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FOREMOST WORKING

YOUTH VOLUNTEER
OFFICIAL MEETING - REPORT
PATH August 4, 2009
UNDP Civil Society Resource Centre, Conference Room
Accra - Ghana

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The Foremost Working Volunteer Official Meeting would not have been possible without
the venue and office resources provided by the UNDP Civil Society Resource Centre. Special
thanks to Evans Gyampoh, Michael Boampong (National Service Personel), and the team of
able personnel at the UNDP Civil Society Resource Centre. I am also indebted to Ransfoard
Nii Darku France for his unwavering financial support.

Seemingly infinite reserves of experience and insight form our Special Guests provided
inspiration and guidance for the Meeting. They include Mrs. Doris Appeadu-Mensah,
Abraham Eyiku Essiem, Elsie Appau, and Kwasi Selassie Fianu.

But for the active support and participation of the various stakeholders, including the active
participation of youth themselves and auxiliary support systems provided by Christian
Gbewordo, Georgina Patria Lutterodt and John Tisei, the Meeting would not have been a
success. Thanks for the unfailing support.

To all who offered brilliant advice and inspiration throughout the process, I say thank you!
Youth Path looks forward to your support and working with you in upcoming events.

Cyril Nii-Offei France


Youth Path
August 2009

The preparation of the Report


was coordinated and compiled by
Mr. Cyril Nii-Offei France.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Pages

Acknowledgements……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1

1. Report Summary…………………………………..……………………………………………………………………….3

2. Chairperson’s Opening Remarks…………………………………………………………………………………….5

3. Presentations

Youth Path’s Vision, Mission, and Organizational Structure…………………………………………...5

What We Have and Can Give as Young People……………………………………………………………….6

Youth-Led Organization, its Relevance and Overcoming its Challenges as Young People..6

Youth Volunteerism and its Benefits…………………………………………………………………………….10

4. Outcomes and Next Steps…………………………………………………………………………………………….11

5. Appendix………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………12

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REPORT SUMMARY
The Foremost Working Volunteer Official Meeting was hosted to give potential volunteers
and the general public (youth) the opportunity to appreciate the concept of youth-led
development and to rally their unique skills and passions to ensure a better world for
present and future generations.
Youth Path’s official meeting took place at the UNDP Civil Society Resource Centre
Conference Room in Accra. The conference room was filled to capacity, the overall number
of representation was fifteen (15), five (5) were men and nine (9) women, mostly young
people from diverse backgrounds. At about 9:15am most participants were seated and the
meeting lasted for about three hours. The methodology was a composition of a balanced
mixture of formal and non-formal presentations, including energizers and interactions.
During the presentations, the chairperson, National Coordinator for Cross Roads
International, Mrs. Doris Appeadu-Mensah stressed on the need for young people to use
their talents, skills, unique experience, and passion towards the development of their
society and nation. She also welcomed the bold initiative of Youth Path and all participants.
Highlighting the vision, objectives, and structure of Youth Path, the Executive
Coordinator of Youth Path Cyril Nii-Offei France said the Organization operates on the
principles of Youth-Led Development. In that, young people design, implement and foster
sustainability of their community projects.
Miss Elsie Appau, Project Assistant, joint UN Task Team on HIV/AIDS and Gender
UNIFEM, focusing on what we have and can give as young people, Miss. Appau sparked up
the participants with a thought provoking question “what will the world say of your
intelligence?” Advising participants, Miss. Appau cautioned young people to stay away from
internet fraud (“Sakawa”) and other social vices and rather maximize time and put to good
use their unique abilities. She also emphasized on the need for young people to take
responsibility for their future.
Senior Project Assistant, PPAG’s Young & Wise Center, Mr. Kwasi Selassie Fianu
touched on the challenges of youth-led organizations and its relevance. In his presentation,
he stressed on the need for a well coordinated commitment and investment from young
leaders and youth organizations in order to achieve sustainable youth leadership.

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Mr. Abraham Eyiku Essiem, Writer, Farmer, and Student (University of Ghana)
doubling as the M.C. and a guest presenter started the programme with a welcome address
and introduction of chairperson. According to Mr. Essiem, youth volunteerism provides the
youth with opportunities to render selfless service to their communities on a voluntary basis
to contribute to the socio-economic and sustainable development of the country. This he
said during his presentation on the topic youth volunteerism and its benefits.
Participants present pledged their support for youth-led development and eighty
percent (80%) of the volunteer applications received were from participants in attendance,
expressing interest to volunteer with Youth Path.

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CHAIRPERSON’S OPENING REMARKS
In a commencing statement, Mrs. Doris Appeadu-Mensah, National Coordinator Cross Road
International remarked; it is great to be young, to be young and active in the affairs of
development and the well being of others. The world will be a better place if all the youth
will rally their unique experiences, skills and passion towards the development of our
society and nation. She therefore, welcomed the bold initiative of Youth Path and all
participants.

PRESENTATION
Youth Path’s Vision, Mission and Organizational Structure
Highlighting the vision and objectives of Youth Path, the Executive Coordinator of Youth
Path, Mr. Cyril Nii-Offei France said Youth Path is a dynamic youth-led, nonpartisan,
nonprofit organization formed to mobilize young people to put their energy, zeal and
passion to productivity. Dear to the organization are the uncompromising values of
integrity, creativity, diversity, and excellence. The working spirit of Youth Pat’s team is to
learn, share, and develop practical methodologies and strategies for promoting youth-led
development. In Youth Path, young people define their own developmental goals and
objectives through piloting of innovative projects on employment, environment,
governance, sharing of best practices, promoting entrepreneurship and employment for
young people.
Youth Path serves all especially young people, regardless of social class, gender, race,
ethnicity or religion. Youth Path’s definition of youth is on the backdrop of the African Youth
Charter “all persons between the ages of fifteen to thirty-five years (15-35) inclusive.
However, Youth Path reaches out to young people to incubate, inform, inspire, empower,
highlight their concerns and help them get involved in the developmental processes by
taking action to improve or address concerns in their communities. Youth Path is governed
by a Governing Council and Coordinating Team, the governing council comprises the Board
Chairperson, Board Members, and the Executive Coordinator. The Coordinating Team
comprises the Executive Coordinator, Projects & Programmes Coordinator, Finance &

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Administrative Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, Relations Coordinator, and Research &
Development Coordinator.

PRESENTATION
What We Have and Can Give as Young People
Miss Elsie Appau, Project Assistant, Joint UN Task Team on HIV/AIDS and Gender, UNIFEM-
Ghana and a youth Activist, in a much more interactive method of presentation elaborated
on what we have and can give as young people. Explaining who a youth is, she defined a
youth as any person between the ages of fifteen and thirty years, who is ready to learn new
things and apply it in their daily lives at all times.
She also defined the word youth in the context of the UN “as any individual aged 15 -
24” and in the African Union Youth Charter “as persons aged 15 – 35”. The Youth are the
hope of life, the future lies with the youth. Before a nation can develop well, its youth must
be vibrant in developmental issues. A healthy people means a healthy nation, the youth is
full of physical and mental energy which when channeled towards the right direction, our
societies, country and world will be a better place to duel in by the next five to ten years.
“What will the world say of your intelligence?” if you do not make use of your
YOUTHFULLNESS. Miss Appau wrapped up by saying the youth is the future of our country,
and as young people we have a lot of opportunities. What are we doing to exploit these
opportunities? “What does life require of me in the next ten years?” are questions all young
people need to ask themselves, Miss Appau quizzed.

PRESENTATION
Youth-Led Organizations, its Relevance and Overcoming its
Challenges as Young People
Mr. Kwasi Selassie Fianu, Senior Project Assistant, PPAG’s Young & Wise Center, speaking
at the meeting, he touched on the challenges of youth-led organizations and its relevance
and overcoming the challenges. He said Youth – Led organizations go through a lot of
confrontations, most of which if not addressed early leads to dissolution. Youth-Led
organizations are non-governmental organizations fully managed and coordinated by young

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people who work on a variety of issues from the youth perspective. Youth-Led organizations
are locally, regionally, and internationally visible and relevant. They foster good governance,
peace and security through programmes and policies focused on young people. Young
people have critical roles to play in leading initiatives and developing policies. Also, they
allow young people to exercise their right to participation, improving their status and
wellbeing around the world.
Young people have a better understanding of their challenges, strengths, and
opportunities that affect them, however, youth – led organizations are in a unique position
to develop and implement initiatives that addresses the issues of diverse realities of young
people. Some of these challenges include;
 Ageing out - For youth organizations to remain truly youth-led, there is a process
called “aging out,” where members and staff are in constant transition out of the
organization when they reach a certain age. The age at which staff and members
age-out depends on the organization and its cultural context. In some youth
organizations, young people age-out when they turn 25 while in others they may
age-out when they turn 30. As a result, youth organizations are in a constant state of
transition. With aging out comes new young members and staff, new knowledge,
ideas and skills, but it also means a potential loss of organizational history,
knowledge, skills, contacts and more.
 High mobility - In addition to the frequent turn-over rates among staff and members
due to aging out, the high mobility of young people is a challenge. Young people
often have to move on because of school, work or family. For youth-led
organizations, this means additional turnover as members and staff move on before
aging-out.
 Constant orientation, training, and re-training - While new leadership is a positive
thing for youth-led organizations to stay true to their structure, it also creates a
constant need to orient, train and retrain members and staff.
 Lack of or limited core Funding etc - Youth-led organizations face extreme difficulty
securing funds for core operating costs, including the funds necessary to run an
office, compensate staff and cover other overhead expenses. This is especially true
for youth organizations that may have limited experience and lack a financial history.

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While all organizations face these challenges, the low retention of staff and
leadership that youth-led organizations experience makes this a particularly difficult
hurdle.
 Not just volunteers - young people are often seen as volunteers--individuals who will
work for free just for the chance to participate. While volunteering is a great thing
and an integral part of many organizations, we must beware of acting as if all young
people ought to be volunteers. The work of young people needs to be valued and
recognized, and part of this means monetary remuneration. Without remuneration,
young people often seek employment in other fields, which diminishes their capacity
to become meaningfully involved.
 Leadership opportunities for a select few: Often meeting organizers invite the same
young individuals because they are only familiar with a few young leaders. Due to
this, gaps of knowledge can develop within organizations and amongst young
colleagues as a few select individuals gain skills and contacts. In addition, if the same
individuals continuously represent young people in different proceedings, the
important diversities among young people are over-simplified and misrepresented.
Youth-led organizations are part of all constituencies and this diversity should be
recognized.
 Moving past tokenism: Often, when the youth are invited to meetings, conferences
or tasked to give input on policies and programmes, it is simply because it “looks
good” to have a youth representative or because a guideline exists on including
young people. However, often no actual feedback from youth participants is
expected, welcomed or integrated into the outcomes of the process. This is
especially true when a commitment to meaningful youth leadership is lacking or not
well understood by other stakeholders. While many in the international community
believe that “elders always know best,” this is not always the case, especially when
dealing with issues that directly affect young people.
In the sphere of recommendations for youth-led organizations, Mr. Selassie Fianu
emphasized on the following:
1. Youth-led organizations must develop a clear mission and develop a strategic plan
for the organization, which should identify a niche and guide priorities for the short

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and long term. Like any organization, it is important for youth-led organizations to
support their own core development through strategic planning. Such planning is
important to keep the organization’s work focused, effective and realistic.
2. Establish a process, plan and budget for ongoing recruitment of younger staff and
members in anticipation of aging out. Given the need for youth-led organizations to
frequently replace members who leave due to life changes or those who age out,
anticipating and planning for re-recruitment of younger members and staff is
fundamental. Building recruitment efforts into the work of those currently working
for the organization can help ensure a more sustained influx of new young people.
Posting regular announcements for membership with rolling admission can also be
helpful in attracting new young people over time.
3. Plan and implement ongoing orientation and training for new staff and members. As
older members age out and new staff and members are recruited, the outgoing staff
and members should orient the new staff and members to pass on information
related to organizational history, existing commitments to funders and partner
organizations, as well as contacts. Training should also be provided in areas deemed
important by the organization, such as strengthening of knowledge on key issues and
skills important to the work of the organization. The expenses related to this need to
be budgeted for in advance.
4. Create a nomination process that maximizes access to opportunities for as many
members as possible, as opposed to only a select few. While opportunities for youth
engagement can come at the last minute with tight deadlines, making it difficult to
gather information on a wider selection of young people to nominate, steps can be
taken to facilitate channeling opportunities to a larger number of young people. For
example, sending alerts about opportunities to a list of members or through other
networks can broaden reach of urgent opportunities for youth engagement and
leadership. Also, creating an internal database of bios and/or photos of members of
the organization can be helpful in passing on recommendations for calls for youth
participation, speakers, media work or other engagements.
5. Prepare members or staff with the necessary information and training to support
their meaningful participation if selected for particular opportunities or events. For
example, provide training in public speaking if selected for a presentation, in the role
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of a board member, if recruited to serve on a board of directors, or on how to talk to
a reporter if invited for an interview.
6. Create policies, plans and budget for remuneration or other forms of compensation
for young people’s efforts and time. Establish organizational policies that relate to
remuneration and budget for, as well as implement, these policies consistently. For
example, will members be paid for their time and/or will they receive a stipend to
cover transportation to meetings and food?
7. Seek out opportunities for partnerships with other youth-led and youth-serving
organizations and work in coalition to leverage efforts. When resources are limited,
partnerships are critical to advancing efforts and building on existing and
complementary initiatives.
8. Seek funding from diverse sources if at all possible, including local government,
private foundations, international agencies, or individual funders. Obtaining funds,
however small, from diverse entities provides more organizational flexibility as well
as financial security.

PRESENTATION
Youth Volunteerism and its Benefits
Mr. Abraham Eyiku Essiem concluded the presentations by speaking on the benefits of
youth volunteerism, “The future of every nation is in its youth’’. Over half of the population
of Ghana is below the age thirty; this makes our society very vibrant and young in many
regards. Youth volunteerism simply provides the youth with opportunities to render selfless
service to their communities on a voluntary basis to contribute to the socio-economic and
sustainable development of the country. Young people today live in a world of constant
sense of anxiety, and a fear of the unknown trigger on a daily basis, a feeling of deception
and confusion. However, youth volunteerism reduces the state of youth violence and social
vices since the youth are preoccupied with their task.
Conclusively, youth volunteerism plays a key role in a nation’s over all development
in the sense that, it helps the youth become an asset not just for oneself but for family,
society, country, and the world at large.

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OUTCOMES AND NEXT STEPS
The main outcomes of the Foremost Working Volunteer Official Meeting were the
awareness created on youth-led development and commitment from participants to
support youth-led initiatives. Eighty percent (80%) of the participants in attendance
submitted application materials expressing interest to volunteer with Youth Path, the
remaining twenty percent (20%) were applicants not present at the meeting. The meeting
has also enriched participants with innovative and inspirational ideas, the networking
session made it possible for new friendships and partnerships to be formed.

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APPENDIX A
Agenda
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
9:00 Arrival and Registration

9:30 Welcome and Introduction of Chairperson – by: Mc.


Mr. Abraham Eyiku Essiem, Writer, Farmer and Student (University of
Ghana)

9:35 Chairperson’s Opening Remarks:


Mrs. Doris Appeadu-Mensah, National Coordinator, Cross Roads
International,

9:45 Purpose of Gathering – by:


Mr. Abraham Eyiku Essiem, Writer, Farmer and Student (University of
Ghana)

9:55 Presentation on Youth Path’s Vision, Mission and Org. Structure


by: Cyril Nii Offei France, Executive Coordinator, Youth Path & Student

10:10 Youth-Led Org., its Relevance and Overcoming its Challenges as Young
People
by: Ms. Aku Xornam Adzraku, Coordinator of PPAG’s Youth Action
Movement

10:20 What We Have and Can Give as Young People – by Miss. Elsie Appau,
Project Assistant, Joint UN Task Force Team on HIV/AIDS and Gender,
UNIFEM

10:30 Youth Volunteerism and its Benefits – by:


Mr. Abraham Eyiku Essiem, Writer, Farmer and Student (University of
Ghana)

10:40 Discussions, Q&A

10:55 Wrap Up and Next Steps

11:20 Chairperson’s Closing Remarks

11:30 Refreshment & Networking

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APPENDIX B
List of Participants
NAME ORGANIZATION / SCHOOL PHONE
1. Susan Dedei Armah Ghana Christian University 0287 223 509
2. Lily Dede Ayayee Central University College 0208 890 162
3. Marietta Appeadu-Mensah Student 021 675 181
4. Francis Appeadu-Mensah PRESEC Legon 021 675 181
5. Bernadette Faith Cremer Student 021 675 181
6. Georgina Patria Lutterodt Student 0277 653 008
7. Henrietta Tettey-Ku Methodist University 0272 163 457
8. Abraham Eyiku Essiem University of Ghana / Farmer 0277 817 513
9. Austin Carboo Dodowa Keepfit Club 0209 155 343
10. Chamberlain A. Nyemi-Tei Ghana Christian University 0272 163 456
11. Winifred Fafa Agbemenya Vibe F.M. 0243 663 264
12. Doris Appeadu-Mensah Youth at the Cross Roads 0208 204 894
13. Cyril Nii Offei France Youth Path / GCUC 0249 415 528
14. Kwasi Selassie Fianu PPAG Young & Wise Center 0244 679 597
15. Elsie Appau UNIFEM Ghana 0244 875 551

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APPENDIX C Event Pictures

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Youth Path
House No. ADA-D- 018
Dzodze, Adagbledu
Ketu-North District
Volta Region – Ghana

Private Mail Bag GP 18932


Accra Central

Phone: +233 (0)273 932 331

Email: youthpath.gh@gmail.com
Website: Under construction

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