Junior Shapers Africa, an institution that seeks to shape the future of boys, is five years old. The organization has consistently worked with boys through life coaching, talent development and Godly counselling. The theme for the fifth anniversary is ‘Addressing the Silent Struggles of African Boys for a Sustainable Gender Equal Future’.
Our history & our why?
Junior Shapers Africa (JSA) initially known as Tod Teen Republic was launched in Accra, Ghana on 21st September 2015 and is the leading non-profit personal development organisation championing the “Raising Boys Right” Advocacy in Africa through life coaching, talent development & Godly counselling sessions to address the silent struggles of African Boys such as:
- Fatherly Absence which causes imbalanced masculine energy among boys. Statistics reveal that 43% of young boys are raised by single mothers, 78% of teachers are female, so close to 50% of boys have 100% of female influence at home and 80% female influence at school. Toxic Masculinity isn’t the problem at all. The lack of masculinity is. This is why JSA is totally dedicated to offering young boys the positive masculine guidance through coaching by devoted Godly men. Other silent struggles some boys encounter are;
- Lack of emotional support and the myth about boys and men not supposed to cry or show emotion which is leading to depression and suicide among younger males in recent times.
- Academic & learning difficulties leading to low interest in school.
- Skilled boys feeling less appreciated than other siblings doing better academically,
- Verbal & physical abuse by some parents leading to violent behaviour in boys. An abused boy will naturally become an abuser too.
- Low self-esteem and social incompatibility leading to men who are not fit for purpose in careers, leadership, marriages and fatherhood.
- JSA’s impact over the five-year period has been extended to approximately 6000 African boys in Ghana, Liberia and recently UK, US & Thailand through our clinics, events, bootcamps and recently our virtual coaching programme inspired by the Covid19 Pandemic.
- Our empowered boys at JSA embarked on a historic campaign in 2018 and 2019 to contribute their quota to Gender Equality (SDG 5) by fundraising to provide sanitary towels for less privileged girls in Somnyamekodur D/A Basic School (Twifo-Hemang, Central Region) to prevent the girls from dropping out of school due to their inability to afford sanitary towels.
- The efforts of JSA was recognized by the (Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana) CIMG for Best Social Entrepreneurship and Activism in 2017 as well as by Neogenics EduCom Awards for Value Added Education in 2018. JSA is registered with the Department of Social Welfare and has the support of the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection in Ghana.
- After 3 consecutive International Men’s Day commemorations in Ghana by JSA, we petitioned UN in 2019 to recognize International Men’s Day universally in their observances calendar as done for other significant days; to recognize the contributions of men in society, to address the silent struggles of men and to serve as inspiration for future men to do more for global good.
Boys to Men Voyage
To mark its 5th year, JSA is addressing the silent struggles of African Boys with the launch of the JSA BOYS TO MEN VOYAGE programme for all African boys, kick starting with the fostering of selected boys in Jamestown, Accra. The JSA BOYS TO MEN VOYAGE Programme, is an all year round extra-curricular coaching programme to empower boys from age 7 till their 18th birthday.
Boys from all walks of life and backgrounds i.e. (school boys, dropouts, boys in slum communities, boys in orphanages, etc.) JSA will be supporting less privileged boys through corporate sponsorship and scholarships to enroll on this life transforming life coaching programme and they will be taken through different levels of the programme every year till they are 18-year-old.
Boys will be learning relevant life skills to empower and equip them with knowledge, ideas and resources that will shape them up to become responsible and purpose driven men who will give back to their communities.
We are beginning in Jamestown as we want to see more boys flourishing in slum areas to reduce juvenile delinquency, crime, sexual and gender based violence and other social problems most perpetrated by boys/men. We are raising funds to put up a state of the art Resource Center and Shelter for slum boys in Jamestown – Accra, as we address their silent struggles and create a safe space to empower them to become responsible gentlemen.
This historic programme was launched on Friday 18th September 2020 in Jamestown where the boys showcased some of the values, attitude and life skills they have learnt so far in the programme. In attendance also was a representative from the Department of Gender, under the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection who reiterated the Ministry’s support for the project and the need for us to deliberate raise boys right in our society.
For so long society has only been “schooling boys” and not raising them right enough to become responsible for their actions, find their purpose, and complement the empowered future woman. The lack of confidence and sense of direction among some of our young men is leading to mental frustration which in turn breeds violence against women and children.
The total liberation of women and girls lies in raising confident sons and empowering pro- feminist males thus the inclusion of our young males is very relevant in achieving a gender equal world for all. JSA is therefore committed to raising boys’ right to enable them become responsible future men who will respect, protect and provide equal opportunities to future women and girls in our society.
The role of parents, governments, media & society
Parents and guardians need to also pay equal attention to the training of boys alongside girls to eliminate gender stereotypes and to ensure that society as a whole starts raising boys’ right.
As JSA mark 5 years of “Raising Boys Right” in Africa we are calling on governments, schools, corporate entities, the media, individuals and other civil society organizations to pay particular attention to the silent struggles of boys and to make more practical improvements in boy’s health and well-being to address these struggles that they face.
We are creating more awareness and taking the “Raising Boys Right” Advocacy in Africa several notches higher to generate more interest in boy child struggles globally. May we quit the assumption that boys don’t need much help.
JSA is forever grateful to God for this vision, thankful for its past and present coaches, faculty members, the amazing young boys under our training who have now become brothers and sons, the dedicated parents who have trusted JSA for 5 years, the support from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Department of Gender, corporate partners, individual donors, media organisations, media personalities, positive male models who availed themselves to inspire our boys. Our young males are being inspired to become better men in future for global good because of your support.
As said by Warren Buffet; “someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a longtime ago”
In the next 5 years and beyond JSA is counting on everyone and most especially parents to plant a productive tree by supporting the “Raising Boys Right Advocacy” in our quest to attain a more sustainable gender equal society for future generations through role model leadership by fathers in our homes.
The writer is the Founding Director, Junior Shapers Africa.