Yesterday, we celebrated radio, one of the most important means of communication in our times. It is the only means of entertainment and information in some places. Recently, I (Michael Boampong aka M.B.) met with Curious Minds, a Ghana-based youth development organization, to learn about their radio show, “Gems of Our Time,” and how radio plays a role even in today’s digital age.
Imagine yourself living in Uganda, a landlocked country in East Africa, where more than 14 million people eat bananas almost daily. In fact, as a resident in Uganda, chances are you and everyone you know is consuming 0.7 kg of bananas per day. Citizens of no other country in the world eat more bananas than Ugandans.
When Kate Kiguru was growing up in a small village in Kenya, she was brought up like a boy. It wasn’t by design.
Earlier this year, the World Bank got a taste of what African youth can bring to the table. I was one of 30,000 Twitter users participating in the #iwant2work4africa campaign. For months, we voiced our passion for Africa while shoehorning our qualifications to work for the continent, all in 140 characters.
Photo: Arne Hoel / The World Bank
“How can we mitigate the risks that youth migration brings while enhancing its development potential?”
Kelvin Doe found that batteries were too expensive for a project he was working on in 2009. He used acid, soda, and metal parts that he found in trash bins in his neighborhood to build his own battery. Doe, then a 13-year-old from Sierra Leone, constructed a generator to light his home and operate an FM radio station that he built. He now employs his friends at the radio station.
Ever wonder how a World Bank flagship report gets written? A team of experts drafts an outline and shares it with stakeholders for their comments, suggestions and inputs. Based on this feedback, the team drafts the report and shares the draft for further comment, before publishing the final draft.
Today, we are proposing to write our flagship report on youth employment in Africa differently. We are launching a wiki platform and inviting the world to participate in the writing of the report. The wiki contains the preliminary outline which you can revise and rewrite. I emphasize that the outline is preliminary; it contains assertions that may not be borne out by further analysis (I know because I wrote some of them). So please add to, subtract from and edit the outline.
Why are we doing this? First, the topic of youth employment in Africa is so important that we need to engage as many people as possible in finding solutions. And second, young people are so tech-savvy that this may be a way of harnessing that talent and energy.
As you can imagine, the idea of writing a report on a wiki platform raised some questions, even from my teammates ("if you needed brain surgery, would you crowd source that too?"). But we decided that the benefits outweigh the risks.
And if we succeed in collaborating with a large number of people, we could call it the world's development report.