SPEECH DELIVERED BY ANDREW ADANSI-BONNAH ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2014 NATIONAL CHILDREN’S DAY CELEBRATION IN TAMALE ON 18TH SEPT. 2014.
Distinguished Chair, Special Guest of Honour, Ladies and Gentlemen, Children and Young People here gathered. It gives me much pleasure to join hands with other children and young persons in Ghana to celebrate this year’s National Children’s Day.
I am grateful to the Ghana’s Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection particularly, the Children’s Department for offering an occasion like this which serves as a window for Ghanaian children to celebrate; and also ask the adult society to address our needs.
My special gratitude also goes to the World Vision International, Ghana; Plan International, Ghana; other groups and all adults here and elsewhere for the immense support for the 2014 National Children’s Day and the-week- long activities that go with it.
MY STORY: My name is Andrew Adansi-Bonnah, a pupil of Class-Peter Memorial School, Bubiashie in Accra. I am here to share with you and other children and young people my story so that we shall all learn several lessons from it; and begin to groom ourselves to take up the mantle from the older generation when they are no more.
In March 2011, I had a burning desire to raise money from all over the globe to support starving and dying children and their mothers in a country called Somalia – which is found in the eastern part of Africa. This was after I had watched those horrific pictures of match-stick images of starving children on television and the internet. I christened my exercise “Save Somali Children from Hunger” Project. Some adults here might have heard of it. My aim was to raise GHc 20 million (which was equivalent to US$ 13 million) for food, clothes and medicine for Somali children and their mothers.
HOW I RAISED THE MONEY? (you may ask): I used my long vacation break – that is, from July to September, 2011 for the exercise. My father, who is a teacher, gave out his full salary for the month of July, 2011 to help me kick-start my project.
Firstly, I had a meeting with the Ghana Country Representatives of UNICEF and World Food Programme to inform them about my project and sought for their support. Next, I did several letters and walked from one organization to the other; church to church; mosque to mosque; office to office; and shop to shop in the city of Accra asking for donations and support. I also appeared on TV screens and radio stations appealing to the general public for support and donations.
Bank accounts for the project at the ECOBANK and The Ghana Commercial Bank were opened to enable people to make their donations at any time. The “Save Somali Children from Hunger” project got global through BBC, the Ghanaian media houses and the internet.
When the headquarters of the African Union heard of my frantic efforts to bring happiness and joy to my fellow children, I was invited as a special guest to speak and appeal to all African presidents present at an international conference in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to hasten in finding solutions to the food crisis which had hit the Horn of Africa killing thousands of children and mothers.
There was a massive encounter with several foreign press – such as the BBC, Al Jazeera, Associated Press (USA), The Daily Telegraph, ETV (South Africa), South Africa Broadcasting Corporation, Agence France-Presse , Turkish TV, Forbes, Bloomberg TV among others after the conference which was chaired by former President Jerry John Rawlings.
What I could gather was handed over to UNICEF and World Food Programme during the launch of my second project “Save Our Blood Banks; Save Lives” at the Aliza Hotel in Accra.
The UN (South Africa Office) and the African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes – simply called ACCORD – (also in South Africa) invited me to Pretoria in South Africa to speak on ‘the plight of the girl-child soldier and its abolition in Africa’. I was appointed as “goodwill ambassador for the eradication of girl-child soldier in Africa”. This event took place on 20th November, 2011 to mark the UN Universal Children’s Day.
MY CURRENT PROJECT: My current project is a 5-year agricultural advocacy programme which is meant to champion and support the development and sustenance of agriculture in the country to improve the economy, increase jobs, ensure food security, among others. My vision is to help build a country where EVERY CHILD eats healthy, more affordable food at all times; and NO CHILD goes hungry – with agriculture taking a completely different look in the country by 2019.
MY OBSERVATION: I have observed that Ghana as a nation is slowly shifting her attention from food & meat production; food & meat processing; as well as food & meat storage. I have also noticed that the rich are only importing food & meat among other things whereas these can be produced and grown within our country.
The bad effects of the practice are starring at every one – including children. Because it is we – the CHILDREN – who will suffer most; and because I want to help prevent any food crisis to hit Ghana, I have begun a nationwide agricultural campaign by making ‘LOUD NOISE’ for everyone to do some agricultural activity everywhere – even at our backyards or wherever. Some animals and poultry can also be raised.
Mushrooms can be cultivated. Fish farming can also be done. Others who have the means are being urged and encouraged to consider going into intensive, large-scale and mechanized agriculture while others look at processing, storage and exports.
For children and young people not to lack good food, I have named my project “FOOD FOR ALL” CAMPAIGN. If Ghanaians respond to my call and act, there will be sufficient food, fish and meat all the time for everyone – especially children.
Ghana is an agricultural nation and the resources are here. We rather have to improve our system of doing agriculture in the country so that doing agriculture becomes more attractive to all – especially, children and young people. Above all, we the children of the nation need a legacy in good agricultural practices so that we – the up and coming farmers – will hold on to them. Children and young people shall be helped to know much about the importance of agriculture to the individual and the nation.
From today, I expect every child in the country to be assisted by parents and other adults to sow a plant or more at home or in the school garden. And you should continue with the practice. Do not stop doing this. Do not forget to wash your hands with soap and water before you eat so that you do not fall sick – do this always.
As adult groups are fighting to ensure that children and young persons enjoy quality education, let us also do well to utilize the opportunities to our advantage when they come. Tell your mothers to immunize their children who are 5 years and below against POLIO this week. I will be taking part in the exercise myself.
Say it loud to your friend next to you: “FOOD FOR ALL” CAMPAIGN; Children Need Sufficient and Nutritious Food!!! Thank you.
FOOD FOR ALL CAMPAIGN
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