2019 Young Innovation Leaders Fellowship opens in Accra

The Young Innovation Leaders (YIL) Fellowship has commenced its maiden leadership training for some selected young Ghanaian graduates who have demonstrated leadership, innovation and desire in their personal development, career and academics in regard to solving problems in society.

The YIL-Fellowship is being run by a not-for-profit organisation ‘Hutzpa Innovations Centre’, and is simply raising young professionals who can inspire, initiate, manage and lead innovation in the communities.

Out of the over-200 applications received for 2019 Fellowship, 21 young Ghanaians with excellent track-records qualified for the four (4) months of intensive capacity building training, which is supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

They are graduates from 12 universities in nine (9) regions of Ghana, and from 21 different disciplines.

Speaking at the opening session of the training in Accra, the Country Director for the Young Innovation Leaders Fellowship-Dr. Anna Fokouh-Boadu, indicated that the main aim of the Fellowship is to identify more young people and train, inspire, mentor and empower them to become agents of change in society.

“As we all know, there are certain problems that we are facing as a society and everybody is always talking about the problems; but what are we doing about those problems? Are we waiting for government to solve them for us, or are we waiting for foreigners to come and solve them for us?”

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According to Dr. Fokuoh-Boadu, most of the problems are already known to the members of society, but not many people have the right practical solutions to them.

But with the ongoing training, she noted, the selected trainees will be equipped with the requisite skills, knowledge and the approach to solve those problems in society.

YIL-Fellowship Country Director noted that they will be working on five major capstone projects: using ICT to improve agriculture in Ghana; innovation for health worker support; water, sanitation and hygiene; innovation for early learning; and digital health tools.

Dr.  Fokuoh-Boadu said the trainees are grouped into four, and each group assigned with mentors or special trainers.

The Founder of Young Innovation Leaders Fellowship, Dr. Obichi Obiajunwa, said the YIL Fellowship is a four-month annual leadership immersion programme in innovation management, designed to empower young professionals to attain their ultimate career dreams and inspire innovation in their spheres, and to unleash human potentials and scale up excellence.

The 2019 Fellowship, he indicated, was structured to operate in two stages: a challenging but rewarding four-month programme focused on training in leadership and innovation management; and the mentorship and continuous personal development.

Dr. Obichi Obiajunwa said the fellows are expected to use the knowledge and skills they are acquiring to create changes within society by undertaking projects to scale-up their skills to benefit more people at the local level.

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Ms. Fareeda Latif, a Youth Fellow with UNFPA, noted that her organisation is partnering YIL-Fellowship because its mandate fell in line with UNFPA’s vision of ensuring the potential of every young person anywhere is fulfilled.

She said the UNFPA will also provide technical hands-on support to YIL-fellowship as the trainees move into the communities later to work on projects.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Venture Capital Trust Fund, Mr. Yaw Owusu-Brempong, encouraged the youth of Ghana – especially the young graduates – to believe in themselves and focus on developing their potentials to become employers rather than employees.

According to him, the majority of Ghanaian youth are intelligent, have big dreams and excellent business ideas, but only lack the confidence to transform those ideas into profitable ventures.

Dr. Mrs. Angela Ama Ackon, a Deputy Director for Pharmaceutical Services at the Ministry of Health, and Dr. Charles Kwamena Ackon, the Managing Director of Mangel Klicks Company Limited, were present to inspire the Fellows.

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