Twenty-six students from various universities in the country last Friday became the third batch of beneficiaries to be inducted into the Kufuor Scholars programme.
The three-year training and mentorship programme, which is the brainchild of former President John Agyekum Kufuor, is being run by the John A. Kufuor Foundation.
As part of the programme, the students will meet with the former President and also have interactions with his august visitors during the period.
They will also during their holidays participate in three-week camps in remote parts of the country to identify with the way of life of indigenes in selected communities by living among them.
Again, the students will also occasionally receive lectures, orientation and mentorship from selected mentors, while some will be selected to participate in international youth programmes such as an upcoming Beijing Youth Leadership Conference.
Topping the list of participants in the third intake are students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), who number eight; followed by six from the University of Ghana, three from the University of Development Studies (UDS), Tamale; two each from the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA) and one student each from the Regional Maritime Academy, Ashesi University, Valley View University, University College of Education, Winneba and the Central University.
Presenting an overview of the programme, the Chief Executive Officer of the John A. Kufuor Foundation, Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah, said 1,012 students applied for the programme, out of which 50 were selected and 26 students which comprised 15 females and 11 males went through successfully.
Admonishing the students, Prof. Agyeman-Duah tasked them to show leadership in any position or endeavour they found themselves in.
“The country’s development will advance if we have leaders across all sectors,” he told them.
Rationale of programme
Mr Kufuor, who addressed the inductees, said what drove him to set up the foundation was the fact that Africa seemed sidelined in global affairs “and given names that are not flattering at all”.
He said some of such gross descriptions of Africa was that it was “the scar on the conscience of the world”.
“We are a continent that has all the natural resources and arable lands, as well as humanity, but we are not doing our things well as we should. There are conflicts, diseases, unemployment — so what is wrong with us?” he asked.
Mr Kufuor stated that the foundation was hatched to prepare the youth of Ghana and Africa and that although no degrees would be awarded to the scholars, they would be trained to impact their intelligence and conscience on the country and leaven the bread of transformation on the African continent.
“The foundation is a missionary cause to bring transformation,” he emphasised.
The scholars were presented with certificates after their induction, a ceremony which attracted representatives of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) programme, mentors as well as parents.
Some excited beneficiaries of the scholarship programme who spoke to the Daily Graphic expressed the hope that it would make them better persons and prepare them adequately for the future.
Ms Suad Ahmed Salihs, 22, a psychology student from the University of Cape Coast, said: “I actually want to become a better person and change my mindset because there are so many great things I want to do and this is the right place to be. I hope I will be transformed and I am so happy and excited about the future.”
For her part, Ms Vanessa Asantewaa Ohemeng, 20, from the University of Ghana, said her expectation was that at the end of the programme “I will be fully equipped to impact society by helping people in various ways.”
Mr Thomas Kojo Quansah, a law student at the UPSA, said: “I expect to learn a lot from this programme. I expect to acquire attitudes, skills that will equip me to be an effective leader in any field of endeavour I find myself in the not too far future.”