Taking action for a sustainable future and empowering young people

Two young people are picking up trash.

Young people are often left behind by bad policies and societal norms, making them more likely to be unemployed and need additional skills for green jobs. Curiously, green job openings are projected to go as high as 8.4 million by 2030, with demand far outstripping supply. 

Given this, my work in Ghana has focused on giving young people opportunities to thrive and grow. As Programme Manager of Akuapem Education Trust, my work enables 15 young people who are living in poverty to access tertiary education and delivers training and development services to some 4,500 young people. My work addresses Ghana’s low tertiary enrollment ratio which stands at 20%, in line with achieving SDG 4 related to Quality Education. 

In July 2023, I co-led Africa's biggest youth-led conference on digital transformation and sustainability at ABAN Centre for Global Policy. Over two days, over 1200 young people received action-oriented digital and green skills training, with speakers from diverse fields, including the World Bank Group, the University of Oxford, the Ministry of Communication and Digitalisation, and the Ministry of Energy. After the event, 98% of attendees reported enhanced knowledge of sustainable development and the need to protect the environment. My work at the conference benefits young people directly, allowing them to thrive. 

I am co-leading I-ACT Ghana to help young people learn about climate change and green skills. We use the Italy-IRENA Action for Climate Toolkit to reach 1,000 young people. Workshops have already been conducted, and a large-scale seminar is planned for the end of August in collaboration with the Italian Embassy in Ghana. 

As a young person passionate about the environment, I have founded a startup called PaperDem, which especialises in circular economy and extends the usefulness of items that would otherwise be discarded as waste. PaperDem upcycles plastics, advertising waste and paper to make everyday items like bags. By doing this, PaperDem encourages communities to make the most out of their resources. So far, through my work, 4 tones of waste have been prevented from getting dumped and eventually entering the ocean. I am particularly passionate about my work at PaperDem because I have seen firsthand how waste clogs beaches in Ghana, including turtle nesting beaches, thereby depriving marine life of their habitat.  

To create safe workplaces for young people, I worked with the United Nations Foundation’s Our Future Agenda to lead a campaign calling on governments to ratify ILO Convention 190. 

As a result of my work, I was first runner-up in the 2022 World Bank Case Challenge. In addition, I contributed to UNICEF’s 2023 Global Outlook Report as a UNICEF Youth Foresight Circle member. The University of Oxford and St. Gallen Symposium recognized me as an emerging leader in 2021, and admitted me into the Global Leadership Challenge. 

In the future, I am looking forward to my work enabling young people to at least get a seat at the table, or, even better, make their own tables where they become architects of their future.