Champion for Change Transforms Lives of High School Graduates and University Students

Moses Awuah (left), CEO of Youth Arise Organisation with technical team members during a training event.

Moses Baffour Awuah is a young entrepreneur and president of Youth Arise Organization(YAO). YAO is a body of young professionals that is committed to the principles and values of mentoring in its education and policy oriented work. As a Ghanaian based NGO instituted five years ago, the organization seeks to educate, motivate, and empower youth to become leaders in every sphere of life, increase their personal capacities to mobilize and manage their existing resources and to improve and sustain their quality of life, consistent with their aspirations.

Three years ago, Moses was nominated among a select group of young professionals to participate in the Africa Lead Champions for Change (C4C) leadership training program. He has since made use of a variety of capacity building programs organized by Africa Lead (AL) such as training in facilitation, networking and alliance building, public policy advocacy and engagement, and report writing.

Moses grew impassioned and motivated to make a difference after participating in the AL training programs. He gained greater knowledge of how to build the capacities of youth in leadership in Ghana, as he notes: “The training I have received from Africa Lead has developed my ability to become a more assertive strategic thinker, planner, and results oriented individual.”

Moses started engaging youth in the Leadership Diary Training Program (LDTP) activities in 2011 through a youth radio program that was aired on Choice FM and a campus club where he empowered youth to let their voice be heard on issues of concern to them through engaging discussions. The program has grown from 30 participants to 110 participants from 2013 to 2017.  LDTP is an annual Leadership workshop organized by YAO for high school graduates and some university students. The LDTP workshop empowers youth through education and training to develop ethical values for leadership. The program also introduces them to activities that will help them to ‘lead a life of choice not chance”, and improve their knowledge about food security and agribusiness.

Africa Lead began supporting the program in 2016. Support included the inclusion of sections of the Champions for Change Leadership course into the content of LDTP training manual and mentoring facilitators.

The training program, organized annually for the past five years, runs in two phases. The initial phase focuses on course work, assessment, and award of certificates of completion. The course content includes Personal Development and Mentoring, Leadership Development, Entrepreneurial and Financial Literacy, Regenerative Health and Nutrition, and Agribusiness and Roles in Food Security.

The second phase emphasizes community service as a way to deliver on participants’ social change goals. Throughout the period of the program, participants are encouraged to serve as social change agents to help them develop into effective leaders who would make a meaningful contribution to their communities. The theme for this year’s program was “Dare to Dream.”

Moses has organized five major leadership programs—  and C4C cascade workshops which he co facilitated last year for over 150 high school and university graduates in Ghana. The workshops developed leadership skills and provided guidance to the participants on how to transition into responsible leaders and adults. Participants also obtained knowledge in food security and agribusiness.

The majority of participants at the YAO training programs confirmed that the program has helped to improve their time management and planning skills.

Testimonials highlight the transition to a more focused, mission-driven outlook on life and efforts to become a responsible leader.

As an example, John Amankwah, a graduate of Tema Methodist Senior High School, felt inspired to establish a poultry farm in his back yard with his family.  Another student, Owusu-Boadi Adofo Kwasi, extolled the virtues of team work: “I began to listen to the views of others and work in a team since I participated in the LDTP. It took me a short while to know that working as a team was fun, and an easier way to accomplish tasks.”

Hulda Sakyi, a University of Cape Coast student shared her experience after participating in the leadership program Moses organized, by stating: “Growing up, my passion was to either become a nurse or pharmacist. I wanted to work at the hospital. I studied Pure Science in secondary school with the ambition to go into nursing at the tertiary level, and everything turned out differently. I was admitted to a Bachelor of Science in  Agriculture, which I unwillingly accepted. I was told studying agriculture at the University of Cape Coast was difficult. I then decided to just study with the motive to pass my exams, but not necessarily toward building up a career. Since participating in the leadership program, I have had a total change of mind and I have now decided to take responsibility to study the course with passion and to make use of the opportunity to help improve the agriculture sector in my country. The program has helped me to develop a new way of thinking and planning my future.”

Daniel  Dankyi shared reflections on his transformative experience: “Before LDTP, I was a very independent, quiet, anti-social person. I always felt that my life was all about me. I was someone who didn’t really consider other people’s views because I always felt I knew everything. LDTP has taught me that life is not just about me and myself. You need people around you because you never know who you will encounter on your climb up the ladder of success. The whole development program has been inspiring and eye opening, birthing new ideas and possibilities every day. It has given me a focus and an optimistic future. I am very confident of becoming great in the future, thanks to LDTP.”

Audrey Hanford spoke of a renewed sense of self and focus stemming from her LDTP experience: “I was angry with myself because everyone around me had figured out their lives and were living simple, uncomplicated lives while I waded through a dam of dashed hopes and dreams and did not even know who I was. I was scared to believe that I deserved more, only to be proven wrong. LDTP was like a breath of fresh air. I now feel like I am going somewhere because I have a set target, a picture of the woman I can become. LDTP has given me a reason to go on. It instilled in me the need to live a purposeful life, and I am still amazed at the tremendous improvements that have come my way because of certain good decisions I have made based on this program. Now when I think ahead about my future, I am excited about my goals instead of dreading the untold challenges I would face. LDTP taught me not to give up. I learned from LDTP that I fail only when I give up. Now, I know I will not fail because I am not giving up after learning all these things about life. I now have a plan, and a map of how I want to live by it all thanks to LDTP.”

Participants engage in Youth Arise Organisation Leadership Diary Training Program – Accra, Ghana

Moses envisions reaching over 15,000 High School graduates in the next five years.  He plans to empower youth to take up leadership positions, transform their communities and start their own businesses and build the capacity of leadership in agribusinesses.  Moses serves as a strong ambassador for leadership through the programs he has organized for youth across the country. Through the efforts of Moses and other Champions across the continent, Africa Lead is able to dramatically stretch its reach and impact in helping to develop a generation of new leaders.

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