In 2012, when serving as National Chair of CAMA Ghana, Rafiatu Lawal was invited to attend the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris.
"At the Forum, I learnt that social media is a powerful tool to promote social change as it allows users to engage with peers on important issues, advocate for rights and change, network across regions and borders, and secure employment and educational opportunities. For the first time, I learnt how to create a blog and used it to record my experiences at the Forum. You can see my blog at: http://laarathoughts.tumblr.com/. I am now a citizen journalist and write specialist stories for publication. I am working hard with the help of Camfed ICT Centres and Cama District Centres to train young people how to use computers, which will enable them to access social media via the Internet to make their voices heard.
"As a teacher, I am training students on the characteristics of entrepreneurs using examples from the Youth Forum, as well as drawing on examples of local entrepreneurs. In turn, my students will extend this knowledge to their siblings, families and other members of their communities.
"I met other young people from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, all with a passion to make the world a better place for us and for future generations. I shared with them the challenges young, rural women face in Ghana, and what the Cama network is doing with Camfed’s support. I also asked what initiatives they are undertaking in their countries to improve youth skills and livelihoods.
"I came home inspired to create change and was given the opportunity to share my experiences with listeners across the Northern Region on Radio Savannah. Issues discussed centred on networking, volunteerism and job creation. I hope that many young listeners realised their own potential to become change leaders in their communities through hearing about my experience.
"As Chairperson of Cama Ghana and of Cama in my district, I used platforms such as the National AGM, District Committee Meetings and Membership Meetings to share my experience with a wide audience. I also visited Camfed partner schools, especially Senior High Schools, and I am so proud that my experiences serve as an inspiration to the students I meet.
"I have formed Cama Keep-Fit Clubs in most of the districts in the Northern Region and am in the process of forming them in the remaining districts. This will not only keep young people healthy and strong but give them further space to connect and engage on a range of issues, leading to positive change and promoting collaboration. My leadership skills have improved and my confidence levels have increased since I met other young leaders at the Forum."