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Opinions of Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Columnist: Chris Konney

Gideon Mensah-Commey the brain behind GYEM

Gideon Mensah-Commey Gideon Mensah-Commey

“Gideon Mensah-Commey is an environmental activist and renewable energy entrepreneur who encourages youth in Ghana to promote environmental sustainability and clean energy through innovative campaigns”.

That was how Gideon was described by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, during the announcement of the 2015 Community Solutions Leaders for the fifth edition of its Community Solutions Program (CSP).

Gideon, can best describe as the guy next door and a member of the 2015 Community Solutions Leaders who arrived in Washington a few weeks ago for the fifth edition of the Community Solutions Program (CSP), a fellowship program which connects community leaders from over thirty countries around the globe with like-minded organizations in the U.S.

For a period of four months, Gideon and his colleagues, will work hand in hand with their American colleagues on issues that affect communities from Turkey to Tanzania to Texas. From issues of domestic violence to youth work skills development to renewable energy, the Community Solutions leaders are passionate advocates and key players in their communities, who are ready to make the hard choices and be the change they want to see.

They will also through the Community Solutions Program engage in online leadership courses and expand their professional networks, making them better placed to address the development challenges in the various communities they find themselves upon their return.

Congratulations to the young man who I met sometime in 2006 during our days at the University Of Ghana as undergraduate students.

He had a passion for sports, student activism and writing lengthy and thought provoking articles which sought to challenge the status quo! He wasn’t political yet all campus political movement wanted to have him in their group.

Soon, we will become buddies, spending a better part of the evenings chatting on his balcony after cooking our usual meal, rice with “shito” or stew. Ratty, as he was popularly known on campus, was down to earth, easy going and ensured people felt comfortable around him anytime.

His love to serve his community and people won him a slot in the British Council sponsored project, Belongings, which saw him joining other young people from the rest of Africa spend three months in the United Kingdom where they engaged in community projects and other educational sessions.

After graduating from the premier university, University of Ghana and upon completion of the nine months mandatory national service, he founded the Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM), a youth led environmental group whose work focuses on leading and engaging youth in promoting environmental sustainability and clean energy through innovative campaigns and actions that influence change in their communities.

Gideon is a Climate Reality Leader personally trained by former US Vice President Al Gore to educate the public on the science of climate change, effects/impacts and possible solutions.

He also runs a solar start-up in Ghana called ‘Solar People’, with the vision of deploying solar lighting solutions to rural and off-grid communities.

Before leaving for the United States of America, an elated Gideon couldn’t hide his joy about the opportunity to network with other young great minds and also tap into the knowledge of some of the world renowned experts in renewable energy, who are scheduled to serve as resource persons for the Community Solutions Program.

Currently a Fellow in Vermont at the international organization 350.org under the Community Solutions Program, Gideon hope to become an agent of change to lead a paradigm shift amongst young people and the country as a whole. Yes he can!