Benson Adjei, Yaw Adu-Gyamfi and Collins Amponsah Mensah, have known each other for several years. In the past 10 years their paths have crossed severally in developing projects and programs in the areas of sustainable community development, skills training, financial inclusion and economic empowerment.
Having spent most of their adult life in Kumasi, the three co-founders of CSI got together at the start of 2014 to deliberate on how to make use of innovative approaches to address the myriad of developmental challenges that Ghana faces not just in the ancient city of Kumasi but across the country. At the time, the World Bank had just released a report stating that over 40% of Ghanaian youth were unemployed. This situation painted a gloomy picture for young people in Ghana which was no different from other West African neighbours.
In order to address the challenge, Yaw and Benson had earlier on been involved in setting up the Kumasi Centre for Lifelong Learning-KCLL which started off promising but ended mid-way bugged down by start-up challenges leading to eventual folding up. Taking a cue from that experience, the three friends and co-founders combined resources and expertise to set up the Centre for Social Innovations-CSI, and eventually in 2015 after several months of planning, the organization was launched. The team then settled on making use of design thinking and asset based community development approaches to address the challenges of sustainability of initiatives and of the new organization. More importantly, the resort to social innovation is to empower young people who are the future leaders of our country through educational innovation to enable them become more critical, innovative and effective leaders adept at solving challenges and creating opportunities.