Today, UNICEF and the Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) announced the launch of its joint initiative to establish ten youth engagement centers in GhLA library spaces. The collaboration will focus on improving young people’s sustained access to quality learning, employability, and empowerment opportunities.
The youth engagement centers will support at least ten thousand young Ghanaians aged 14-24 years to develop digital and entrepreneurship skills by accessing online courses, organizing regular peer-to-peer learning sessions within their community, scheduling engagements with industry leaders and mid-career professionals for career guidance and mentorship support, and accessing tools to build their policy advocacy skills.
Mr. Hayford Siaw, the Executive Director of the Ghana Library Authority expressed his excitement over GhLA’s partnership with UNICEF to empower young people in Ghana. In his comments he said, “The Ghana Library Authority is on a quest in making Ghana a literate nation and since Ghana is currently experiencing a youth bulge, there is the need to target and empower the youth by radically connecting them to knowledge resources and mentoring them on how to apply that knowledge. We want to create a system where the library will not just be recognized for books but rather, a safe haven for the youth where skills can be acquired. I believe the GhLA is achieving this goal through this partnership.”
The pilot programme will be implemented over 12 months in eight regions of Ghana and in GhLA library spaces that are digitally connected. The centers will provide a safe and inclusive environment, physically and digitally, where young people, including disadvantaged groups can create and collaborate on advocacy related and entrepreneurial ideas.
Engagement with the community, especially with young people, is critical for the success of the centers and GhLA will establish Youth Advisory Boards to enable young people to participate in the co-creation of the different interventions within their center and mobilize peers.
Mr. Fiachra McAsey, the UNICEF Deputy Representative in Ghana said: “UNICEF is excited to partner with the Ghana Library Authority on this important initiative. We believe that the library spaces provide a new, innovative and sustainable way to support young people in Ghana with skilling and employability opportunities, while also facilitating participation and ownership by young people.”
The collaboration between UNICEF and GhLA contributes to broaden partnerships under the global Generation Unlimited initiative which aims to convene key stakeholders from government, private sector, educational institutions, and youth groups to co-develop and implement an investment roadmap for young people in Ghana. The partnership benefits from the financial contribution of Louis Vuitton, a French fashion house and luxury goods company.
About Ghana Library Authority:
The Ghana Library Authority is a state agency with the mandate to establish, equip, maintain, and manage public libraries in Ghana. GhLA works to improve literacy outcomes through the provision of information services which seek to improve reading outcomes, leading to increased public awareness as a critical component of the overall strategy towards tackling illiteracy, poverty, disease, and unemployment related problems.
About Generation Unlimited: Generation Unlimited is a multi-sector partnership established to support every young person aged 10-24 in bridging the transition from education and training to employment and entrepreneurship. It brings together public and private partners – and young people themselves – to identify and capitalize on opportunities for shared-value partnerships and investments in strategies, models, initiatives, products, and programs supporting outcomes for young people.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child; in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of children everywhere.
Youth Engagement Center Locations: The ten youth engagement centers will be hosted in the following GhLA libraries across eight regions
1. Northern Region – Tamale Metro Library
2. Greater Accra Region – Accra Central Library & Tema Branch Library
3. Ashanti Region – Ashanti Regional Library
4. Upper East Region – Bolgatanga Branch Library
5. Central Region – Effutu Municipal Library & Cape Coast Library
6. Eastern Region – Eastern Regional Library
7. Western Region – Western Regional Library
8. Upper West Region – Upper West Regional Library