Melton Fellow campaign wins prize at Millennium Campus Conference
Beryl Nana Ama Akuffo-Kwapong, a Junior Fellow from Ashesi University, attended the annual conference of the Millenium Campus Network, a nonprofit geared toward training and supporting the next generation of leaders in global development. Here's her report:
I was eager to be part of a network of students from all over the world who share a similar interest in tackling the sustainable development goals, so I enthusiastically applied to attend the Millenium Campus Network conference at Howard University, Washington D.C. Through the facilitation of Dr. Chambliss, the Task Team leader of the Melton Foundation at Dillard University, I was able to attend the conference on a Jenzabar scholarship for free with my registration, housing and meals catered for.
I saw this conference as an opportunity to present campaign ideas of interest. The question I was asked was, “what are you most passionate about, and what impact can you make?” I am interested in social justice – anyone close to me knows this right away. Thus, I decided to talk about sexual health education, which is in a huge way related to gender equality.
I presented my campaign on sexual health education,“Know thy body, Know thy worth.” This campaign is about creating a 6-week comprehensive plan to teach young adolescent adults sexual health and sex education. Little did I know my campaign would be shortlisted and consequently chosen to be part of a network of three other wonderful and empowered women: Thabu Magula from Zambia, Jessica Russo from the U.S., and Tanyaradzwa Chinyukwi from Zimbabwe. Together with these women, we have formed the Gender Network, where we engage and tackle different issues in gender equality in our chosen localities.
Attending the conference was amazing – it came with a bustling sense of opportunity to meet students across the continent of Africa and the world at large. Together, we discussed issues related to aid, justice, and varied ways that hinder progress and development of other countries and how we as young adults can do our share to make a difference.
My one take-away from attending this conference is opportunity. I cannot emphasize enough how powerful The Melton Foundation’s network is. It is one of opportunity and progressive friendships that can get you from where you are to where you want to be. My biggest lesson is to dig deep and find the people to work with in the fellowship. I am forever grateful to the DU community for such an opportunity.
And the learning doesn’t stop there. I am currently at the preparation stage to launch my organization, Sexual Health Advocacy Movement (SHAM). My next step forward is to form more partnerships with already existing organizations and people who work with sexual health related issues. You can definitely follow my story on the monthly webinars organized by the Millennium Campus Network. I am open to ideas and looking forward to input from the Melton Foundation network as I and my friends embark on this journey of giving people the right to know.
A special thanks goes to my university, Ashesi University, for constantly facilitating and helping me make good use of these opportunities.