Recently, we conducted a Young Social Innovators Project in the Nhyiaeso sub-metro in Kumasi with basic school kids. Based on concepts of design thinking http://scpd.stanford.edu/ppc/stanford-design-group-courses-workshops-and-programs?_vsrefdom=Adwords-Other&gclid=CMOQlb2y18oCFQ6OaQod5jkHjQ) and asset-based community development http://www.abcdinstitute.org/docs/What%20isAssetBasedCommunityDevelopment(1).pdf), our Young Social Innovators’ program encourage students to come up with creative solutions to local problems using strategies of brainstorming, prototyping, and teamwork.
Our bootcamps in Nhyiaeso took place in six different schools, and we were excited and inspired to see the minds of our students at work. At one of our schools, students identified a local challenge as clogged gutters, causing unpleasant smells and dangerous bacteria to grow. After brainstorming possible solutions to this issue, the group decided a creative plan would be to build a robot that could successfully clean out the gutters.
Another group identified poor academic performance among students as a pertinent challenge. Their creative solution was to form a reader’s club, where struggling students could come before or after school and spend time reading with their peers. The group also suggested distributing books to lower performing students so that they may have increased opportunities to practice literacy skills.
Although many of our students may not directly implement their creative solutions, a big part of our goal is to teach students at a young age how to think creatively—to get them to use their imaginations and unleash their creative potential, so that as they age, they will be unafraid to challenge social norms. Young people have the power to positively contribute to society but are often overlooked as potential change-agents. Our programs are designed to foster a sense of agency in Ghanaian youth so they may bring the country into a new age of sustainable, locally led development solutions.
International Volunteer Manager
Centre for Social Innovations