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19.08.2005 General News

Head of State Award Scheme goes to 169 people

GNA

Accra, Aug. 19, GNA - One hundred and sixty nine (169) people, were honoured on Friday at this year's Head of State Award Scheme, which is Ghana's version of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award International Association.

The recipients of the award, who were between 14 years and 25 years, lined up in front of the dais at the forecourt of the State House in Accra, smiling as they received their various awards from Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, oblivious of the scorching sun and acknowledged the cheers of friends and family members.

The award ceremony instituted in 1956 and introduced in Ghana in 1967 comprises bronze, silver and gold awards for people, who exhibited leadership qualities in various fields of endeavour including community development and volunteer work.

Bronze is for 14 years old, silver for those of 15 years and gold for those above 16 years while the minimum period of participation spans six months to 18 months.

The recipients comprised 13 former students of Accra Academy Secondary School, seven from Achimota Senior Secondary School and four from Kpando Secondary School.

Other recipients were drawn from University of Cape Coast, Aburi Girls, St Mary's Secondary School, Adisadel College and Pope John's Secondary School, St Roses Secondary School, Mfantsiman Girls Secondary School, Sunyani Polytechnic and the Nursing Training College at Efiekuma.

Members from youth groups like the Catholic Youth, Atito Youth Organisation, Boys Brigade and Girls Brigade received their awards in a quick march that attracted applause from the audience that comprised members of the Council of State, Ministers of State, chiefs and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

Mrs Kate Spring, received a belated award and a citation for contributing towards the awards scheme, while Mr Kwesi Akumanyi Cato, took home the Special Award of Recognition during the two-hour ceremony, which was interspersed with cultural display and musical interlude.

Alhaji Mahama tasked the event organisers to broaden the frontiers of the scheme to involve all identifiable youth groups, including the unemployed.

"This will involve the youth in creative and rewarding activities necessary for national youth development," he said.

Alhaji Mahama said one other way of encouraging character building was inter-country exchange of visits within regional organisations involved in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

"This will open the horizon of the sub- regional youth, on whose shoulders, the responsibility of regional integration through ECOWAS (Economic Community of West Africa States) would fall."

He asked the award winners to lead moral lifestyles, saying: "Even when a person has attained essential qualification for success, it will take courage, initiative and perseverance to step to the head of the column to shoulder responsibility."

The Vice President told the recipients that: "The opportunities of service in your communities are many and varied and one characteristic of leadership you are encouraged to develop is the ability and knack to identify and seize the opportunity for service".

The Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda said the scheme was of national priority under the proposed youth policy.

Mr Jenkins Kwame Awumee, a Trustee of the Award Scheme, called on the Government to give the award a national recognition as it was being done in other countries.

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