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“I found my voice: I champion a worthy cause”
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“I found my voice: I champion a worthy cause”

Commonwealth Correspondent Kenneth Gyamerah, 26, is the proud winner of Ghana’s 2017 Leadership in Education Award, given by the Education Community Awards in Ghana to recognise educators and young leaders striving to improve the country’s education sector in Ghana. Kenneth describes the origins and inspiring results of his commitment to ensuring education and mentorship for Ghana’s most vulnerable students. 

I had my basic education in a rural, low income community in Ghana. This is the source of my passion to ensure that children in rural communities have access to quality education and experiential learning.  Looking at my background, I didn’t need to look very far for inspiration, because I experienced it growing up.

Through varied encounters from time to time, I became inspired to give more. Taking a cursory look at my background and how I was able to overcome the hurdles I met provided an inspiration – that every rural child can get quality education if supported. I have grown to realise education is one thing that cannot be taken away once gained or acquired. It is the key to solving most problems we face in Africa.

I took a teaching position with the Ghana Education Service in September 2016 in Volo Community Day Senior High School. Volo is a rural low-income fishing community in the countryside. Amidst all the challenges in the community, ranging from poverty and teenage pregnancy to poor road networks and inadequate infrastructure, I accepted the posting.

In my work as a teacher, I don’t only transfer knowledge to students. Instead, I have integrated Education For Sustainable Development into my work.

Together with a community based organisation and Google Ghana, we have been able to train 143 of these rural children on digital skills. I have inspired and ensured 40 young teen mothers stay in school. I have impacted the lives of more than 2000 young people.

Currently, I have a mentorship base of about 50 young people. My numerous  campaigns on rural education have been featured on most of the national media platforms.

Young people in the rural communities need empowerment to become useful to society. During the International Day of the African Child, my campaign on ensuring equitable access to education was published by A World At School. I  am always moved by the conviction that it took a long time for me to find a voice – and now that I have it I will use it to champion a worthy cause, knowing that one day somebody would say that because of me, they didn’t give up.

In November 2016, I was selected to participate in the President Obama’s Young African Leaders West Africa Regional Leadership programme.

That programme brought together 118 young West Africans drawn from an application pool of 12,000 people. During the program, I  learned civic leadership, acquired advocacy skills and used my story to inspire participants. At the end of the program, I was awarded the Special Prize in Presentation Skills which birthed another passion – writing.

As a young writer, I share with the Ghana Education Service and with policy makers the need to restructure the school curricula to suit the needs of young people. One of my write-ups on education was picked by Ghana’s best-selling paper, “The Daily Graphic”, in November 2016.

In 2017, through my work on education, I was awarded a Distinction of Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society. In this same year, I was awarded as Global Youth Ambassador for A World At School, a global network of 500 young advocates championing equal educational opportunities in 80 countries.

And one of the best moments came when I won the 2017 Leadership in Education at the Education Community Awards on 19th August 2017.

The ceremony  was attended by  the Deputy Minister of Education, policy makers, professors and think tanks in education in Ghana.

The purpose of the Education Community Awards (EDUCOM AWARDS) is to recognise all the valuable educational-related work that is undertaken within schools and our communities across Ghana by schools, students/pupils, parents, media houses, publishers, agencies, NGOs and other individuals or organisations.

I am very delighted at winning this prestigious award. This is going to motivate me to reach out to many young people, train students in education for sustainable development and ensure that every child, no matter their socio- economic background, gets access to quality education and mentorship.

Reach me on Twitter:@kennethgyamera

Photos: courtesy of Kenneth Gyamerah
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About me: I am a youth activist, writer and a professional teacher.

I am an enthusiast on all issues concerning youth, and feel fulfilled through engaging in policy related discussions and deliberations on youth empowerment and development. I am passionate about organising for a global youth agenda, and want to be the voice for the less privileged in Ghana.

My interests lie in advocacy, writing and teaching, which has led to involvement with a number of global youth-related organizations.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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