CHEVENING LEADERSHIP ESSAYChevening is looking for individuals who will be future leaders or influencers in their home countries. Explain how you meet this requirement, using clear examples of your own leadership and influencing skills to support your answer.I probably have passed the word count and would appreciate any deductions too.
Leaders have a strong influence on people's lives, they can make their lives better or worse, destroy poverty or make people poor. September 2017 came by and I was getting close to my 13th week being on Balloon Ventures ICS programme. Planning a very impactful "action at home" got me thinking and thoughts of what to do became a nightmare. On ICS, I worked with entrepreneurs whose businesses were in agricultural development and the zeal and passion they exude in their business directed my attention to undertaking an "action at home" that centered on agriculture. Quickly, my attention was directed to how orphanages feed.
I realized that many orphanage homes in Ghana relied heavily on inconsistent seasonal donations and this forces them to choose between feeding their children a balanced meal, supporting their education or employing sufficient number of caretakers. As a result, children in these homes feed on starch-based diets with little or no protein and other nutrients and have higher rates of malnutrition than their counterparts. To add, orphanages are often overlooked as places for the implementation of any kind of solution. Through collaborating with local authorities, NGO's and volunteers from University of Ghana School of Agriculture, Agri-Help was born. This initiative sought to revive the passion of agriculture in orphanages by developing, offering education and skills in urban agricultural practice and establishment of farms to help rural orphanages grow their own food and reduce the over reliance on seasonal donations. We want to look beyond occasional donations ensuring sustainable food production in local orphanages fulfilling SDG 2 and indirectly helping to eradicate poverty whilst ensuring good health and wellbeing.
Given the brilliant idea, there was the problem of funding. Together with the leaders of partner organizations, we divided the volunteers into teams with the task of raising funds and also gather donation materials. I led the fund-raising and projects team. By the two months end period, we had passed the GHC 7,500.00 set target. We did this by adopting a number of strategies. For example, explaining the projects to students in their lecture halls to solicit donations, negotiate with local authorities for farm lands and meeting company executives to discuss sponsorship deals ranging from farm inputs, feeds and money.
The results were 300kg and 250kg of cassava and maize yearly as well as 75kg, 96kg, and 50kg of pepper, okra, cabbages, carrots and lettuce quarterly. We also had 4500 pieces of Tilapia every six months. Overall, the project directly impacted over 540 youths and 78 children, enabling them eat balanced meals as well as teach 3 rural orphanages to take responsibility and play an active role in feeding their children balanced meals, inspiring other homes to do same. From having the project in the homes, the children did not only learn about urban agriculture but understood the connection between the farm and the plate, ensuring that these orphans are equipped with the skills and knowledge in urban agriculture, becoming independent at adulthood.