More than 80 young people in the Western Regional town of Agona Nkwanta have benefitted from a day’s learning and networking event aimed at building their capacity.

The event was aimed at enabling them to be job-ready and well placed to take advantage of opportunities around them.

Barcamp Ahanta, organized by One Ayindaa, a development coalition and the GhanaThink Foundation with support from Vokacom Ghana Limited is the first in the series of events to connect young people in the resource-rich Western Region to mentors who would help them grow.

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Joy News’ journalist Justice Baidoo at the maiden edition at Agona Ahanta said young people should erase the notion that being employed by government is the only way to generate income.

“There is so much potential here in Ahanta that many of us here can take advantage of and build our own small businesses, social enterprises and also create jobs not just for ourselves but for others as well,” he said.

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The Western Region is one of Ghana’s richest in natural resource endowments; gold, cocoa, crude oil, and manganese.

Despite these resources, there still remains high levels of discontent in the region over the lack of jobs and opportunities for young people and graduates- especially those who live close to these natural resources.

While several young people continue to go to school and get the needed training, there still, is a gap between graduates and the job market. This forces many such young people to leave the region in search of so-called greener pastures elsewhere.

“We must do away with the old order of going to school, completing and waiting that you will get employed by the government or by someone else because it is really not entirely true in this era,” he added

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Barcamp Ghana is a program initiated by Ghana Think Foundation in December 2008.

It seeks to bring people particularly the youth together to connect and network with each other by sharing ideas, discussing interests, and devise ways of adding value to their lives to positively impact their various societies.

“I believe we must learn wherever we find ourselves. And I believe I have been blessed for coming to this event. I must admit I have learnt a lot today and I pray it will impact my life,” a participant told Joy News.

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So far, 72 Barcamps have been organised within the country including in Takoradi, Accra, Cape Coast, Tema amongst others and now BarcampAhanta.

Mr Baidoo who doubles as the convener of the forum was hopeful that the newly initiated networking platform would groom the people to enhance their capabilities beyond what they learn at school.

“I think that bit by bit this would contribute to the building of a new Ahanta West that young people are empowered and are in a position to be able to take them forward and take Ahanta forward,” he stated.

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Vokacom Ghana Limited, a Ghanaian firm that specializes in software development and big data management to improve the IT services of their clients supported the event.

The event brought together about 10 mentees to share their success stories to empower youth from the 123 communities of the municipal, on how to identify opportunities and effectively utilise them as a source of income.

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An Agribusiness Entrepreneur and Development Expert, Dr Moses Ogoe advised the youth to exercise patience as they climb the ladder to success.

“The rush to be somebody in Ghana is killing us too much in this country,” he emphasised.

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Public Relations and Communications Officer at Electricity Company of Ghana, Nana KwesiCoomson in his interaction with participants said Western Region is one of the resourceful regions and urged citizens of the region to brand that as it can create more opportunities for themselves.

“We should not be like crabs in a bucket, where we will be pulling each other down but we must learn to sell ourselves well to others,” he said.

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Award-winning Health Blogger and Mental Health Nurse Kobby Blay also told the youth of Ahanta to make good use of social media.

“You spend several hours on social media each day, so if you post something about your business each day, imagine what you can achieve,” he said.

Mr Blay added that it was the most affordable means of advertisement that must be exploited particularly people starting a business.

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