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The State of Positive Youth Development in Ghana: A Conversation with Elizabeth Patterson

Plan International USA (Plan USA) is an active advocate for girls' rights, and their commitment to partnering with adolescent girls and their communities to overcome exclusion and gender inequality is unwavering. In Plan Usa's commitment to girls' rights, It recognizes the importance of organizations like the Girls Education Initiative of Ghana (GEIG). In a recent interview, Elizabeth Patterson, the founder of the Girls Education Initiative of Ghana, shared her insights on positive youth development. This conversation also highlights the impactful work of the Girls Education Initiative of Ghana (GEIG) in empowering young people.

Positive Youth Development and the Role of GEIG

GEIG, founded by Elizabeth Patterson, is a beacon of hope for girls in Ghana. It focuses on providing academic and financial support to those with special needs, enabling them to access higher education and professional opportunities. Elizabeth emphasizes how Positive Youth Development (PYD) empowers young people by giving them the skills, relationships, and opportunities they need to control their own futures, and she hopes that as GEIG approaches its tenth anniversary, its programmes and activities will continue to nurture a generation of public servants committed to improving themselves, their families, and their communities.

Youth as Ghana's Greatest Resource

One of the central themes of the conversation was the role of young Ghanaians in shaping the nation’s development. As Elizabeth eloquently puts it, "Ghanaian youth are the country's greatest resource." With African youth projected to make up 42% of the global youth population by 2030 and Ghana currently having 38% of its population within the youth bracket, the potential is undeniable. Her return to Ghana a decade ago revealed a shift in youth participation across various sectors, from politics to agriculture and technology. The Ghanaian youth have emerged as the driving force behind change, contributing positively to the dev't & growth of the nation and the continent.

"The Ghanaian youth are the country's greatest resource."

The Role of PYD

In Elizabeth's view, PYD plays a central role in the transformation she's witnessed. Youth in Ghana are no longer silent bystanders; they question the status quo and actively participate in driving change. This shift, according to Elizabeth, represents a significant departure from her own youth in Ghana. Young people in the country are now encouraged to use their voices to create change, from the smallest, most intimate settings to larger societal shifts. Elizabeth acknowledges that PYD is no easy feat. It demands adults relinquish power, challenge assumptions, take risks, and put in the hard work. But the payoff, as she believes, is more than worth it—actualized, connected, and thriving young individuals ready to tackle the world's challenges.



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