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Kumasi Youth Leadership Summit and Student Art Workshop

Conduct diplomacy simulations in classrooms culminating in a youth leadership summit & art workshop in Kumasi, Ghana

Photo of Michael Robinson
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The initial Kumasi Student Art Workshop is scheduled for July 2018 and will be hosted at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) High School. We are inviting 3 students per school from up to six schools to attend.  One teacher from each school will also participate so they can share techniques learned with other students in their schools. 

We want to expand future art workshops to include year-long diplomacy simulations with Kumasi area high schools.  Sister Cities International uses US Diplomacy Center simulations in their summer Youth Leadership Summit which also features an art showcase.  Because the Kumasi students cannot travel to the US for this summit, we would like to bring a summit to them and introduce diplomacy techniques as well as new marketable art techniques to them.  

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Grow Foundation For Ghana (GFFG) asked Kumasi artist / educator BON to solicit art from Kumasi high schools for both the GFFG annual student art calendar & the US-based Sister Cities International (SCI) art showcase. A Kumasi student won the SCI art contest grand prize in 2016, & another one placed as a finalist in 2017. The art showcase is a highlight of SCI’s annual youth leadership summit. The SCI summit also includes US Diplomacy Center simulations intended to teach students diplomacy & peacekeeping techniques. Although some international students attend the summit, financial constraints & the event’s timing prevent Kumasi students from attending. Given the quality of Kumasi submissions & students’ reflections on the art showcase themes, GFFG collaborated with several artists / educators from both the US & Kumasi to plan a 2018 Kumasi Student Art Workshop. The workshop is scheduled for July 2018 at KNUST High School. The 2 students who won SCI’s art contest attended KNUST High School. Dr. Eric Appau-Asante of KNUST's College of Art is coordinating workshop details in Kumasi. Teachers from four high schools select students with promising artistic talent to attend. The workshop introduces students to new techniques that can expand their marketable skills as future artists / educators. 2018 will feature digital photography. Unfortunately violence has erupted among Kumasi student groups at extracurricular events. Violence between religious groups also occurs. 2018 workshop students & teachers will learn diplomacy & artistic techniques & commit to training future student cohorts. Our planning committee sees this as an opportunity to develop both peace & prosperity skills within this talented community. We see this workshop as a vehicle to support United Nations Sustainable Development Goals related to work & economic growth in Ghana. We hope that the project leads to the transformation that GFFG values & hopes to continue in Ghana.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Our direct beneficiaries are Kumasi area high school students and Kumasi student artists from four identified schools. The following is a list of schools that will participate in the 2018 workshop: Kumasi High School KNUST High School St Louis High School Ahmadiyya High School Indirect beneficiaries are the Kumasi citizens. More people becoming familiar with peacekeeping and negotiating tactics can reduce overall area violence.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Our idea is unique in that it brings a program with proven US success to a community where residents cannot physically come to the US. Sister Cities International currently holds a Youth Leadership Summit & Art Showcase every summer. Whereas the US summit invites students from around the country & world to its venue, this idea creates a program where the activities are brought to a member Sister City. The uniqueness of the idea also lies in the 'train the trainer' approach where students & teachers work along side each other to plan future leadership summits & art workshops. Another unique aspect is that the US Diplomacy Center tools are free & downloadable so we can continuously provide the Kumasi community with the necessary tools & adapt them to the Kumasi community's needs & situations.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL) Through productive partnerships with established capacity-building organizations, Grow Foundation For Ghana (GFFG) will positively impact the lives of Ghanaians by supporting initiatives that: increase and enhance formal and vocational education opportunities; improve access to basic healthcare for all; and help communities build a better tomorrow.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Two students from Kumasi have been recognized by SCI for their artwork. However many talented Kumasi students submitted work and were required to state their inspiration for their submissions. Their works & their inspiration statements were thoughtful & revealed a level of global awareness that spoke to our hearts in such a way that we wanted to encourage them. Although not wealthy in materials terms, Kumasi students are wealthy in art skills and a desire to be responsible global citizens.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Peacekeeping efforts for youth in Kumasi can be difficult at extracurricular activities. Some schools have been historically known for their militancy. When students attend and compete in sporting events against these schools, both sides frequently bring weapons resulting in unrest in public venues and in communities in which they live. There are also conflicts due to religious differences. Recently unrest broke out between Christian & Muslim sects related to ideology with some temples being damaged and concern arising within communities. For many years Kumasi relied on agriculture as a chief economic means. However in recent years, service opportunities have grown. Prosperity related to services in the Kumasi area is influenced by training in vocational and technical schools, school-based apprenticeships, and workshop-based apprenticeships. Kumasi's art culture has been grouped in the following categories: traditional, new functional, urban, international, and extinct.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Sala Sweet, GFFG co-founder, is working with Seattle, Washington artists and venues to provide additional support for us including Seattle-based artist / educator Erin Goodwin-Guerroro travelling to Ghana to teach screen printing in 2019. In addition, BON, Dr. Appau-Asante, and the four art teachers and head masters/ mistresses from the four Kumasi schools are partnering with us on the project. We will also involve social studies and civics classes in the diplomacy simulations. Winston-Salem. NC and Kumasi, Ghana are sister cities in the Sister Cities International program. The Winston-Salem Sister Cities Ghana subcommittee will also work with us on the project.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Kumasi has a thriving artistic community with artisans working in textiles & weaving, photography, painting, sculpting, signage, & commercial advertising. Kumasi also has strong education support with primary and secondary schools and universities. A Christian school & a Muslim school are among the 4 workshop schools. Another school is identified as militant. We can initiate some conflict resolution tactics with youth impacted by violence within their communities.

Geographic Focus

Specifically Kumasi. Ghana. The model is replicable and could be tested in other locations.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

24 months to 36 months are needed to complete the idea. The 2018 workshop will be a pilot with 4 schools, 8 students, & 4 teachers participating. We will increase the number of schools leading up to the 2019 Workshop & evaluate the 'train the trainer' approach. We will continue the simulations during the school year & implement necessary changes based on feedback for the next year's Workshop. During the school year we will provide diplomacy & art training to the school community at large.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Attachments (4)

Samuel Antwi displays Together As One.jpg

Samuel Antwi holds his piece, "Together As One" at a KNUST high school celebration. Samuel was very excited to win the $1,000 award. He planned to use the funds to further his education and to purchase art supplies.

July 2016 Samuel's Together As One on Display in Washington DC.JPG

Samuel Antwi's "Together As One" on display at Sister Cities International Youth Leadership Summit in Washington, DC (July 2016).

We're Going Places.jpg

In 2017 Abrefa Kleinheinz submitted “Exploring Around the Universe.” Abrefa attends KNUST Senior High School. Abrefa’s piece won a finalist position in the 2017 Student Art Competition.

2017 Kumasi Student Art Calendar submissions.jpg

Student art submitted and used for various months in the 2017 Student Art Calendar. These are among the many pieces submitted.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Gina van der Ploeg

Hello everyone =)

I really enjoyed reading your proposal. I work with Our Workshop and we are communal art and design workshop so we also believe hugely in the therapeutic and beneficial environment of art making! We focus quite a lot of collaboration as a way to teach and learn not only making-skills but compassion and tolerance. There is not enough art and design making in schools all over Africa, it is always one of the first things to be compromised and it's very encouraging that you have such a dedicated team who are doing something about it in Kumasi.

All the best of luck!

Photo of Michael Robinson

We thank you for the encouraging words. I looked at Our Workshop and am impressed with the work you do as well!