Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Global Youth Service Day!

Starting today through April 17, millions of people around the globe will be celebrating Global Youth Service Day, the world’s largest event dedicated to service. Many organizations have been planning their events for months (though there are still plenty of ways to get involved for all the last-minute types) and have put together really impressive programs. Check out this blog for more general GYSD information.

Young People We Care (YPWC), a youth-led nonprofit in Ghana, is serving as the GYSD West African Regional Partner for the second time. Founded in 2005, YPWC seeks to provide a “'youthful voice' that seeks to address the numerous challenges facing leaders of tomorrow by effectively using young resourceful minds to influence the course of global policy formulation and development in a consistent and harmonized manner”.

To celebrate Global Youth Service Day, YPWC has been holding events throughout the month of April. To launch the GYSD festivities, YPWC held a kickoff event at the University of Education, Winneba. This event, emceed by a popular radio host, featured speeches by a Presidential candidate, members of Ghana’s National Youth Council, and Nana Ama Agyeiwaa, winner of the 2010 Ghana's Most Beautiful cultural reality show and Millennium Development Goals Ambassador, as well as presentations by students from the local Jr. High School. Following the launch event, participants traveled to the rural community on the outskirts of Kumasi, Ghana to help with a local clean-up effort. Children and adults cleaned the town “until they couldn’t clean anymore!”

In addition to the launch event, YPWC has helped to facilitate the events of its partners throughout West Africa.

In Liberia, Child Liberia will mobilize youth in three geographical regions of Liberia including urban slum communities and rural towns and villages to promote HIV/AIDS prevention campaign using community information systems, culture dances, drama and radio jingles. The goal is to respond to the 8.5% HIV/AIDS rate reported in 2010 and help young people lead activities of youth football education to pass messages.

In Togo, People to People International plans to use GYSD to engage youth in clean-up exercises, promote inter-educational and cultural programs and activities in schools, engage youth to volunteer in the children's homes and to assist people living with HIV/AIDS and organize tree planting activities in at least 15 schools across the nation

In Sierra Leone, Saviour and Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE) will organize 3 major projects in 12 communities, with the "Youth Awareness Campaign" also implemented in 2 communities. This campaign will include visiting ghettos and sensitizing youth on the effects of drug abuse. The "Sweep Up and Pick Up Campaign" will mobilize youth to sweep and pick up unwanted materials within 6 communities. SAVE will also initiate a one-day tree planting campaign with the Forestry Division in the Ministry of Agriculture.

These projects are just a sample of the many projects occurring right now in West Africa and countries around the world. Clearly, West African Youth are involved and excited to serve. What are you doing for GYSD? Let us know in the comments!

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