Stories of UPSHIFTers
Empowering adolescents and young people for a brighter future
Before I joined the UPSHIFT programme I was a student. I still am, but it was during the programme that I got inspired to start a business I had been thinking of – perfumed oil. I knew the students on campus would be my prime market. Through UPSHIFT, I learned the importance of networking. It was the first few people I took the initiative to meet and introduce myself to that bought some of the perfumed oils. Also, with what I learned on marketing; more people are patronizing by business. This is helping me to build capital while I study. I’m gaining more confidence because I after I complete school, I’ll already be an entrepreneur hopefully making more profits and employing people.
I aim to be in Government one day, mainly to empower young people and help them build a brighter future for themselves.
I am a teacher. I teach mathematics and science. I have always been fascinated with data science and computer programming but hadn’t started studying it seriously. Through UPSHIFT, I decided to gain focus and give it a lot of attention. My dream to sell the regions of the North here to Ghana and abroad. People should want to visit this part of the country when they come to Ghana, so with my knowledge of computer programming. I’ll build an app for virtual tourism. If people can’t make it here, we can still whet their appetite with a virtual tour.
We always talk about the issues in our community and think we have the solutions to them. However, taking time to speak with people in the community, you realize that often the solutions that are provided do not work for them, because no one bothered to include them in the decision-making process. I learned from UPHSIFT that if I want to bring solutions to my community, then I have to consult them and involve them in designing it. This is human-centered design. I hope to make agriculture a long-term solution for unemployment and poverty in my community, but I know I can’t do it by myself.
Muftal Mamud Yuba
I dream of becoming a medical doctor in future; however, I want to use my profession to serve my community. It’s not enough to work and earn money while there are so many health problems in my community. The UPSHIFT programme has taught me how to identity problems in my community and involving the people in it to provide solutions. During the programme, I worked with my group to identify problems that lead to poor health. We realize sanitation is a serious issue. So, we designed a propotype that we believe will help address the issue.
One of the things I love most is seeing someone wearing and enjoying an outfit I made. This is one of the main reasons make clothes. My aim to be like one of my mentors – Rasak. He’s a well-known designer and I hope to be a leader like him, setting up his business, employing and training people. UPSHIFT has helped me learn what it means to be a leader. It’s not enough to know a skill, one also needs to know how to lead people making the business successful. I am happy to be equipped with all these skills. It makes me feel different, empowered, and enlightened.
Choked gutters are a big issue in my community. They breed so many mosquitoes and cause malaria. My team and I saw that the issue has not been resolved because of poor drainage. Although people in the communities do clean the gutters it’s not done in a proper and sustainable way. So, we had to work towards a solution that would prevent the refuse from going back into the gutters and also minimize human involvement. We created a device that would move along the edge of the gutters, collect the rubbish, and dispose of it in a bin that is built in the device. At the end of the process, the rubbish would be collected and properly disposed of.
We created a prototype of this device using cardboards to give a proper visualization of how it would look when brought to life. Human-centered design involves everyone, and this is something that I’ll never forget.
One of the things we learnt from UPSHIFT is marketing ourselves and brand by creating posters, business cards and signboards to increase the visibility of what we do.
Through the programme we have learned to be leaders, share ideas, and express ourselves more. Taking charge when no one wants to. Not to focus so much on what we’re unable to do but on our unique abilities.
Students from the Tetteh Ocloo School for the Deaf