SPRINGBOARD PARTNERS TWO INSTITUTIONS TO LAUNCH COVID-19 RECOVERY PROGRAMME -AIMS TO SUPPORT 692,000 YOUNG PEOPLE
THE Springboard Road Show Foundation, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and Solidaridad has launched the COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Programme (CoRe), with the aim of supporting over 692,000 young people in the country.
The CoRe programme is an e-mentoring, e-coaching and e-counseling intervention aimed at equipping young people in Ghana with relevant skills to enable them to survive and thrive during and after the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The six-month programme, scheduled to run from June to November 2020, has local collaborators including the National Service Scheme, Ghana Psychological Association and Ghana National Association of the Deaf.
At the virtual launch of the programme on Springboard, Your Virtual University, the Executive Director of the Springboard Road Show, Mrs Comfort Ocran, said the programme would provide support to beneficiaries in areas such as building resilience, health awareness, and wellness and safety.
Others include building relevant workplace skills and job readiness for a post-pandemic era.
She said the programme would involve weekly coaching sessions in English and Ghanaian languages to be delivered on radio as well as online.
Importance of the programme
Mrs Ocran said the programme was meant to deal with the socio-economic impact in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is probably the biggest disruption to our way of life in living history,” she stated.
She said the negative impact of the pandemic cut across social, cultural, psychological, economic, financial and every other aspect of human life, hence the need to introduce such a programme to support the young ones.
“The World Bank has forecasted that 23 million Africans might be pushed into extreme poverty as a result of this pandemic. In Ghana, I know there are many people who have lost their jobs, businesses that have scaled down of even closed down and there have been other fallouts which have led to stress, anxiety and fear among many,” she explained.
Mrs Ocran said the programme would be targeting two main beneficiaries - direct beneficiaries and indirect beneficiaries.
“The direct beneficiaries are the over 100,000 national service personnel and individuals who have undergone the Mastercard Foundation sponsored YIEDIE programme in various areas of construction in the past five years. Additionally, we have MASO Programme beneficiaries who were trained in agribusiness, especially in the cocoa sector.
“The indirect beneficiaries are the patrons of the Virtual University, the Road Show and other Springboard interventions over the years,” she noted.
Need to work together
The Regional Director, West, Central and Northern Africa for MasterCard Foundation, Ms Nathalie Akon Gabala, on her part, said the COVID-19 pandemic presented an opportunity for all African governments and associations to unite and work together towards impactful and scalable solutions to respond to the urgent needs arising.
She said more importantly, it was necessary to support the young people who had been severely impacted by the pandemic.
“MasterCard Foundation has been working on the continent for over a decade to increase access to education and financial services; and in the wake of COVID-19, it is clear that we need to step up our game on the continent to address the pandemic.
“Our aim is to create dignified work for young people and we have an objective of creating 30 million jobs for young women and young Africans over the next 10 years,” she stated.
She said the foundation also had an aim of keeping the voices of young people at the centre of any work and programme they implemented.
“Young people should be able to navigate the crisis and find the resources that they need. They should be equipped to discover new skills and emerge stronger and better.
“We all believe that this pandemic will have a long tail and it’s not over yet. We might even have to face a similar crisis again and we want the young people to be able to navigate it with more confidence when it comes,” she noted.
The acting Country Director of Solidaridad, Mr Bossman Owusu, said the organisation believed in developing sustainable solutions to improve supply chains.
“We have had some work under the next generation youth cocoa programme where we are bringing sustainable practice to bear in order to improve the situation for young people and encourage them to enter into agriculture and remain in it.
“We are mindful that with the onset of COVID-19, many of our young people who hitherto would receive information on agric production, as well as extension services may be limited now because of the restrictions on movement, and our young people are so much concerned about what happens to what they have put into the production.”
“It gets to that point where we need to provide that counselling to help them to be able to cope with the stress and anxiety that has been brought by COVID-19. The CoRe programme, therefore, has the back of all young people who have put in very great efforts to support agriculture,” he explained.