Ghana: Student and Youth Travel Organization (SYTO)
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Student and Youth Travel Organization (SYTO) is a non-profit and non-governmental African organization founded, in Ghana, by Dr. Edmund Prempeh in 1994.. Its philosophy and framework have since been adopted in five other countries: Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa. SYTO Ghana is dedicated to the promotion of in-depth intercultural interaction among youth and students to assist them in developing skills for living in today’s interdependent world. It strives to promote Africa as a source of knowledge and to place Africa in a more prominent position in global affairs, by facilitating various intercultural exchange programs such as community volunteers, cultural home stay and linguistic immersion, student work abroad, internships, educational travel and excursion and academic placement within various well recognized schools, colleges and universities worldwide.
SYTO Ghana’s major programs include “outbound” programs such as the Student Work Abroad Program (SWAP), SYTO Clubs in second cycle and tertiary institutions, and Academic Placements, Opportunity Education Programs. The organization also coordinates the placement of individual volunteers and youth groups, and offers summer camps for kids outside of Ghana.
In partnership with Canada World Youth
CWY and SYTO Ghana work in partnership through the Youth Leaders in Action program and Global Learner. Two development projects are being implemented through this partnership: one of them focuses on the environment in the community of Kazigo, and the other on health in the communities of Saltpond and Otuam.
Results in Kazigo
This group of youth promotes awareness about the environment as well as reforestation via the planting of mango seedlings and shea nuts (indigenous tree species). Reforestation efforts involve other youth from the community to assist with reforestation activities:
- Over 10,000 trees planted on ten acres of land
- Stakeholders have become more conscious of the need to protect the environment
- Community members are benefiting from relationships with the World Food Programme, providing food to the youth and women who work on the nursery and plantation in the Kazigo community.
- Kazigo is now recognized in the Upper East Region as an environmentally-conscious community and, through this development project, is supporting the implementation of government policy on climate change which seeks to reforest degraded land.
Results in Saltpond and Otuam
Saltpond: This project works to improve the community’s sanitation standards and capacity for disease prevention by creating school programs to educate children in the community on malaria prevention. Activities include clearing choked gutters to prevent mosquitoes from getting into the water system. Also, youth are organizing youth-friendly activities such as football games to meet many new youth and campaign together against malaria.
Otuam: By doing house to house and community outreach, as well as community workshops, this group of youth focuses their work on malaria awareness and prevention with a particular focus on women, children and youth.
- 70% increased awareness of the causes and prevention of malaria and other diseases in the project communities
- Increase of 40% over the previous figures in the use of insecticide-treated bed nets in the community according to the figures available at the health office and an increased understanding of the program.
Youth Leaders Initiative
- 40 youth are involved, ten of which were given a day’s skills and development training in proposal design and writing.
- In Kazigo, eleven youth were involved in setting up a nursery and watering the seedlings, fencing the nursery, transplanting seedlings and creating a fire belt.
- In Saltpond and Otuam, 29 youth carried out awareness raising activities on malaria, designed and produced flyers on malaria education and carried out clean-up campaigns.
Institutional capacity building
- Improved the efficient logistics and infrastructure within the organization
- Improved human resources policies and procedures
- Improved website with more regular updates, greater team work, complementarities and planning, assisting with increased efficiency and effectiveness of project delivery
- Strengthened relationships with stakeholders including traditional rulers, the Department of Social Welfare, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forestry Commission of Ghana, and the Ghana Education Service.
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