Mr John Alexander Ackon, Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has urged the youth to be ambitious and proactive in exploring new ideas to address challenges in the lives of children.


?We need to think and act differently to respond to a fast-changing world and as such we need simple, innovative solutions to nurture local ideas and transform them into positive realities for national development,? he said.

The Minister said this at the launch of iIMAGINEghana, a social innovators challenge for children in Accra.

The project is organized by Reach for Change and supported by the European Union (EU) and the United Nation Children?s Fund (UNICEF).

The iIMAGINEghana is a competition initiated to improve the lives of children with the goal of supporting up to 10 local social entrepreneurs and bring their ideas to life through financial support from UNICEF and EU and mentorship through Reach for Change.

Mr Ackon said fundamental improvement had been recorded in key areas such as enrolment in primary school and access to preventive healthcare.

He said the country was becoming increasingly unequal and that the benefits of economic growth and poverty reduction were not equally distributed and this undermines progress of the country.

Mr Ackon urged the youth to be creative in innovating new ideas and technologies to tackle critical challenges to the development of the country and appealed to them to continue with their efforts in finding effective solutions to giving people access to health care, education and clean water.

Mr William Hanna, Head of EU in Ghana, said human rights were at the centre of the Union?s development cooperation and its strategy in Ghana identifies child rights as one of its priorities.

He said the 2009 Treaty on EU contained an explicit commitment to protect and promote the rights of the child and in 2011, the EU announced the promotion of the rights of the child as one of its three foreign policy priorities.

Ms Susan Ngongi, UNICEF Representative in Ghana, said the initiative was relevant in protecting the rights of children, adding that a lot of progress had been made in the course of the last decade where children today are healthier, safer and more educated than before.

Mrs Amma Lartey, Regional Director for Africa, Reach for Change, said the competition involved 10 social entrepreneurs who would receive support to grow their ideas into a sustainable business.

She said the ideas could come from either for profit or non-profit initiatives working to improve children?s lives and create social impact in areas of education, child protection, health and nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene and voice and youth participation.


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