How the courage of young people created a strong post-pandemic socio-economic system in Ghana


This is one of the 38 winning blogs of the Blog4Dev 2021 competition, the World Bank’s annual writing competition in Africa, inviting young people to express their views on a subject essential to the economic development of their country. Blog4Dev winners answered the question: How can young people work with their governments and civil society organizations to respond to the impact of COVID-19 and build a stronger post-pandemic economic and social system?

It is March 2030, 10 years since the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic was first confirmed in Ghana. I sit with popular TV show host Aseye in the state-of-the-art studios of Youth Transforming Africa TV to talk about the manual labor of young people during the period that maximized socio-economic gains in Ghana.

The cameras have rolled and the lights are on.

Aseye: Welcome Dziedzom to YTA TV. It is an honor to have you with us today. So tell me, what happened?

Dziedzom: {Smile} Thanks Aseye for inviting me. {Sighs} In Ghana, the impact of COVID-19 has been terrible, but for young people it has been torn in the flesh. Many were out of school, spiraling out of their jobs, facing food insecurity, heightened inequalities and more frequent cases of sexual violence and mental health crises. In the grip of the challenges of COVID-19 caused by its corollary effects, Ghanaian youth have shown courage in the face of incredible growth declines.

Here’s how:

• Education: With the power of social media and additional digital platforms, young people started the phase by battling fake news and busting myths that have been widely peddled. By leveraging the visibility of young people on social media and partnering with radio stations, youth health workers offered expert advice, created awareness and increased awareness in communities . This has reduced the stigma, anxiety and apathy associated with the virus.

• Innovation: At the height of the pandemic, young people again showed up with various ingenious ideas and inventions to help curb the spread and those infected. Some of these inventions included the automated Veronica bucket, a rapid diagnostic test kit, and ventilators made locally by the students at KNUST. Through innovative digital financial platforms designed by young people, they have succeeded in building a cashless economy.

• Advocacy and support systems: A network of young people has evolved, devoid of ethnic and religious preferences and political party affiliations. Young people like me have started to form a coalition of activists advocating for mental health support for many out-of-school children, especially girls. The only objective was to work in tandem as a team with great synergy to help the disadvantaged and bridge the inequality gap. Many abused girls received help. Thanks to nationwide crowdfunding and youth volunteering, food items and PPE are found in every nook and cranny of Ghana. Organizations like FCA Experience, a youth-run fashion agency, carried out a million-mask project for rural communities to increase government efforts.

• Agriculture: There were food shortages across the country. Unemployed youth have ventured their energies into agriculture. By defending the popular hashtag #operationfeedyourselfandyourvoisins which sparked the backyard farming trend, there was an abundance of food and increased food security.

Today I vividly remember the song “We are going (our song of hope)” from one of Ghana’s biggest music exports to the world, Osibisa. I can say with confidence that “the road was hard, muddy and rough, but we got there”, because of the courage of the young people.

Aseye: It’s great, Dziedzom! Thanks for coming.

Timothy D. Amaglo-Mensah is the winner of Blog4Dev 2021 contest from Ghana. Check out the full list of Blog4Dev 2021 winners here and read their blog posts.


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