Developing tomorrow’s leaders today

By Blondie Ndebele | January 19, 2023 | Africa & The Middle East | Education, Youth Empowerment

In the town of Amasaman, Young Visionary Leaders Ghana is engaging children in debate competitions and school clubs to foster a love of learning and a passion for advocacy.

All children have the potential to develop leadership skills, and helping them to face and overcome challenges can help them become confident and resilient problem-solvers.

In Ghana, Global Fund for Children partner Young Visionary Leaders Ghana is working tirelessly to empower children and young people with public speaking skills so they can actively participate in their communities and advocate on issues that affect them.

A drama display at Young Visionary Leaders Ghana's World Children's Day celebration. © Young Visionary Leaders Ghana

Through public speaking debate competitions and school club activities, the organization coaches, mentors, and inspires children aged 5 to 15 to become productive, prolific, and visionary future leaders.

Young Visionary Leaders Ghana’s Executive Director Joseph Afangbe recently shared insights into the organization’s work including how the organization is helping children who have experienced learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Joseph and his team are working hard to redevelop an interest in education among the affected children.

“As part of our activities, we assign debate competitors some advocacy topics as a way of provoking thoughts and building their capacity to be prolific leaders in the future,” he said. “We also use drama displays, poetry, singing, and dancing to highlight the importance of education and promote an interest in learning for children after having spent over a year out of school as a result of the pandemic.”

Young Visionary Leaders Ghana is part of GFC’s Partnership to Educate All Kids (PEAK) initiative, which works with local organizations in Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia that are helping kids who have experienced pandemic-related education disruptions. The initiative has enabled Young Visionary Leaders Ghana to expand its programs to reach more disenfranchised children in Ghana.

School children performing at the 2022 World Children's Day celebration. © Young Visionary Leaders Ghana

Joseph indicated that most children who have participated in these programs have been excelling at school and especially in English-language classes.

“Debate competitions are conducted in English and there is a lot of reading, research, and teamwork involved,” he said. “We believe that once they perform well in their English-language classes, they can excel in other classes as well, and we have been noticing an academic improvement in children who participate in these competitions.”

Young Visionary Leaders Ghana considers debate competition a form of play that teaches participants principles of critical thinking coupled with presentation skills. Debate sharpens research and public speaking skills, as well as children’s ability to analyze problems and propose solutions.

The organization celebrated World Children’s Day in November 2022 by creating an in-person event where children engaged policy makers, teachers, and other leaders on children’s rights and inclusive development in line with the 2022 theme of inclusion. A total of 923 children from three public schools and two private schools participated in the Young Visionary Leaders Ghana event and actively engaged their leaders.

Three children in uniforms SGD holding placards

Children promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals through poetry in school. © Young Visionary Leaders Ghana


The PEAK initiative, supported by the LEGO Foundation, helps children to access and thrive in learning environments that prepare them for future success. As the PEAK initiative turns one, GFC is highlighting the work of some of the PEAK partners who are employing innovative ways of making education more fun and appealing to children who suffered academic loss at the height of the pandemic.

Header photo: A drama display at the World Children’s Day celebration. © Young Visionary Leaders Ghana

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