Ken Atta-Boakye, pictured, is like an uncle of mine and even though we’ve known each other for barely half a decade, he has been able to leave a positive mark on me for the simple fact that he’s always done his most to place Ghana on a much higher pedestal. Recently I’ve been speaking with Mr. Atta-Boakye about his efforts towards starting a movement of ideas that will encourage Ghanaians both at home and abroad to start working at lifting the image of the country.
One major drawback to the attainment of a Ghana filled with contented citizens is the lack of confidence in leadership and the brain drain situation. So diminished is the quality of leadership that a sound majority of Ghanaian youths find themselves without vision or motivation and are all looking for ways to leave the motherland. Despite the difficulties and the struggles involved in visa procurement, Ghanaians defy the odds and do everything possible to obtain visas to travel abroad to chase green pastures, forgetting that grass is greener at their feet.
According to Ken this is understandable because of the success stories sometimes associated with such travels. Thus Ghanaians all over the globe have justified their travels with the various ways they contribute towards the reconstruction program of the country. There is a positive gain from these individual migrants and their most direct impact is felt from their remittances back home to their immediate families, which is good indeed!
Besides remittances, we see the migrants supporting their loved ones and friends with handouts, shipment of groceries and obviously the regular phone calls to check on how families are doing. They build houses to accommodate their families and establish businesses to boost the economy. The government is appreciative of their assistance in foreign exchange revenue and is always asking for more. We cannot be more grateful! While these accomplishments are impressive, Ken, in my conversation with him went on to still make a passionate appeal to Ghanaians and Africans in the Diaspora to go that extra mile with the assistance they’re already offering because he personally feels they have the capability to do this.
Mr. Atta-Boakye is backing his words with action through his “Project Save Your Village or Town” initiative. This project according to him is an initiative targeted at directly connecting migrant Ghanaians with their people at home.
One way the project is intended to work is by pooling resources and expertise from Ghanaians in the diaspora to be taken back to Ghana to champion causes like the provision of education to children in respective villages that are going to benefit from this project. A simple effort like collecting books that will further enhance and broaden the intellectual horizon of students back in Ghana would go a long way to supplementing what they’re already receiving from the educational systems back home.
The 2011 Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) results in Ghana is not something to be proud of, especially in the rural areas where educational resources and expertise are scanty. Even those students who perform very well in their final year BECE are still stranded for lack of sponsorship to continue their education to the Senior High School level.
The situation is scarily alarming, which is why initiatives like “Project Save Your Village or Town” needs to be supported and encouraged to rescue such catastrophes. Ken Atta-Boakye believes our children are our greatest assets and we have to do our best to nurture and train them in the right ways because they are the real owners of the country. Children all over have only entrusted a country’s upkeep to adults who must not fail them but rather, secure them a brighter future.
The simple idea to send books to assist children of school going ages with their studies could also be translated into other aspects of society. In an anecdote, Ken takes me down memory lane as he recounts: “when I was young and growing up in my village in Ghana, we used to count the number of our village natives who were overseas.We were proud of them and hoped that one day they would be able to do something magnificent for our village. Each time they visited home we held them in high esteem and accorded them with the greatest respect”. So great was the gleam on Ken’s face as he continues to tell me that… “it was an even greater joy for such prominent ‘returnees’ or ‘been-tos’.
We were proud of them and hoped that one day they would be able to do something magnificent for our village. Each time they visited home we held them in high esteem and accorded them with the greatest respect”. So great was the gleam on Ken’s face as he continues to tell me that… “it was an even greater joy for such prominent ‘returnees’ or ‘been to’s’ to have some of the people they left behind actually recalling and referring to them by their actual names and inquiring of their well-being. You would turn around and exclaim… so they remember my name?!”.
This flashback was my uncle’s way of telling me that the people we leave back home are looking up to us to help them, so we must therefore not disappoint them. This story opened a whole new chapter for me, it especially made me rethink my purpose for sending money back home and if anything at all, it encouraged it!
When I asked Ken to tell me more about efforts to create an awareness about the fact that children are a nation’s greatest asset, he told me that they have formed and registered the organization called ‘Campaign to Promote Civic Education in Ghana’ with the Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission in the USA.
Uncle Ken encouraged all who believe in this dream and have the passion for assisting the “Project Save Your Village or Town”, mission to kindly contact this blog for details. I have already reviewed the book about this project and feel it is a very laudable one.
Written by Oral Ofori