As part of this year’s Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) Conference in the United States of America, 11 Ghanaian students received awards for winning the pitch contest in the Harvard Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge (SVC).
The awards ceremony took place in Boston, Massachussetts, and as their reward, the group received a $10,000 grant to enable them to undertake various social development interventions in their home country within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.
A statement issued by Life-Link Friendship Schools, Ghana, explained that the Harvard Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge (SVC), was one of eight global Resolution Project events organised on the sidelines of the annual Harvard gathering. The event had 23 Ghanaian students participating under the auspices of Life-Link Friendship Schools, Ghana.
The SVC affords students the opportunity to generate ‘outstanding venture ideas’ to address social and humanitarian challenges in their local communities.
Selected winners receive a venture grant of US$ 2000 per group on a starting or existing project and are individually made members of the prestigious “Resolution Fellowship”, which is a strong and growing community of young leaders from all over the world whose core aim is to help fellows succeed in their ventures and beyond.
The 11 students who participated in the contest constituted themselves into five different social ventures and were from a pool of four different universities in Ghana.
They were Hunvillah Asamoah (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology - KNUST) and Horace Claud Allan Odoi (University of Ghana) who worked on “Burden To Save” a project to provide toilet facilities for the people of Dayiri in the Northern Region of Ghana to tackle cholera; Gilbert Kekeli Yao Dzeketey (University of Professional Studies) and Ernest Kekeli Awudey (University of Ghana) who pitched to work on “Match Dey”, a project that tackles reproductive health through sex education in rural areas and a contraceptive delivery system for universities.
The third team comprised Prince Annan and Akosua Benhene Nyantakyi both from the Kings University College and Priscilla Mensah Ankoh of the KNUST whose project is titled, “Computer Minds” and highlights an initiative tailored for rural schoolchildren at Gomoa Dunkwa in the Central Region of Ghana to reduce the high rate of computer illiteracy.
The fourth group comprising Abraham Agoni (University of Ghana) and Owiredu Kissi (Ghana Institute of Journalism) did their work on “School of Thoughts” which seeks to bridge the educational gap between rural and urban areas, particularly in the North of Ghana by training young individuals in rural areas to identify their potential and work to change the society.
The last group was called “SPES”, and were represented by Emmanuella Agyeman Tuffour (University of Ghana) and Adwoa Agyeman Tuffour (KNUST).
According to their pitching document, their project sought to transform the healthcare experience of the newborn by providing safe, effective and affordable phototherapy eye protectors.
The statement named Venezuela, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Liberia and USA as the other countries whose students participated in the contest.
Co-founder of the award scheme and Head of Jury, Howard .A. Levine, commended the winners for their exemplary leadership and urged the generality of students to be problem solvers.
“We need your committed leadership, your ideas and your unquenchable desire for change. So when you see an issue, when you see a problem in your community, get to solving it,” he told the students.
The Executive Director of Life-Link Friendship Schools Ghana, Mr Ernest Gyimah-Danquah, lauded the students for bringing honour to their schools and their countries.
According to him, it was the fifth time a Ghanaian student delegation from Life-Link Ghana had participated in the contest and won. He said there were now 22 Fellowship members from Ghana.
Life-Link runs annual Model United Nations Conferences for students at all educational levels.
The organisation had worked with the UN system in Ghana and Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 20 years to train and equip students in international diplomacy and leadership and problem-solving skills.