Digital Inclusion Policy & Sustainability Strategist | Inaugural U.S Department of State CEE’22 Fellow
Community Engagement Consultant
My name is Prosper Tornyi, and I am from Battor - North Tongu District Capital in the Volta Region of Ghana. Growing up in my community, I witnessed the struggles and challenges that many people faced, from limited economic opportunities to educational disparities. Despite these obstacles, I saw many talented and intelligent young people in my hometown.
After completing junior high school, I attended Accra Academy, where I studied General Science. I later pursued a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the Accra Institute of Technology. During my time at the university, I served as the student council president and addressed various issues affecting the student community. In 2014, I participated in the Youth in Action fellowship program facilitated by Canada World Youth and Student Travel Organization. This experience in Buru-Kazigu in the Upper East Region of Ghana and Fredericton, Canada changed my perspective on culture, inclusion, women, youth, children, education, social issues, and being a global citizen. This inspired me to establish Proswrites Foundation, a registered non-profit organization in Ghana, with a focus on inclusive education and economic opportunities for the SDGs. Over the past five years, we have impacted over 1,000 lives through scheduled mentorship, scholarship partnerships, and leadership workshops. Recently, I worked with the UN-ECOSOC accredited organization Youth Opportunity and Transformation in Africa (YOTA) from 2021 to 2022, leading the skills hub portfolio on a BMZ-funded project aimed at providing over 1,200 women and youths with employability skills in the hospitality industry. In 2022, I was selected as one of 113 global civil society leaders from over 89 countries to participate in the inaugural Community Engagement Exchange Program in the United States. The thematic focus was on Women and Gender Issues, and this project was funded by the US Government with support from the U.S Department of State and implemented by IREX. Currently, I am working on implementing my digital literacy project targeted at 50 high school students by June 2023. With my project management and community management skills, I believe I can bring life to any project I lead.
What were the biggest initial hurdles you faced and how did you overcome them?
Hurdles are an inevitable part of life. For me, the biggest challenges were initially finding the confidence to pursue my passion and assembling the right team to work with. During my high school days, I struggled with timidity, but I was able to overcome it through self-discovery workshops. Additionally, I was fortunate to have a supportive network, especially my parents, who ensured I received an education. After completing my engineering degree, I immersed myself in the entrepreneurship ecosystem, building my networking, stakeholder management, and project management skills. Although it may have seemed like I was moving away from my engineering career, I made sure that our programs at Proswrites Foundation incorporated Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) to encourage young people to pursue careers in engineering. It's important to share your vision with the right people and take them through a rigorous onboarding process that aligns with the organization's values and objectives.
What advice do you have for young people locally and internationally who are just starting out in their careers or pursuing their passions?
It's important to understand early on in life that a career is not static. Your interests and aspirations may change over time to meet the demands of the economic climate. As a result, it's important to remain a lifelong learner, even if you stay in the same field for a long time.
To start pursuing your passions or building your career, start small. In my case, I began by sharing my vision for a non-profit that aimed to create equitable access to educational and economic opportunities for low-income communities in my hometown, and beyond as we grew. When building a business, it's essential to keep an international perspective in mind, even as you focus on local impact.
Having a mentor is also critical. Look for someone who can provide you with feedback and guidance as you navigate your career path. Collaboration and partnerships are also important, as they can help you accomplish more than you could on your own.
Lastly, I believe that having faith in Jesus Christ is crucial at all times. If you're interested in starting a non-profit in Ghana and would like a mentor, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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