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What I can do to achieve the Millenium Development Goals. Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by MICHAEL, Ghana Mar 20, 2006
Child & Youth Rights   Opinions
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What I can do to achieve the Millenium Development Goals. Proffer the entirety of your life and your body for the development of Ghana and never forget what George Bernard Shaw once said: “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to do for it, whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live”.

Orison Sweet Marden supports this view and adds: "who would have ever heard of Theodore Roosevelt outside of his own community if he had only half committed himself to what he had undertaken...,The great secret of his career has been that he has flung his whole life, not a part of it, with all the determination and energy and power he could muster, into everything he has undertaken”.

The Millennium Declaration is a commitment to development, peace and human rights in order to make the world a buoyant one by 2015.

A look at the MDGs and the time frame left for their realization shows that there must be more action and more youth participation in a country like Ghana.

Here in Ghana, youth participation on issues that affect them is not laudable in comparison to what prevails in other countries.

Indirectly or directly, the youth in Ghana are affected by the first seven goals of the MDGs; and as such, the onus is on the youth to take actions that are geared at augmenting what our leaders are doing.

One might think erroneously that achieving all the Goals by 2015 is the sole responsibility of politicians, and that the layman politician or civilian has little to do.

However, I do not think in this direction, because I believe that the government of Ghana is just an “old man” who wants to offer his ideas and experience for possible execution of the country’s development agenda, and that it is up to people who are exuberant (the youth) to take up actions that are are geared towards the realization of the dreams of the government.

Even though our elected leaders must work towards the realization of the Goals, it is also the duty of every Ghanaian like me to remind them of the commitments that they have already made.

I was very shocked when a university undergraduate told me that he does not even know what the acronym MDGs stands for. It is with this realization that I have formed a team of university students who are being sensitized on what the MDGs are all about; how they can take up action and how they can put pressure on the government. Additionaly, statistics on problems like HIV/AIDS are made available to buttress the urgency of action.

A lot needs to be done to increase youth participation on issues like poverty that affect the youth. With the objective of recruiting more youth participation in action, my organization, during our first action project at Joy Standard School in Kumasi-Ghana, formed an MDGs Club at the school, with the assistance of some teachers who met to discuss how thy could get involved in the realization of the MDGs.

As the Executive Director and the founder of YPWC, I hope to replicate this initiative in other schools with the assistance of the Team Members. I believe that these clubs will provide a congenial place of the youth to engage themselves in healthy discussions that are geared towards the realization of the Goals.

Also as a prolific writer, I have been writing in my country’s national newspapers on issues that pertain to the MDGs since. I believe that this contribution is going to help in the realization of the Goals. My recent publication in one of the print media’s of Ghana, titled, “Be Cautious on Vals Day” and, “Involve Youth in Development Initiatives” won the hearts of many people through their acknowledgements to me, and I have plans to do more.

In my writing concerning the latter, I argued that, “Even though, the government is doing well, I recommend that more young people should be consulted in poverty reduction plans,getting them involved, because statistics have shown that despite the youth constituting more than 50 per cent of the population of many countries, governments rarely consult young people on matters affecting their lives, like efforts at poverty reduction.

In addition, the youth who have already taken action at making the country a sustainable place to live in, must be supported and encouraged to keep up with their effervescent spirit and actions towards ameliorating current situations in Ghana. Ending poverty by 2015 in Ghana will not be a reality, unless the youth of Ghana get actively involved in strategies which are aimed at making the MDGs a reality. Who can better speak for young people than young people themselves?”

I think that the best way by which youth can help in the realization of the MDGs in Ghana is by giving their unflinching and invaluable support to activities concerning the MDGs. They must respond to calls for their participation in action projects.

The creative writers among the youth can write brilliant letters to the President by setting aside part of their busy schedules for writing on important issues like, "Female Children's Education in Ghana”, on behalf of the youth of Ghana.

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Writer Profile

Michael Baompong is the Founder and Executive Director of Young People We Care (YPWC). He has recently completed a four-year undergraduate degree at the University of Cape Coast, where he read Economics and Geography as his major courses. Michael graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences He is an ardent believer in youth empowerment and believes that if the youth are not empowered now, the world’s future will be nothing to write home about.
He participated in the recently-held Civil Society Day of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in the Philippines where he made a strong case for youth migration.
In September 2008, he successfully managed a joint initiative that was undertaken by YPWC with support from UNICEF Voices of Youth, Global Youth Action Network, Migrants Rights International and TakingITGlobal for the creation and publication of some key youth statements for the Global Forum on Migration and Development in the Philippines.
He was nominated in 2006 by the Task Force Committee of the UN-Non Governmental Liaison service to present a paper on Migration and Development at the UN Headquarters in New York. Michael was also a youth delegate to the 2007 Global Forum on Migration and Development and also the Regional Consultation on Migration, Remittances and Development in Africa.
Aside the numerous contributions that he makes on youth and development issues on networks like TakingITGlobal he also has a research work findings on International Migration and Remittances to his credit.
Michael is currently an Advisory Board member of the Bangladesh Youth Parliament, and was also a contributor and editorial member of the young people version of the UN Human Development Report for 2006 and 2007.
His desire to see to the well being of the youth in the world, which has been given a major boost by the introduction of the Millennium Development Goals, continues to spur him on to greater heights as he renders unconditional services to humanity aimed at making the world a better place for all.
After successfully completing an E-course in Project Management and Grant/Proposal Writing, his organizational abilities have been enhanced. In his own words, ‘I have been able to organize a series of programs on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and the Millennium Development Goals, thanks to the knowledge I acquired from the course’. He has his eyes on being a Migration Expert.
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