April Is Zongo Youth Month! Check Out The Program Lineup For This Year’s
The Zongo Youth Month was initiated by Change for Zongo Youth in 2016 and it’s aimed at celebrating the change makers in the Zongo communities across the country. It is the hope of the organizers that such an initiative will contribute immensely towards projecting the positive side of our Zongo communities. Nonetheless, it also presents an opportunity for the challenges that confront these communities especially the youth, to be highlighted. Through this, young people are able to come up with practical solutions that have the potency of helping resolve these challenges.
The constant negative reportage of these communities by the media has caused a scar on the self-image of young people born and raised in these communities. Some years back, it was a challenge defending the image of Zongo communities but things are beginning to get better. As more of the young people get educated and contribute significantly towards national development, it is increasingly becoming convincing, the potential that Zongo communities posses.
This year’s Zongo Youth Month under the theme “Building the ideal Zongo today through innovation and creativity”; is scheduled to launch today, 31st March at the Kathie-Knowles Library (Kanda Library). Spearheaded by the Change For Zongo Youth and Zongo Focus in partnership with other bodies, the whole month of April will see the organization run various programs within Zongo communities including fun games, seminars, visitations, voluntary works as well as business exhibition. Other prominent personalities are expected to participate in the month-long celebration.
What at all is the meaning of “Zongo”?
For those who do not know, the ambiguity that the term Zongo presents still persists. There have been a lot of misunderstandings about what Zongo actually represents. Historically, Zongos (originally spelt as Zango) originated from the population of certain communities by predominantly, people hailing from Northern Ghana and immigrants from neighboring countries including Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Benin, etc. It is reported that, Zongo settlements predate independence and their efforts were somewhat significant in the fight for independence. As a result of Islam being the predominant religion of all Zongo communities, and given Islam encourages inter-ethnic marriages, Zongo communities have grown to be very heterogeneous: an attribute that makes Zongos some of the most united human settlements one can find. In recent times, Zongos are composed of an increasing variety of ethnic groups including Ewes, Akans, Gas and many more. This is partly because of the strong social ties that Zongos enhance among the people.
Over the years, Zongo communities have come to be misunderstood to be intensely over-populated and plagued by crimes and social vices. Some of the challenges include low rate of education, poverty, drug abuse and teenage delinquency. As the leaders of Zongo communities make effort to help improve development within these communities, they are faced with the challenge of negative image that Zongos have been perceived with over time.
As a result, many groups, largely youth groups have arisen out of these communities to help change the negative perception people have about Zongo communities. One of these groups is Zongo Focus which tries to promote initiatives that involve the youth towards inspiring hope among Zongo youths. Zongo Inspiration Team is also one that focuses mentoring and training the young children in basic schools towards achieving their career and life goals.