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Graphic MD to serve on Queen’s C’wealth Essay Competition Board

BY:  Edward Acquah
Ms Francoise Lubanda (2nd left), Director of External Affairs of the African Office, the Royal Commonwealth Society, explaining a point to Mr Benjamin Ato Afful (3rd right) while some officials of RCS and GCGL look on. Picture: EDNA ADU-SERWAA
Ms Francoise Lubanda (2nd left), Director of External Affairs of the African Office, the Royal Commonwealth Society, explaining a point to Mr Benjamin Ato Afful (3rd right) while some officials of RCS and GCGL look on. Picture: EDNA ADU-SERWAA

The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Ato Afful, has accepted an offer to serve on the Advisory Board of the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition in Ghana.

This followed a request made to him when some officials from the Royal Commonwealth Society in Africa paid a courtesy call on him at his office in Accra last Wednesday.

He is to serve with nine other members on the board to direct the conduct of the prestigious competition in a bid to broaden the scope and reach out to more students in the country.

Rationale

The Regional Coordinator for Africa of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), Mr John Apea, who made the request, said the decision was because “we need strategic direction and people with competence who can advise us on how we can make the competition better.”

He explained that the RCS’s agenda was to promote literacy, and that since the GCGL had the same agenda, such a partnership would help increase the literacy rate in the country and Africa at large.

Mr Apea expressed confidence in the GCGL and said being the largest newspaper publishing company in Ghana, the collaboration of his outfit with the Graphic brand would help promote the competition and make it attractive to more students.

“We have not had an overall winner from Ghana among the 53 Commonwealth countries since the competition started. This is because we have not been able to promote literacy that much.

“Our expectation this year is to reach out to more students, particularly, those in the rural areas. We know that the Junior Graphic, specifically, has a wide network it works through, so we would want to leverage those connections,” he stated.

Readiness

For his part, Mr Afful pledged the readiness of his outfit to partner with the RCS in its literacy and transformation agenda.

He asked for further and deeper engagements between the two institutions to enable them to build a fruitful relationship for the benefit of both institutions.

“We recognise the challenges that are inherent in our educational system, and as a brand that has a clear public service mandate and a national developmental agenda, we welcome such partnerships,” Mr Afful added.

The competition

Open to students not more than 18 years, the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is the oldest school essay competition aimed at developing the writing skills and creative potential of students in the Commonwealth region.

Students from the 53 Commonwealth countries are asked to produce essays, poems and other creative materials out of which a panel of experts selects the best.

Participating students compete for the ultimate prize which includes an educational tour of the UK and a visit to the Buckingham Palace to meet Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of Cornwall.

In Ghana, the 2019 edition of the competition was launched in Accra by the Duchess of Cornwall and the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, on November 5, 2018.

The competition, on the theme: “A Connected Commonwealth,” is ongoing and will end on June 1, 2019.

Dozens of students and pupils participated in the 2018 edition in Ghana with more than 180 pupils winning in the gold, silver and bronze categories.