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Opinions of Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Columnist: Akpah Prince

The Journey So Far With Prosper Dzitse

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to interview a young achiever in his home. He was a student and passionately running the Institute of Mentorship and Leadership. During this interview, he declared his intention of running for a national student leadership position.

Today Prosper Dzitse is the President-elect of the National Union of Ghana Students.

Just take a peep through this, to know more about H.E. Prosper Dzitse.

Prince: Where and when were you born?

Prosper: I am a 1990 born from Tefle.

Prince: How did you start schooling?

Prosper: I started school at E.P basic school at Jasikan then to Lakeside Primary B at Dambai and Ebenezer preparatory School till JHS 2 before moving to Accra to continue at “Bandy Road Basic School at Adabraka. I gained admission into O’Relly SHS (School Prefect, Head Prefect, SRC president, regional SRC president for Greater Accra) for 4 years where I am currently in the University Of Ghana as a student and as same time running the Institute of leadership and mentorship.

Prince: What have being those achievements you’ve chalked in your academic journey?

Prosper: I do not see holding of positions as an achievement but rather a way of helping the society to them people champion their course. Aside that in SHS I was the only prefect who held same position for two years through elections.I played my role making sure illegal practices were not condoned, normal classes periods were not used for Extra classes, students were charged the right fees, students were disciplined for the right purposes, because I have always believe punishment does not reform people, the only thing it does is to cause pain. I adopted the method of counseling which worked very effectively in school and saved students even from being sacked from school. And I am very proud that the students we counseled who were are the verge of been sacked are doing great as footballers, an example of the young man featured In the Interplast advert playing the drum, and in school days, he could be referred to as one of the stubborn people and were at the verge of being sacked, today he is one of the chief drummers and I believe he will become a legend one day and I am glad I was part of that reform. In the life of my Senior High School, I happen to be the first person to become the regional SRC president of Greater Accra. Academic awards include; Best English Students in AMA.

Prince: It is inspiring that as a student, you are already into social entrepreneurship. What do you do?

Prosper: As a social entrepreneur I believe there are challenges that our society faces that we need to be able to work hard to be able to overcome those challenges. I do ask myself, we have all the resources that we have being talking about as Africans, but what at all are we lacking that we are not able to get value for the resources, get them exploited to the benefit of the ordinary person. In recent times, the people we have use corruption and bribery as excuses, but it is leadership that is the main problem. 

My main has able being to help raise quality and result oriented leaders for my generation, and country. And that I have being doing right from the basic school. At first I didn’t know what I was doing but along the line I realize this was what my calling was. I used to be a very good student as from Class 3 to JHS no one passes mein Exams, but when I got to SHS, things changed not because I didn’t want to perform, but I accesses my myself that I have being academically good but have not devoted myself to the development of humanity.

 I realized my calling was to raise leaders, mentor others for the betterment of our society, so in SHS my priorities became what I would be able to do to impact lives. I believed so well that people die twice; when the body dies and the second when the legacy also dies off. For that matter I make sure I develop those that I meet everyday, impact those people very well. As a social entrepreneur, I told myself that even though our challenges are caused by men, challenges have to be looked at as enemies of humanity. 

I see the enemies of our society which are hunger, poverty, inequality, diseases, discrimination,and injustice as the enemies of humanity. That is what I see we should commit ourselves into to help minimize in our society and having the belief that as I raise leaders and impact these values into them. We also have reps in other countries such as UK, Cambodia, Norway, Nigeria, Cameroon etc just to make sure we impact these values. 

We have 8 principal things that we engage in such as mentorship and leadership training, entrepreneurship development, career development and counseling, public and motivational speaking, human resource management, campaign strategizing as we believe that all these things come together to make the society. So as we impact these things into our people by helping them attain the values that would help the society surely we will be able to cause the change that we need.

Prince: What has being your inspiration and how did you strategize to reach this level?

Prosper: My inspirations come from God and my late parents. Because as a young boy, I do tell my parents, I want to become a medical doctor and they used to advise me that medicine was not my field because when they look at me and what my passion was towards people and the influence I had over my colleagues, my colleagues always want to be around me because when they have challenges, they will come to me for advise and that was at a very tender age. At first I taught all brilliant students must become a medical doctor and with my records in school my mind was certain on becoming a medical doctor because when I see doctors with their gown and stethoscope I admire them a lot. Also whiles going to SHS, even though my parents advised me, I still wanted to choose science but my uncle advised me to read a different course, and later had a dream I was reading business in the school I chose, so I decided to read business and it has being very helpful.

Prince: How has the journey being so far?

Prosper: They journey has being rough but it is worth it. Indeed there will always be difficulties because I have always said if there will be no difficulties there will be no need to have leaders. Because people know there are challenges, these are the reason the put you there to overcome on their behalf.Imagine everyone could wake up every day, get what he or she wants to eat, board car and go anywhere, why would they need someone to help them make decisions. Resources have always being an issue; we need resources to be able to embark on our activities.

 This ogranisation is run like an NGO, so the monies I have made from the books that I publish have being channeled into the organisation, doing field programs. Because our ogranisation is the first mentorship organisation in Ghana, people look at mentorship and come with lots of wrong guesses. We can’t wait for people to make mistakes that others made in the past, why don’t we rather learn from the mistakes that others made and then move on in our lives. So people buy into the idea of mentorship, people being able to makethemselves available for our programs, having the thought that there is a need for me to be mentored on what I want to become or the kind of life I want to live are some of the challenges. 

In the US, a whole month is dedicated to mentorship where the Whitehouse participates so in such a country they’ve advanced in mentorship programs so young people learn from those they want to be role modeled unlike Ghana where people think that we should wait to make mistakes before learning from them. Getting the right people for the right job, an ogranisation which can not be ran by an individual by me, I am the visioneer but it is important for me to impact that vision into other people so that they can carry on in my presence or absence. 

In other countries, we have people who are working for us there but the resources are not available for me to be able to go there and access the impacts they have being able to make so far for you to be able to know the level of contributionthey have being able to add to their society. Sometimes even though you talk to the mentees via Skype, they still want to meet you and I think that we have to understand that we have reached a level which we are in a technological world. 

In 2013, I travelled to almost all regionsin Ghana; just because people have organized programs and want to see you come and impact knowledge. Always I tell our mentees, these are the principal activities that we undertake, that are why we have our website to readily access information, so they justaccess themselves there, tell us their challenges and we take it from there.

Prince: How do you finance yourogranisation as a student?

Prosper: I was driven to publish my first book because I believe in could help so much in spreading the idea early as possible. And we are glad some of the copies are outside the country and people are making very good use of them. Aside that we virtually run this project from our own pocket especially the contributions from some of the executives.

Prince: Could you share with us some of the achievements you’ve chalked so far as an institution?

Prosper: Our achievements have being that of how best we should be able to advance our vision and we’ve being able to do that since 2012 when we officially registered our organisation. And also putting together our website so that people can be able to readily access information about us, raise as many leaders as we are doing now. In the various senior high schoolscampuses across the country we have mentees that are now prefects, and the various tertiary institutions and I am glad that at the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) level, we have people who have associated with us and teaching them how to plan their ideas towards the positions they want to hold and tell them facts about leadership.

Prince: What has being that response from other young people about the impacts you’ve made so far?

Prosper: There are lots of youths that have lost track and as I said some wanted to become something else but because of the cause they are reading, or read in SHS they thought that it has change their destiny are not proud of that. Our focus has always being to encourage them to discover themselves the more and tell them life is not about the course you read but rather what you are passionate about and what you are destined to do on this earth. Many of those who thought they’ve lost track have regained their hope and those who have not advanced their SHS we have impacted some knowledge in them.

Prince: Do you think Africa can be rebuilt through mentorship and leadership?

Prosper: I believe so much in that. My philosophy in life is that we have the solutions we seek because which ever challenge you identify in your society, I believe so well that we all have the individual capacities to be able to do something about those challenges. I believe if we drive into our people the fact that even though the government has a social contract with us we can be able to work as individuals to impact that level of knowledge in our society. 

We should be able to work as individuals to build Africa; Africa is our own, I believe so well that there is no dream Africa has actually beyond our reach. I believe so well that we can actually tell the Africa story in a better way that we have been doing. Other continents have challenges but the difference between us and them is they look at the solutions to those challenges and we sit down to rathercomplain about the challenges. As we gradually get there we can have stories to tell.

Prince: What are going to be your future contributions to making sure mentorship and leadership contribute to rebuilding Africa?

Prosper: What we intend to look at is to team up with other youth ogranisations which we’ve already started and now I have being appointed the Volta regional director for Council for Capacity Development I believe it will give us the needed opportunity to interact with other ogranisations both internationally and nationally to be able to build a common idea that would help the future we want to see. So future contributions would be to positively impact more and help others find meaning into their dreams and encourage as many youths as we can and encourage them that it is not over yet; the dream of Africa can be lived.

Prince: You have being nominated for the Cecilsons Africa awards, how do you feel and do you think you really deserve it?

Prosper: My aim has not being t o win an award any way, I am not doing it because I want to awarded for it, it is a calling and since it is a calling I would do anything to work for it with or without pay but let me thank Cecilsons Africa for nominating me for this particular award.

Prince: In the near future what are we seeing you do?

Prosper: I am still a student and hoping to hold lots of student leadership position on my campus, hoping to have interactions with many youths as I can, help them live their dreams. We are hoping our ogranisations will be able to organise national and international for a with other youth organisations as a team and have people that young people look so much to as mentors come together and help them project the idea talking about how they have being able to make it, their failure and success stories so that we can learn from them. I may be holding some national positions in the future that I cannot tell now (and he is now the President of the National Union of Ghanaian Students)

Prince: Who are the people that inspire and mentor you and your organisation?

Prosper: My inspiration is from God and late parents and from some people that I see and read about. Nelson Mandela is my role model;Charles Sam, Patrick Otieku Boadu, Emmanuel Dei Tumi too has being an inspiration. And my colleagues such as Jonathan Adzokpe, Komla Dumor, Sara Nana Yeboah, Jeremiah Buabeng, John Armah, Idea Prince; I have being inspired by their stories and acknowledge the strides they are making to improve lives.

Prince: Any acknowledgement to people who have helped you to reach this stage

Prosper: I acknowledge every youth group in the country, every youth of this continent and of our generation. Be it positively or negatively, we are doing well just that our negatives do not outrage the positive. My family has also given me great supports, Godwin Dzitse my elder brother, Victoria, William, George, Benedicta and other friends, and my team, Abigail, our Executive Secretary, Charity, Accountant, Nick, Brands Manager, John Charway, Executive Coordinator, Grace, Cameroonian Rep, Omorola Victoria, Nigeria Rep, and all those working on our behalf that I could not mention.

Prince: What are your Final Words to young people across Africa?

Prosper: I believe that we are the solutions we seek, I believe it is time we take our destinies into our own hands, time is far spent and we must not wait on anybody to determine for us what we must or not do with our lives. I want those who have lost hope that there is indeed a future for Africa but rather look the brighter side of life. Africa is not the continent of trouble makers; Africa is not the problem child of the world but rather the continent that has the youths full of energy to profile solutions to the challenges that confront them day in day out.

Thank You.

Akpah Prince

akpahprince@ymail.com