My passion for feeding the vulnerable in society, show of leadership potential and luck got me selected as part of the first cohort of the President Obama Young African Leadership Initiative, West Africa RLC.As an orphan who could only afford to dream of University education, the joy of been selected as a 1st cohort of RLC was so overwhelming however attending the 5 weeks residential training at GIMPA came with the biggest challenge of my life.
My boss gave me the option of letting go of my participation in the program or quit the job. A job I loved so much by then. I was the head chef of Accra’s finest gourmet burger restaurant, a position that every vocational student dreams to attain. Being a “doctor in the kitchen” was the closest have ever come in achieving my child dream of been a medical doctor. Whenever am in my white chef’s jacket and rolling my knives I see myself as a doctor in my theatre and that brought me far.
I was crazy enough to decide attending to the YALI RLC without knowing what life would be for me after the 17 weeks training. My friends told me am getting crazy about this whole Food for All Ghana campaign and it was because a mentally challenged man inspired me to pursue the vision of creating sustainable means of nutrition for the vulnerable.
Knowing what I had to sacrifice before coming to the RLC, I gave in my all. I told advantage of the facilities, teachers, mentors and curriculum that Dr. Victor Osei, Director of the RLC put at our disposal.
At the RLC, I met some of Africa’s next generation of leaders. I also learn’t from their experiences in their respective countries and had the opportunity of meeting some of Africa’s greatest leaders including Leymah Gbowee,Former President Jerry Rawlings,Former President J.A. Kufour and many others.
Being a once in a life time opportunity, I took advantage of my stay at the RLC to involve my colleagues in volunteering on my Food for All Ghana program. We volunteered, fed and inspired 504 inmates of the Psychiatric hospital, a memory that always linger on.
My experience at the RLC shaped me and my enterprise to become West Africa’s first food banker. Today I fully run the Food for All Ghana Program, a food recovery initiative that creates sustainable means of nutrition for the vulnerable through food banking, farming and forum for stakeholders in our food supply chain. I also run a profit making social enterprise called SDG 2 Farms where we buy farm produce of rural farmers at a fair price and sell to stakeholders in urban communities.
Had it not been for President Barack Obama, I wonder how my journey as a social entrepreneur would be like. If am to meet President Obama, I would cook him my best recipe and would let him know how he shaped my destiny without even knowing me. That is the kind of leaders, we need in Africa.”A leader whose actions impact people he has never seen or met before.” Am a proud product of the YALI West Africa RLC and would always impact my society.
Elijah Amoo Addo
Future of Ghana (@FutureofGH)