The Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Natalia Kanem has inaugurated a youth innovative hub located on the premises of the UNFPA, Ghana office.
Named, the ‘Orange Loft’, the hub is designed to serve as an incubator to hone the skills of the beneficiaries of UNFPA Ghana’s Youth Leaders (YoLe) Fellowship Programme, as well as inspire in them creativity and innovation to support programme interventions of the country office.
In November 2018, the Ghana country of UNFPA formally launched the Youth Leaders (YoLe) Fellowship Programme, to offer young graduates of universities in Ghana, an opportunity to undergo professional training, mentorship, job shadowing and technical support to undertake outreach programmes.
Dr Kanem, who was in the country to participate in the China-Africa Conference on Population and Development and the 95th birthday celebration of Prof. Fred T. Sai, a reproductive rights advocate, said the hub would serve the youth of Ghana, who were bursting with creative talent.
“With this new innovation hub, young Ghanaians will have a much needed avenue to reach their limitless potential.”
“This Orange Loft is a unique safe space! A generation of young people will busy themselves and equip themselves here, becoming leaders and agents of change,” Dr Kanem stated.
She added that an incubator was a nice, welcoming and warm space in which to grow.
“That’s why we place preterm infants in incubators sometimes to nurture them and let them grow strong. The Orange Loft is an incubator to let youth test their skills and ideas, helping them to imagine brand new solutions. It’s an investment in the youth of Ghana”.
Investment in youth
Dr Kanem indicated that ‘the investment of UNFPA in young people is an example of how the organisation is harnessing the demographic dividend’ for sustainable development.
She said UNFPA Ghana, and in the West and Central African Region (WCARO), were committed to including young people in their sexual and reproductive health programming and interventions to enable them to learn from facts and not by accidents such as too-young pregnancy that could have a profound impact on their lives.
Dr Kanem commended the UNFPA Country Representative, Mr Niyi Ojuolape, and the staff for the “heroic efforts to make this wonderful hub a reality.”
“This is a stellar example of an efficient, inclusive and dynamic project, working with government and communities at the country level”, she added.