By Lolo Amevinya
First cohort of Be-Better Mentorship Programme with founder
Ask any teenage girl in a random government junior high school in Savelugu or Tamale what she wants to become in future and you may, unfortunately, be hit with the popular clause; "I don't know"; a genuine response of ignorance to future aspirations. Many teenagers all over Ghana are consistently making wrong decisions, succumbing to crime and taking steps leading to their peril yet very little is being done about this. Every nation will thrive on the shoulders of the youth of its country. If the young generation is trained and well equipped to take up the mantle to lead our nations into the future, nations will gain more relevance and have significant impact. Among the variegated sectors of providing the holistic development we crave for our youth, is the area of Mentorship. Unfortunately, much has not been done to ensure that young people are effectively mentored in Ghana. Mentoring is essential to the growth and development of a person as it contributes immensely to positive mental framing and building values.
Miss Yvonne Peters Asamoning, Cofounder of Sanatio Foundation and Girls Education Officer of Create Change has chosen to address this major problem through the Be-Better Mentorship Programme.
Yvonne Peters, Founder of the Be-Better Mentorship Programme - https://m.facebook.com/yvonne.peters.9843?fref=nf
Miss Yvonne Peters Asamoning runs the Be Better Mentorship Program in response to what she describes as the lack of an organized and structured platform through which teenagers can express the challenges they face, build confidence and develop effective leadership skills. In an exclusive interview with Yvonne, she said; "Growing up, apart from my parents and some teachers, I did not have the opportunity to interact with mentors or people who could guide me in the paths they had already taken. This program is my way of helping others, especially teens in rural communities, in ways I needed to be guided when I was their age."
Yvonne leading a mentorship session
Amidst the daunting task of preparing an appropriate curriculum and structure for the course, the Be Better Mentorship Program commenced in 2019 with a few teenage girls who showed interest in being mentored and taught. The program has not received any monetary support from anyone. However, Yvonne hinted that once she identified her target group she took a leap of faith to start. She has received enormous support from people making recommendations and serving as mentors. The first cohort of participants graduated in August 2019. The second cohort of teenagers has been recruited with several teenage boys included in the program. The impact of this mentorship programme reflects the great need for mentorship in educating a teenager. The girls who graduated from the first cohort speak more confidently, believe in their self-worth, have a positive self-image, and generally have their life trajectories positively altered.
First cohort posed with Yvonne after graduation.
When asked about challenges she has faced while ensuring the smooth running of the Be Better Mentorship Program, Miss Yvonne thought for a second and responded. She said; "One key challenge is the dependency culture which has been created in most rural communities by non-profits. It is difficult to get active participation in programs of this nature without any form of hand-outs. I’m currently trying to ensure that participants in this program take responsibility for resources and learning materials they will need during the weeks that they will be undergoing mentoring."
Speaking to one of the mentees of the program, a young teenage girl, Miss Avio Elizabeth, she said; " I have learnt so much from this mentorship program. One of its highlights is the impact it has had on my self-confidence and self-worth. I am grateful for Miss Yvonne. I hope the program expands to reach other boys and girls in the whole country."
A mentee, Benedicta, awarded a certificate upon completion
Plans are being put in place to expand the program to roll out in some private schools. Yvonne hinted that the module will however not run for free because the idea is to feed the funds generated into the free program for less privileged teenagers in rural areas.
Group mentorship session at the Kalpohin library
In a final word with Miss Yvonne, she shared a profound piece of counsel to young leaders from across the globe. She said; "identify the impact you want to make as it aligns with your values as an individual. When you take initiatives that stems from a place of passion, something true to who you are, it’s easy to make all the sacrifices and put in the hard work. Even without financial gains, you are still motivated to make the needed impact in society." With innovative programs such as the Be-Better Mentorship Program that seeks to address delicate issues that eat into the development of the next generation of the country, we can be hopeful that things will get better for Ghana. Kudos to Miss Yvonne Peters Asamoning and other young leaders leading the movement of change in Ghana and the world over.
All pictures from Yvonne Peters Asamoning, founder of the Be-Better Mentorship Program