Elizabeth Patterson (arrowed), Founder of Girls Education Initiatives Ghana, with some patrons of the conference
Elizabeth Patterson (arrowed), Founder of Girls Education Initiatives Ghana, with some patrons of the conference

Girls Education Initiative marks 10th anniversary

The Girls Education Initiative Ghana (GEIG), a non-profit organisation dedicated to the provision of quality and inclusive education for girls, has commemorated its 10th anniversary with a call on young women to embrace challenges, be proactive and leverage technology as a means of empowerment. 

The celebration is on the theme: “Sankofa: a decade of impact”.

Lack of opportunities

A 22-year-old founder of two community development organisations, Hiqmat Sungdeme Saani, in an address at a conference in Accra, as part of activities to mark the anniversary, highlighted the need for a holistic approach to education that encompassed academic learning and empowers girls to make informed choices.

She called for strengthened partnerships between government agencies and non- governmental organisations to ensure girls' access to education, particularly in disadvantaged areas.

"Girls don't lack potential; they lack opportunities," she affirmed, urging reaffirmed commitment to inclusive education for all. A Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, Lucy Quist, urged young women to be proactive, curious, and active participants in whatever circle they found themselves.

"Your qualification is just your pass through the door" Ms Quist said. "Your ability to engage and use your brain is the most important thing." She highlighted the potential for Africa to prosper through a shift in mindset, with technology as a pivotal tool.

"We have all that we need to create prosperity for African people. "What is missing is the mindset and technology is the accelerator," Ms Quist said. She highlighted the transformative power of technology, citing an innovation like mobile money, which has not only responded to the needs of the people but has also inspired fintech innovations globally.

The founder of the GEIG, Elizabeth Akua Nyarko Patterson expressed the need for inclusive education for all children, irrespective of their difference. She said as the initiative celebrates its tenth anniversary, it has a renewed sense of purpose and looks forward to the next decade of creating opportunities and transforming lives.

She expressed gratitude to all partners and stakeholders for their continued support over the years.

Technology is crucial

A Neuroscientist, Dr Susanne Cappendijk emphasising the importance of leveraging technology for progress and problem-solving said "technology is crucial," Dr Cappendijk said highlighting the diverse opportunities it presented.

Acknowledging the potential for innovation in Ghana, she said "creativity is abundant among students," and urged young students to think beyond local boundaries and explore how technology could propel them onto the world stage.

"We must work on infrastructure to unleash the full potential of technology," she urged.  "The road may not always be smooth, but believing in yourself and persevering are key," she affirmed, urging young people to reject self-doubt and seek mentorship and coaching.

The Founder of the Coalition for Positive Impact, startup capital provider to young entrepreneurs, Maazu Bayuoni, shed light on the crucial role of education and innovation in shaping Africa's future, particularly in the realm of technology and data science.

He urged young people to embrace lifelong learning, seize opportunities, and trust in their abilities. "You are never too young to start," he said, sharing stories of youth who have achieved remarkable success through determination and hard work.

Director of Strategy, Innovation, and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) at GEIG, Andrew Nii Awuley Lartey, highlighted the underrepresentation of Africa in the field of data science, emphasising the importance of African contributions to enriching data sets and advancing artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

During the panel discussion sessions the various speakers left the patrons inspired and motivated to continue the journey towards gender equity and empowerment in education and beyond.  The women network of First National Bank, Ghana presented a cheque of GH¢20,000 to GEIG to support it's work.

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