achieve even more in their bright futures! Seeing members of the Future 30 in the flesh further reinforced how special this project is.

Hearing from founder Arnold Sarfo-Kantanka himself was another highlight, as at various points of the evening he explained the vision behind the publication, and the machine which has helped bring it to reality. Arnold sought to mobilise today’s young Ghanaians by acknowledging the critical point at which Ghana’s development stands today and the responsibility this generation has to realise the huge potential of Ghana, emphasising that ‘there’s a generation upon whose shoulders we are standing. Now we have the responsibility to do our part…Faith without works is dead – its time to move! Our time is now!

IMG_9729One of the main purposes of the Future of Ghana launch event was to serve as a networking forum. Against an electric backdrop of future-centric conversation, and with sumptuous catering provided by 805 Restaurants, there were accomplished individuals everywhere you turned, with this event served to create more links within the Ghanaian community. MC Claire and FoG founder Arnold kept reiterating the point that it would be a waste of an opportunity to not make links with those in attendance.

A common thread ran throughout the night. As attendees left the High Commission energised and inspired, a new adage was clear in all our minds; one which will fuel our pursuits going forward and will serve to empower the next generation of young Ghanaians as we aim to create an exceptional future for Ghana – the time for rote mediocrity has ended. Now, when it comes to pursuing a better Future of Ghana, excellence must be our average.

Jermaine Bamfo (Dr_Jabz27)

Future of Ghana: #Responsibility

27th March 2015. I genuinely believe that this day will be viewed as a landmark date in the history of the Ghanaian Diaspora. It saw the official release of the Future of Ghana; Top 30 Under 30 Publication. A publication acknowledging the academic, professional and personal achievements of young people of Ghanaian ancestry.

IMG_9718-640x405

Being held at the Ghanaian High Commission in Highgate, the team at The Future of Ghana managed to amass many influential movers and shakers among the Ghanaian and wider African Diaspora.

One couldn’t help but feel inspired by the wealth of intellectual capital present in the building that evening. We saw individuals across the whole professional spectrum that evidenced that perhaps this is the generation of young people that will initiate the push toward making Ghana a first world self sustaining country.

Whilst we were enjoying the achievements of our peers, we were reminded throughout the course of the evening of our responsibility. As diasporans we have a responsibility to lend our skills and expertise towards the development of our mother country and the African continent as a whole. The announcement of the Me Firi Ghana networking platform is testament to the fact the team is taking their responsibility seriously! Providing a vehicle for the wealth of talent among the Diaspora to share and discuss ideas is something that can propel Ghana to new heights!

A special mention must go out to Mr James Banor. The legendary photographer who is only really receiving the acclaim he deserves in his later life. The audience heard how Mr Banor was present with Kwame Nkrumah and other Ghanaian independence leaders on that fateful day in March 1957. He also showed us pictures of the great Muhammad Ali amongst many other 20th century icons. Mr Banor showed that not only has he laid the foundation for us to continue Ghana’s development, he too will continue to be responsible for the Future of Ghana.IMG_9607

I must confess; when I sat down to write this piece, I didn’t give myself clear direction. I suppose I just wanted to relay my excitement for what the team at MFG have just accomplished! I’m sure that you all are excited as me for what the Future of Ghana holds!

No better way to wrap up this fairly erratic but impassioned piece of writing with a quote that perfectly sums up my emotions after the other night; from Ghana’s first president Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah: “Forward ever, Backwards never!”

Malachi Butt-Muteke (@MallyMukete)