HUMANIST VISIONS FOR AFRICA, GHANA
Report Workshop For Humanist and Secularly & Scientific Minded Human Rights Activistism
Date: Saturday 3rd April 2004
Time: 12pm prompt
Venue: Top of Bookshop University of Ghana, Legon
Number of participants: 50
Organisers: Ghana Humanist Youth Society under the auspices of the IHEYO
Purpose of Workshop
The purpose of the workshop was to introduce the International Humanist Ethical Youth Organization manifesto to Ghana and the forth coming Conference on Humanist Vision Of A Developed Africa and for possible participant to interact and exchange ideas on humanism and its significance to Africa.
The guests of honour
The invited Guest and Speakers were drawn from all sectors of the Ghanaian Society and men who have distinguished themselves in the field of Advocacy and volunteerism. Almost all the guests and speakers invited for the workshop turned up and were very influential in making the workshop a success as they engage participants who arrived early in discussion while away time while they waited for participant to take their seat.
In all about 50 participants and observers turn up although I must say they arrived late which delayed the start up of the workshop. Most of the participants were impressed with the orderly manner. The workshop was organized though in a short notice. Participants expressed optimism about the whole workshop before it got under and stressed after the workshop, that they organize more of such workshop.
The first ever workshop in Ghana on Humanist Vision Of A Developed Africa, Ghana under the auspices of International Humanist Ethical Youth Organization (IHEYO) got underway at exactly 12pm due to the late arrival of participant and the desire of organizers to have as many participant as possible.
The welcome address was delivered by the President of Ghana Humanist Society Mr. Bossman Boakye who expressed his gratefulness to the speakers and participants for responding positive to the workshop though a short notice and thanked them for their sense of humanism.
Introduction of Chairperson
Miss Berlinda Sarpong a student of the University of Ghana introduced the chairman Mr. Bright Esifie Kumi who accepted the post of chairmanship by thanking the organizers for the confidence they have repose in him by choosing him as the chairman for the occasion.
The chairman after his induction into the post as chairmanship invited the President of Ghana Humanist Youth Society (GHYS) Mr. Bossman Boakye to give the opening address for which he stressed on the important role humanism is to the people of Africa and work of International Humanist Ethical Youth Organization by saying the organization has brought the sense of identity to people, community, society and nations. And call on all the participants to join forces to make the dream of IHYO vision of a Developed Africa a reality. He went on to say that this workshop is the first of its kind and that there is more to follow.
Volunteerism for Development
The chairman invited Mr. Rashid Zuberu (Focal Point Coordinator for United African Network of Young Peace builders, UNOY & ANYP in Ghana) after opening address.
Mr. Zuberu thanked the organizers for putting up the workshop ahead of the conference in Uganda before proceeding to give his speech. In his speech he remarked that volunteerism brings a lot to individuals, society and nations. He further went on to give empirical evidence of the importance of volunteerism in economic sense as he stated that in the United States volunteerism generates 9 million full time jobs and up 225 billion, while in Canada, it generated 578,000 jobs and 11 billion.
He stressed on the various activities that volunteers are engage in including democratisation, immunization, environmental action, promotion of human right. He touched on the fact that volunteerism can be a remedy for massive borrowing by developing countries. He said the 20th Century has demonstrated that with invention and igniting it is possible to extend access to every resource of the community to the physical, social and cultural environments, transportation, information, technology, justice employment etc.
He went on, in the 21st century we must extend this access from the few to the many, dismantling all environmental, electronics and attitudinal barriers to full inclusion in Community life, with that access he remarked, can come the stimulation of participation and leadership, the warmth of fellowship, the glorious of shared affection, and the beauties of the earth and universe. He added by saying there is no development if it is not from all and for all.
Speech by Yemi Johnson
Mr. Yemi Johnson who was the special guest of honour and Secretary General of International Humanist And Ethical Youth Organization (IHEYO) presented a speech on behalf of Gea Meijers President of IHEYO.
In the speech the President expressed her thankfulness for the workshop and the great enthusiasm in Ghanaian participants. From her speech she touched on humanism, as been the core set of thoughts that gives a person a good context for developing ones life view on the personal and on the societal level. The speech also touched on the importance of freedom of choice and said humanists have been from the beginning of the development of UN, UNESCO and the Universal Declaration of Human rights.
The speech elaborated on the IHEYO as an international network of young humanist. Stressing that it has collaboration ranging from Europe, Africa, USA, Asia and South America, and said that the conference and other activities is aimed at stimulating humanism in Africa.
The speech thanked all those who made the workshop a reality.
Mr. Yemi Johnson the Secretary General of IHEYO was the last to speak and he touched on HUMANISM, VOLUNTEERING AND AFRICAN EXISTENTIAL PREDICAMENT
After his presentations, participants asked questions which were centred on how Humanist Visions exposed in the various Manifestoes and Declarations relates to Africa Development and how these visions can be achieved. It was agreed that things could only get better if everyone can decide to volunteer part of their time to bring about noticeable changes in the world. A campaign emanated from the conference.
Participants at the conference agreed that:
- Religion and State must be separated so as to individuals the opportunity to develop their full potentials without lets and hindrances in Africa.
- That INTOLERANCE in all its ramifications must be shunned in order to bring about the much-needed change in Africa. And that Ethnic Instigated violence (such as the Rwanda genocide) and Political Violence must be rejected by all Africans.
- That Democracy must be protected with every positive weapons possible without resulting to war.
- That the rampaging youth unemployment in Africa must be tackled headlong with a visionary Youth Development and Youth Empowerment Policies all over Africa.
- That Information and Communications Technology should be handled by African leaders so as to bridge the widened technological divide between African Youths and their counterparts all over the world.
- That we declare our UNALLOYED support for the UN Millennium Development Goals and New Partnership For Africa' Development as a viable possible panacea to make AFRICA, the cradle of world civilization, great again.
- We hereby resolve that VOLUNTEERISM will be a great force to be reckoning with if Africa will ever achieve the much-craved greatness.
The above resolutions were later turned into handbills with which a round the University Campaign was carried out.
Participants had a discussion on NEPAD and MDGs. The discussion was basically on how /what the African youths (and ECOWAS Youths in particular) can do to ensure the success of the visions of the two documents.
The chairman who was enlightened by the various speech from the speakers, expressed his appreciation by saying he is from now on going to volunteers his time and energy in pushing the humanist manifesto forward and that the organisers for inviting him to the workshop. He pleaded with the Secretary General to help organise more of such workshop in Ghana. He thanked all for coming.
Votes of Thanks
The votes of thanks was delivered by Miss Eunice Lawer of the INTERNATIONAL YOUTH AND SYUDENTS FOUNDATION (ISEF), who thanked the various speakers who were all youth for taking time from their busy schedules to honour the invitation to the workshop.
She thanked the organisers of the workshop for the hard work, zeal and initiative spirit to make the workshop a reality and a success.
The workshop finally came to an end at exactly 2:30 pm local time after a peace song was sung which goes like:
If You Believe In Peace
Join Us Now
If you believe in love
Join Us Now
If You Believe In Unity
Join Us Now
Together We Can Create A Better World
Kwame Anane Frempong
(Interim Secretary General)
Ghana Humanist Society
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