UPSHIFT’s focus on using a community-first approach to train young people on social innovation and entrepreneurship is relevant within this context. UPSHIFT is an opportunity to support youth and adolescents, especially the most vulnerable, to become a force for positive social and economic change, contributing to a competitive labour force, sustained economic growth, improved governance, and vibrant civil societies. The UPSHIFT programme blends leading approaches to youth and adolescent development with social innovation and social entrepreneurship. UPSHIFT empowers young people to identify challenges in their communities and create entrepreneurial solutions to address them.
The African Health Innovation Centre led the adaptation and implementation of the UNICEF UPSHIFT curriculum in two schools for the deaf in Ghana from July – November 2021, as one of four UPSHIFT pilots taking place simultaneously throughout the country. The UPSHIFT programme blends leading approaches to youth and adolescent development with social innovation and social entrepreneurship — empowering young people to identify challenges in their communities and create entrepreneurial solutions to address them. Throughout the programme, students identified and mapped challenges in their communities, developed new solutions to implement in their schools and post-graduation, and developed new skills to support their future vocational businesses. This project was led in collaboration with key partners, including the Ghana National Association of the Deaf (GNAD) and the Centre for Employment of Persons with Disabilities (CPED). Students were taught through Ghanaian Sign Language interpretation, and with the support of their teachers, and deaf and hearing mentors from the community.
“Deaf students throughout Ghana have great ideas on how to create fresh and exciting products and services for both deaf and hearing communities. Unfortunately, few programmes supporting entrepreneurial skill development have been adapted for deaf accessibility. We’re excited that UNICEF Ghana is leading the way in ensuring that innovation, skill development, and job training is available for all young people in Ghana.”
– Emily Sheldon, Co-Founder and CEO, African Health Innovation Centre