The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has organised an induction ceremony of the Cohort 5 of Youth Leaders (YoLe) Fellows and a Graduation of the Cohort 4 at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra on Friday, December 15, 2023 to prepare young people to lead meaningful careers in all spheres of society within Ghana and the global community.
In all, 33 New Entrants were inducted yesterday. The programme also aimed at recognising the contribution and impact of the 4th cohort of youth leaders fellows (YoLe Fellowship) in the areas of zero gender-based violence, zero unmet need, and zero preventable maternal death, among others, within their one-year service in that regard.
Delivering his speech at the event, the Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Wilfred Ochan, underscored the importance of youth leaders as fellows of the UNFPA, saying “one way they have chosen to demonstrate this commitment is to enable youth leadership, participation, and engagement”.
He noted that over the past five years, the UNFPA had facilitated strategic training for these young people, proving to be a viable incubation ground for over 80 diverse leaders.
He added they utilize innovation, technology, exceptional work ethics, and confidence to accelerate efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Cohort 4 fellows
Dr. Wilfred Ochan indicated that the 4th cohort brought to the Fellowship their best as they allowed themselves to be transformed into the experts and world-class leaders.
This transforming, according to him, would go a long way towards impacting society positively and creating an enabling environment to promote a healthy society devoid of violations of human rights and justice.
“We are proud of your dedication and display of the UNFPA core values, which you have imbibed so excellently. There is no doubt that the prospect of each one of you is great, and we look forward to all the great stories,” he said.
He stated that with their immense contribution and per the goal of the Fellowship, they have earned their place as ambassadors of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), enablers of youth participation, and accelerators of demographic dividend attainments.
He emphasised specific objectives aimed at ensuring the fulfilment of every young person’s potential.
“Today, we hand back to you the challenge of taking on the world and making your voice as a young person heard and allowed to thrive,” he stressed.
Cohort 5 Fellows
Dr. Wilfred Ochan noted that UNFPA recognises the incredible power that lies within each of the new entrants. He expressed their intention to unlock their potential through training, mentorship exposure, and hands-on experiences.
“It is not just a ceremony but the moment you step into place of nurturing, a community of diverse young leaders, and amongst friends and colleagues eager to see them emerge. As YoLe Fellows, your participation makes you torchbearers of a movement that is breaking barriers and challenging norms.
“I hope that the holistic approach of equipping you with knowledge and skills in leadership and advocacy, alongside diverse professional training opportunities, will be the spark that continues to light your way in creating lasting change,” he indicated.
Innovation and technology
He emphasised that in today’s fast-paced world, innovation and technology have become indispensable tools for progress. That’s why, he stressed that “UNFPA seeks to enable the youth to acquire all the skills needed to thrive in this fast-challenging global space”
“I encourage you to explore these avenues, leveraging technological advancements to acknowledge the impact we can collectively make. You have the world at your fingertips, and your ability to harness the power of technology can drive change at a transformative pace,” he advised.
Delivering the acceptance speech on behalf of YoLe Cohort 5, Mohammed Sharif Yakubu, acknowledged the programme’s alignment with the United Nations’ Youth Strategy, which calls on UN Agencies to “increase impact and expand global, regional, and country-level action to address the needs, build agency, and advance the rights of young people in their diversity”.
He further noted the importance of the programme in terms of supporting the government of Ghana’s priorities on youth development and economic and financial empowerment of young people, entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, youth in agriculture, youth migration and mobility, and sexual and reproductive health, citing the transformational successes chalked by the YoLe Fellowship over the past five years.
UNFPA Youth Leader (YoLe) of the 5th Induction, Dr. Henrieta Ampofo, also touched on the positive impact of the programme in transforming lives and creating an enabling environment for the youth to engage in activities that continually create happiness and build their capacities, thereby making them better individuals in the near future.
Meanwhile, statements on the three zeros were delivered by the YoLe Cohort 5. Zero unmet need, zero GBV, and zero preventable maternal death were done by Sylvia Dokosi, Joyce Aurther and Kenneth Knack, respectively.