Ghana Library, UNICEF launch initiative for youth

BY: Education Desk Report
Mr Fiachra McAsey, UNICEF Deputy Representative, at the launch
Mr Fiachra McAsey, UNICEF Deputy Representative, at the launch

The Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) and UNICEF have announced the launch of their joint initiative to establish 10 youth engagement centres in eight regions.

The engagement centres will be set up in the Tamale Metro Library in the Northern Region; the Accra Central Library and the Tema Branch Library, both in the Greater Accra Region;  the Ashanti Regional Library in the Ashanti Region and the Bolgatanga Branch Library in the Upper East Region.

The rest are the Effutu Municipal Library and Cape Coast Library in the Central Region; the Eastern Regional Library in the Eastern Region; the Western Regional Library in the Western Region and the Upper West Regional Library in the Upper West Region.-

The collaboration will focus on improving young people’s sustained access to quality learning, employability, and empowerment opportunities.

Beneficiaries

The youth engagement centre to be located in the GhLA library spaces will support at least 10,000 young Ghanaians aged 14 to 24 years to develop digital and entrepreneurship skills.

This will be done through online courses, organising regular peer-to-peer learning sessions within their communities, scheduling engagements with industry leaders and mid-career professionals for career guidance and mentorship support, as well as accessing tools to build their policy advocacy skills.

The initiative, which will begin as a pilot programme, will be implemented over 12 months in the eight regions and in GhLA library spaces that are digitally connected.

The centres will provide a safe and inclusive environment, physically and digitally, where young people, including disadvantaged groups can create and collaborate on advocacy related and entrepreneurial ideas.

Empowering youth

The Executive Director of the GhLA, Mr Hayford Siaw, expressed joy that the partnership would empower young people in the country.

 “The Ghana Library Authority is on a quest to making Ghana a literate nation and since Ghana is currently experiencing a youth bulge, there is the need to target and empower the youth by radically connecting them to knowledge resources and mentoring them on how to apply that knowledge.

“We want to create a system where the library will not just be recognised for books but rather a safe haven for the youth, where skills can be acquired. I believe the GhLA is achieving this goal through this partnership,” he said.

Mr Siaw explained that the engagement with the community, especially with young people, was critical for the success of the centres and the GhLA would establish Youth Advisory Boards to enable young people to participate in the co-creation of the different interventions within their centre and mobilise peers.

For his part, the UNICEF Deputy Representative in Ghana, Mr Fiachra McAsey, said: “UNICEF is excited to partner with the Ghana Library Authority on this important initiative.

“We believe that the library spaces provide a new, innovative and sustainable way to support young people in Ghana with skilling and employability opportunities, while also facilitating participation and ownership by young people,” he said.

Collaboration

The collaboration between UNICEF and the GhLA contributes to broaden partnerships under the global Generation Unlimited initiative, which aims to convene key stakeholders from government, private sector, educational institutions, and youth groups to co-develop and implement an investment roadmap for young people in Ghana.

The partnership benefits from the financial contribution of Louis Vuitton, a French fashion house and luxury goods company.